Another amazingly bad console game PC port

The Amazing Spider-Man game is absoutely great … but someone didn’t spend enough time on the quality assurance after the game has been released it seems. It stutters on AMD graphic cards with recent drivers. I’m not entiery sure if it’s maybe not the fault of AMD who didn’t add an optimzed profile for the game but you can easliy fix it by fooling the game in thinking you have an Nvidia graphics card! Check out a detailed instruction here: http://steamcommunity.com/app/212580/discussions/0/828925849355197850/#c828925849477117777

The problem with this workaround is that you have to delete the fake dll file each time and add it after running the launcher in the folder so I hope AMD or Beenox is going to fix it in a driver update of patch!

Also the developers didn’t add any proper anti-alias or it simply fails to work especially on indoor parts of the game. On a console it’s not that importat as you sit far away from your TV set but PC monitors are usually relatively close to your eyes. Turning on morphological anti-alias (http://sites.amd.com/us/game/technology/Pages/morphological-aa.aspx) helps a bit but not much. I guess you can really fix that it by using down-sampling anti-alias tools like this SSAA-Tool: http://www.tommti-systems.de/start.html

Prototype 2 memory leak

Prototype 2 is an awesome game! Unfortunately shorty after Radical Entertainment released this game they went bankrupt and shut down (more: http://kotaku.com/5922129/prototype-creators-shutting-down). They even released a very nice port of the game for PC that has better graphics than the console version but the problem is that for many users it’s causing a nasty memory leak problem. I’m one of them.

The Activision & Steam forums are full of reports and attempts to fix it.

http://community.activision.com/thread/200494714?tstart=0

http://community.activision.com/thread/200516168?tstart=0

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2844808

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showthread.php?t=2844357&page=2

Activison should hire back some of the Radical Entertainment folks to fix this mess!

As this is not very likely to happen because most game publishers are greedy bastards I tried most of the solutions on the forums. One of them by 123_level_123 seems to work but it’s pretty weird:

“I have found out that the game will never crash at all if you alt + tab to the desktop and wait 5 minutes and then return to gaming. Do this alt tab method I would say any where from 10 minutes of playing to 20 minutes and wait 5 minutes before returning to the game. The reason this works is because while the game is not up and not being played the system is freeing up that memory that the game had which reduces the crashing. I will not be like the last guy and say this is a 100% fix or even a temp fix at that. Its more like a give it a try and pray for the best. Truth is if your like me you would return this game or stop playing it because it is broken and may never get fixed.”

http://forums.steampowered.com/forums/showpost.php?p=33087827&postcount=28

So basically alt + tab before accepting a mission and after completing one solves the problem but is a bit weird. It works though and I hope I can beat the game using this workaround.

Edit: It must have something to do with the CPU or the main-board chip-set. I upgraded my machine (perviously AMD Phenom II 920@3,4GHz, 790X AMD Chipset. 4GB RAM) to an AMD FX-6300@4,5GHz, 970 AMD Chipset, 16GB RAM and the problem is gone. Also a friend with an Intel CPU and main-board didn’t have any problems.

Kinect

Image

Last year on Christmas I bought the Kinect & Xbox 360 for my three year old daughter. OK, I play on it too sometimes (although I’m mainly a PC gamer) so it was for us both 😉 Now after about three months I have to say I’m a bit disappointed by the overall experience.

  1. The Kinect needs a sensor holder mounted to your TV in order to see small children. Putting it on the recommended height for adults (your eye level) won’t work for children. You have to buy that extra.
  2. There is no HDMI cable included. The image quality with the bundled AV3 cable is terrible. You have to buy that extra too.
  3. The recognition of player profiles for small children is poor. The Kinect sometimes doesn’t recognize my daughter or asks her again to select her profile and at that point the most annoying bug occurs: Suddenly the recognition fails and she can’t get into the game! Very annoying. Waving at the Kinect sensor doesn’t help. Here is a photo of this profile selection screen:
    Image
  4. The gamepad should have a trackball. Without auto-aim the sticks are useless IMHO. There is a 3rd party trackball controller on the market but it’s a bit expensive: http://trackballcontroller.com

If the Kinect sensor works as it should my daughter and I have a lot of fun with it (like here in Happy Action Theater)!

Here a few games that are 3+ years old friendly:

Deus Ex: Stuttering Revolution

A few weeks back I bought a Deus Ex Human Revolution Steam activation key on http://www.gamecard.mobi/ (they sell them cheaper as the codes probably “fell off” from promotional packages). The game is one of the best rated PC games that came out last year on Metacritic with 90% (http://www.metacritic.com/game/pc/deus-ex-human-revolution). What I did not expect is that the game engine is totally buggy!

Deus Ex Human Revolution is even an AMD Gaming Evolved title (the equivalent of “How its meant to be played” by Nvidia) that supports DX11 features.

I have an AMD Phenom II 920@3,2Ghz, AMD Radeon HD 6870 1GB, 4GB Gskill RAM, Asrock 790GX mobo and fuck, the game stutters like hell when entering new areas on maximum, default and even low quality settings in DX11. DX9 is no option as the stutter transforms to a hanging or freeze for a second. I run all other new games like Battlefield 3, Modern Warfare 3, Skyrim, LA Noire on high or maximum settings without any problems on my system BTW. The worst about this is that the developers of the game seem to be tapping in the dark. They released a patch that was supposed to fix it but it helped only a certain group of players. They found out that AMD FX CPUs run constantly around 10 FPS and there is even a fix for that… but the rest of players are stuck with the problem. Some players report they could fix it by running the game in windowed mode, some say they turned on HPET in the BIOS, some under-clocked their graphic cards. Others say they changed refresh settings. For me nothing helped and I am not alone!

This how the stuttering looks like:

More: http://www.joystiq.com/2012/03/01/deus-ex-human-revolution-pc-players-complain-of-stuttering-req/

Useless FAQ by Eidos Community Managers: http://forums.eidosgames.com/showthread.php?t=119698

So what I will do now is to imagine that the stuttering is a side effect of the cyborg augmentation and run the game on highest settings 🙂 The game itself is really awesome and I enjoy playing it a lot.

Batman Arkham City with hybrid PhysX on AMD

Batman Arkham City is just like Mafia II a Nvidia-sponsored game with exclusive CUDA-based-PhysX support:

AMD users don’t get full particles, debris, fog and smoke effects. I bought this game but the exclusive support for Nvidia-owners-only pissed me so much off that I decided to get an additional Nvidia card that would do dedicated CUDA-PhysX calculations after watching a video on YouTube of someone who did it:

I paid 30 Euro for a GT430/PCI-E on eBay as it seemed that this card is sufficient for normal PhysX setting in the game with its 96 processor cores. I build it in next to the HD 6870 but had to switch my Asrock AOD790GX/128M main-board from PCI-E 16/1 mode to PCI-E 8/8 Crossfire-mode in order to detect the card. The GT430 barely fit in as the HD 6870 is a 2 slot card but it worked. After doing that I installed the latest Nvidia drivers 285.62 that come with PhysX 0621 and then applied the patch that makes this all possible…

http://www.ngohq.com/graphic-cards/17706-hybrid-physx-mod-v1-03-v1-05ff.html

… it made possible what Nvidia says is impossible: you can use an AMD card for the 3D acceleration and an additional one from Nvidia for PhysX rendering. Nvidia is using PhysX as a unique selling point for their GeForce cards and is pushing it into the market by paying developers to implement exclusive support. That’s not fair and the poor success of the Bullet Physics Library shows how serious Nvidia is about it. They push this proprietary “standard” by all means.

The setup with the GT430 in hybrid-mode together with the HD 6870 is maybe not the fastest and my system is mid-range (Phenom II @3,2 GHz, 6870 1GB, 4GB RAM) but it’s enough to get 30 FPS average in the in-game benchmark and play the game smoothly on DX11 normal tessellation normal PhysX settings (rest is set to very high). Before it was ~50 FPS without the PhysX effects but in this game the performance hit is worth it IMHO. To get high PhysX effects you would need to use a GTX460 BTW and to get more FPS something in general like a 6970 with 2GB.

Battlefield 3 vs. Modern Warfare 3


With Battlefield 3 and Modern Warfare 3 not only the most anticipated games of the year meet but also two multiplayer philosophies and even two graphics rendering APIs.

Let`s round up:

Modern Warfare 3

Rendering API: outdated OpenGL version

Engine: IW 5.0 – http://callofduty.wikia.com/wiki/IW_engine

Singleplayer: 6 hours

Multiplayer: 16 maps

Vehicles: No

Teamplay: Limited

Server stability: Low

Battlefield 3

Rendering API: newest DirectX 11 version

Engine: Frostbite 2 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Frostbite_2

Singleplayer: 6 hours

Multiplayer: 9 maps

Vehicles: Yes

Teamplay: Yes

Server stability: High (but Client stability is low at least on my PC)

I’m comparing MW3 and BF3 for PC but some of this applies to consoles as well. Where should I start? Singleplayer part… there I liked MW3 better than BF3. Although the graphics engine is worse the single player is an awesome action packed ride where you basically don’t have any time to look at textures in detail. They are lower in resolution than in BF3 but rarely you see fails like the one below (notice the car mirror). In general the levels are very well designed and pretty beautiful in a lot places. The BF3 singleplayer campaign is nice but MW3 is just the sweetest FPS action around.

1:0 for MW3!

The MW3 multiplayer is again the same kind of place for pikey asshole like players like COD:BO and MW2 has  been. There is basically no teamplay expect that some players can drop bullet vests now but this is a very limited gameplay element. The new game mode is called “Kill Confirmed” and is basically team deathmatch with collecting dog tags. Something I first have seen in the Crysis 2 multiplayer. The tone on the servers is pretty rude… players insult each other with “you noob” all the time and take themselves and the game too serious. Not to mention the frequent host migrations and connection problems. This kills the fun most of the time.

Battlefield 3 is maybe not the most teamplay supporting game but the elements are much stronger. You need to work together as a team to win and this is what I really appreciate about the game. It’s not only about quick reflexes but also about helping you team. The maps are really huge in size and each has a Rush and Conquest type. The best multiplayer experience currently!

1:1 as BF3 scores here

1:1

In my opinion there is no clear winner so if you can GET BOTH titles!

I wish there was an objective based stage progress game mode like in the 2010 Medal of Honor where you escort a tank called “High Value Target”. Similar to Quake Wars  Enemy Territory , Wolfenstein Enemy Territory or Brink. Well… you can’t have everything.

MoH:

AMD and the Smurf-Rage story

First of all I want to mention that I’m a huge AMD fan! My last Intel CPU was a Pentium 120Mhz. Later I had Athlons of various generations and now a Phenom II 920 running @ 3,2 GHz. My last Nvidia graphics card was a GeForce 6800 that I killed with overclocking. Later I had ATI cards like the X850, 4850 and now an AMD 6870 with 1GB. I love my AMD system as it’s really giving a lot of bang-for-the-buck meaning that is good value for the money.

The video above shows Rage with the latest AMD 11.10 Catalyst WHQL drivers. This is now the 4th driver AMD released that is supposed to fix problems with id Software’s Rage. The last version 11.9 had problems with texture streaming that have been fixed later by AMD in the 11.10 preview 2 & 3 drivers. The first preview driver made Rage run faster but it had the texture popping shown in the video below. The 11.10 final version totally broke it and we have Smurf-like blue textures!

Nvidia had this problem too (just to be fair) but they managed to fix it in a driver update. AMD totally failed to do that and even made it worse with the blue texture bug! It even looks to me this might be some kind of revenge by AMD because id Software and Bethesda blamed AMD for the initial texture popping problem. Maybe it’s even because id Software cooperated with Intel on making Rage run on their Sandy Bridge CPU-integrated HD 3000 GPU. AMD looks bad here… and they should change that! It should be like in this commercial: left and right should be the same image. Currently with AMD and Intel/Nvidia on Rage it’s not the same picture even if the price is lower on the AMD side :/

AMD, you don’t want me to like the “AMD SUCKS” site on Facebook don’t you? It’s only one click away at http://www.facebook.com/pages/AMD-SUCKS/301628902631

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If you want to solve this problem manually there is a community-driven solution for the blue texture problem: http://forums.bethsoft.com/index.php?/topic/1249144-ati-1110-final-drivers-fix/

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Edit:  The Catalyst 11.11 performance driver finally fixes all the problems!

DL: http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/catalyst-1111b-performance.aspx