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Maybe it's just me, but I'm not sure.

Whenever I start up a Source engine map, whether it'd be a private or public server, the first map load (Receiving Server info --> Sending Client info) takes much much longer than it takes if I were to disconnect immediately after, and rejoin the same server.

I don't believe it's my computer set-up, as I have had the same issue on slower computers and faster computers.

Better put, what exactly is the Source Engine doing on the first server join/map load? I'm just curious why the first map load is significantly slower than subsequent loads?

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closed as off-topic by DrFish, user98085, kotekzot, David M, shanodin Mar 18 '14 at 5:25

This question appears to be off-topic. The users who voted to close gave this specific reason:

  • "Questions about Game Design and Development are off topic. This includes speculative questions about developer intent, with respect to both mechanics and narrative. You might want to ask over at GameDev.SE, but be sure to read their FAQ" – DrFish, user98085, kotekzot, David M, shanodin

Voting to close (game technical design/development).. – DrFish Mar 17 '14 at 21:52
up vote 11 down vote accepted

I believe the first time you load a map during a session in Source games, the engine will cache some loaded map resources. This is done to speed up subsequent load times for the same map.

When you close the game, the cache is deleted.

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