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Rage's PC Launch Problems Attributed to Driver Issues [UPDATED]

id Software, Bethesda working with hardware creators to smooth things out.

Expect a full review of Rage from Mr. Shoemaker pretty soon.

UPDATED: ATI/AMD have issued updated drivers for Rage, which you can download here.

We've installed the updated drivers on our in-office machine, and the frame rate and texture pop-in seems much improved. There's still texture pop-in, but that's just part of the engine at this point. There does appear to be some significant tearing, however, which proved pretty distracting.

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If there was one thing people expected from Rage, it's that the PC version would be impeccable on day one. If PC owners could count on any developer to knock it out of the park, it would be the father of the first-person-shooter. Right? Right?

Unfortunately, for reasons partially out of id Software's control, Rage has had a bumpy launch since its midnight unlocking around the Internet.

The response from players has been...loud. Just take a look at the gaming section of Reddit today.

The main issue is performance, which id Software and Bethesda Softworks are currently squarely blaming on driver issues. Players are experiencing an incredible amount of texture pop-in, especially so on ATI/AMD cards. We can confirm this, having loaded Rage on our in-office PC. It's inexcusably bad right now.

The texture pop-in is not exclusive to PC; it's also very much present on Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3.

There are problems with both ATI/AMD and nVidia cards, but it's reportedly most egregious on ATI/AMD.

"While many folks are playing RAGE on PC and not running into issues," said the company on its blog, "we’re aware that some of you are experiencing issues with screen tearing and texture issues. These problems can be attributed to driver issues, and we’re currently working with Nvidia and AMD to resolve them as quickly as possible."

For the moment, it's recommended you do not update the ATI/AMD drivers and wait for the updated drivers to come "in a few hours," according to AMD's Catalyst developer on Twitter. Also, if you're using the Battlefield 3-specific drivers, the CTD (Crash to Desktop) rate is apparently 100%. A driver/battlefield-3/61-27006/ rollback is necessary there.

nVidia owners should be using the current beta drivers, which will be automatically include more Rage-specific improvements as they happen, so long as you've flipped updates on.

Expect more updates on this throughout the day.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
178 Comments
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Posted by phrosnite

This is truly the year of disappointments. *sigh*

Edited by buckybit

Don't be fooled. Saying it is a 'driver issue' is putting the blame on AMD & NVIDIA. IMHO, it's a id engine / megatexture tech issue instead, because of GPU virtual texturing?

see Siggraph 2009 talk by J.M.P van Waveren, Senior Programmer id Software

(link to pdf file! 4MB)

dynamically streaming texture and LOD (Level of Detail)

Edited by peterjames

I had flickering issues before the ATI driver fix that have now been solved. The screen tearing was really, really bad until I forced vsync at the driver. All seems to be well after the driver update. Recommended.

Posted by Hef

I have an Nvidia Gtx 570 and im running the BF3 beta drivers 285.38. I haven't encountered any framerate problems or texture pop. Sometime when I spin around really fast in a newly loaded area you can tell there's something going on around the edges, but it's not egregious.

Posted by wolf_blitzer85

I would imagine someone in the Whiskey Media offices would know how to force on v-sync to take care of the screen tearing problem.
 
 Of course I guess what really matters is that there wasn't any option for v-sync in game, but I've gotten to the point where I don't even use in game v-sync and just force it through d3d overrider as that seems to sill be quite reliable.

Posted by Rautapalli

@wolf_blitzer85: Forcing V-SYNC on AMD cards apparently made the game crash before the driver update, so you couldn't really do anything about it.

Posted by shakra

Also why is jump mapped to the Y button instead of A? Goddamnit id

Posted by Singen

Here is a good tip: Don't ever browse /r/gaming. It's a giant cesspool of nostalgia and meme circle jerking.

Posted by Sin4profit

@Dagmar: Nope, I uninstalled everything, reinstalled, rebooted and NOW the game crashes everytime i try to start it up...so things are getting consecutively worse for me.

Posted by solidlife

saw this on readit

lol.

Posted by OldGuy
@patrickklepek: I don't know if this has been mentioned in the 100 or so posts ahead of me (skimmed lots, didn't read all)... but...
 
It seems that Rage does not implement V-Sync, so you need to force that on in the video driver control panel. That's worked for quite a few people.
Posted by peterjames

@Singen: Get right out of town! On Reddit?!?

Posted by Malc

I just found this amusing @John_Carmacko twitter.

Posted by shakra

@Sin4profit said:

@Dagmar: Nope, I uninstalled everything, reinstalled, rebooted and NOW the game crashes everytime i try to start it up...so things are getting consecutively worse for me.

Try disabling tripple buffering in your card control panel. The driver updated fixed it for me so I turned that on along with forcing vsync. The tripple buffering crashes the game.

Posted by ejf

I've heard of drivers with rage issues, but never this.

Posted by Gunharp

@buckybit said:

Don't be fooled. Saying it is a 'driver issue' is putting the blame on AMD & NVIDIA. IMHO, it's a id engine / megatexture tech issue instead, because of GPU virtual texturing?

see Siggraph 2009 talk by J.M.P van Waveren, Senior Programmer id Software

(link to pdf file! 4MB)

dynamically streaming texture and LOD (Level of Detail)

Link is broken :(

Also I don't think we are being fooled. Why would they be telling us to wait on drivers then vs. patches? They would be in a lot of trouble if this is really the case. Also even Carmack is tweeting for people to get the latest drivers; http://twitter.com/#!/ID_AA_Carmack

Posted by SeriouslyNow

@Rattle618 said:

This is so disgusting I cant even start, fuck them.

Which them? ATI? Yes, Fuck ATI. It's 2011. They've had years to get a decent OpenGL driver together for their consumer hardware.

Posted by TomA

I love reading things written by Mr.Klepek. His articles of my main points of reference when I'm writing my own articles.

Posted by Arkasai

I miss the days when PC gaming set the bar.

Edited by Kartana

@TomA: @TomA said:

I love reading things written by Mr.Klepek. His articles of my main points of reference when I'm writing my own articles.

Sadly he just gets his information from other sources, like all news writers. This information is not always correct, like in this case with Rage. The new drivers fix not everything.

Posted by therealminime

The latest beta driver, which is made for Battlefield 3, seems to have helped things out a bit. Not that there were substantial problems for nVidia users. But there should really be customizable graphics options, right now the game is using no more the 60% of my GPU's power, which is a shame. Despite my complaints, the Wasteland looks amazing, and the game is a lot of fun to play, which in the end is all that really matters.

Posted by shakra

@Kartana: The drivers worked for me, before them it was still crashing to the desktop. Though texture pop-in still happens but at least I can play it.

Posted by steelknight2000

John Carmack's gonna make you his bitch. Suck it down.

Edited by buckybit

@Gunharp: link broken? works on my end. Still, here - for you: http://s09.idav.ucdavis.edu/talks/05-JP_id_Tech_5_Challenges.pdf

These are some slides and bullet points explaining the technical challenges and the rather unconventional approach id programmers went for their (new) engine. The choices they made (especially to suffice the PS3 demand and different hardware architecture, is reflected in the poor outcome of the PC version). The technology itself is very interesting and innovative, but equally, it seems, it is not quite there yet on the PC/(GP)GPU side of things?

Having customers installing the 'latest (uncertified BETA) drivers' is the old school marketing propaganda machine trick*, applying hotfixes (read = "workarounds" and "brute force") to make device drivers 'play along' with your standard API avoiding hackery. What was first the hen or the egg? AMD/ATI & NVIDIA support game developers during all their stages of game development, most certainly triple-A studios. Carmack is in constant talks with them. There is no lack of communication, experience nor knowledge.

So why is this retail product an issue on day one of the game release? Are 5-6 years of development not enough? Did they develop and test the game on PC hardware that still does not exist? Or did they fail to go through a thorough Q&A process, testing older (all kind) of hardware? Did they finally rush the game, so they could ship for the first time with a date before it was finished?

Questions upon questions. Nonetheless, it IS a miracle how many games work on very, v e r y diverse PC hardware these days. Most of them use old, often out-dated software technology. DirectX itself - even the new fancy D3D10 and 11 'features' cannot hide the fact, that we - PC Gamers - n e e d new software (architecture, API, technology) to use the manycores (CPU/GPU) in our machines. But this particular case is an advanced tech-demo, which needed more testing, and optimization, from what I can see. Just one old man's opinion. Certainly not qualified enough to dare to criticize a genius like Carmack - so take it with a grain of salt, indeed.

*) it seems to be true, that ATI's first hotfix used old OpenGL files and caused problems. But now id/Zenimax/Bethesda is hiding the real issue behind this single particular fail on AMD/ATI's side. Why was there are reason for a Hotfix in the first place?!

Posted by Sin4profit

@shakra: Nah, doesn't help my case. I was aware of the problem with triple buffering for awhile now. I've adjusted all the controls in catalyst, ran the game in full screen, windowed, all different resolutions, created the cache file folders, uninstalled drivers, reinstalled drivers, i've watched the damn unskippable intro cutscene more then i'd care to at this point and i'm so tired of struggling to make this game work i don't even think it's worth rolling back my drivers to 11.8 and playing from those semi-functional drivers.

I'll wait for, at the very least, more announcements for the few of us who are still having problems but if i don't hear anything by Thursday i'm just going to demand a refund from Steam...I don't even know how to go about doing that as i've never done it before. It's bad enough that select games now cost $60 on PC, "just cause they can",but those games should, at the very least, work.

Posted by Leekspin

@Sin4profit: There is a setting that you can set that will turn the un-skippable intro off

Edited by Vorhenze

Posted by Branthog

@Vorhenze said:

Unfortunately, forcing vsync causes the game to crash almost immediately. Usually just after the Bethesda logo intro video.

Posted by shakra

@Sin4profit: It's hard to get a refund from steam. The few times I have tried they reply with a 'we dont refund software' line. I just call amex and they refund me though.

Posted by JEC03

Day 1 buys are painful buggy messes these days.

Posted by SomeJerk

Learn some Direct X Carmack. Jesus fucking christ. I had almost gotten over how you fucked me and millions other ATI graphics card users in the ass when you decided to shit up Doom 3s renderer by sticking an Nvidia only stencil shader in there and deciding it was fine to ship because hurr, it runs fine on the graphics cards Nvidia gave you. Retire from the business together with Willitz, or pick up some fucking DirectX and let Romero handle Willitz work, Ro's a special boy but he's damn good and fun, as we've told you in the past..

Posted by laugurinn

Patrick, please ask them what drivers the testers were using + what drivers they expected people to be using.

This is weird. Twilight Zone.

Edited by IG__

Even for (some?) nvidia users the issues are just as big. I have a Nvida graphics card and the texture pop-in couldn't be worse. I have the latest drivers and enabled updates and I also tried almost every "fix" I found on the internet and it's still just as bad as before.

Waiting impatiently on game patch and/or driver updates.

Posted by JEC03

@Arkasai said:

I miss the days when PC gaming set the bar.

They still do but there being held back with shit like this.

Posted by Cybexx

The driver worked for me even with my boot-camped Macbook Pro which is finicky with drivers due to its unique dual graphics card setup. The texture pop-in is only sometimes noticeable and it happens once as opposed to every time I turn. The framerate also appears to be somewhere around 60, which is nice. I really do with there was a V-Sync option though.

Posted by Vorhenze

@Branthog: Fortunately not for me. I just played for about an hour, no crashes to desktop. I was very concerned last night. I'm very happy now.

Posted by Spectreman

Even ID forgot how to program PC games :/

Posted by thetrin

New drivers + forcing v-sync through CCC improves things 10 fold. The game plays great now.

Posted by dvorak

@thetrin said:

New drivers + forcing v-sync through CCC improves things 10 fold. The game plays great now.

Same exact thing for me. Dual 6870's and perfect 60 frames at full settings. Which is a huge improvement from the unplayable insanity that I had earlier. It looked worse than Stalker: Clear Skies after it launched, and anyone who played that will know how incredibly fucked that game was at release. Funny anecdote about Clear Skies, the shitty graphics support in the original release caused my card to overheat constantly, and one of the artifacts was that my double barrel shotgun extended infinitely off into the horizon.

Posted by Sin4profit

@shakra: So after installing a bunch of windows updates and activating the quad cores in my CPU, the game seems to be working now...i have no idea if either of those things are what's responsible but somehow it works.

At least i dont have to go through Steam for a refund but now i'm too busy to play it after i wasted the entire day just to get this one game to work.

Posted by EnchantedEcho

How's the game running with the new AMD drivers? It should be finished downloading at home and going to try it once I get home from uni.

Posted by Krummey

Pretty sure I haven't played a "real" PC game since boot disks were all the rage. All I'm reading in this thread is pops and clicks.

Good luck, folks!

Posted by umbaglo

@InternetDetective:

http://trenchescomic.com/tales/post/ship-it

Seriously, with tales like that, how can anyone bitch at the way QA pans out?

Posted by Korwin

FYI the fixed AMD/ATI drivers introduce a "grid" bug that people who tried the PC version of Brink may be familiar with if they use AMD hardware. Essentially everything in the world appears to have a 1 pixel wide gap in a grid pattern across it.

Posted by SilenceUK

not to be a fan boy but its times like these that make me glad my main system is nvidia

Posted by Korwin

This video people may find helpful as well. While the usage of GPU transcoding is vendor locked to Nvidia (why they wrote this in CUDA instead of OpenCL I will never know, especially considering Carmack's love for all things starting with 'Open') I believe everybody will want to fix the cache file creation problem. Texture pop-in got a decent chunk better once the cache was up and running (SSD goooo) so I recommend everyone take a look.

On a side note I decided it would be amusing to see what would happen if I mounted a RAM drive as the cache folder and tested to see if anything got quicker. Not a huge improvement over the disk cache but a minor one.

Posted by Bunny_Fire

in Australia we have to wait til October 7th to have this unlocked ... good thing is hopefully most problems would be fixed by then :D

Posted by Korwin

@Bunny_Fire said:

in Australia we have to wait til October 7th to have this unlocked ... good thing is hopefully most problems would be fixed by then :D

You can get around that, I certainly did.

Posted by Lucidlife

It doesn't surprise me that Giantbomb is having PC gaming issues. Stick to consoles. It's what you know.

Posted by kmv_007

I don't understand how it's all because of hardware drivers - texture pop-in is apparent on 360 and PS3. AMD updated the drivers on 9/28, which was after Rage went gold, so I can see the update possibly causing problems; however, it's possible for either id/Bethesda or AMD to issue a day-one fix.

AMD did screw up putting out a borked "fix" earlier in the day, but putting all the blame on video card drivers is rediculous.

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