In a few hours Ubisoft/Crytek will be releasing the much anticipated patch for Farcry which upgrades the game to version 1.2. As per most game updates there are various performance tweaks and bug fixes however in FarCry 1.2 we have the addition of Shader Model 3.0 features for Geforce 6800 series cards.

Today we are going to take a quick look at what performance increases you can expect from the patch, and how IQ is impacted. If you are a Radeon user the IQ section in particular makes for interesting reading.

On the right we have details of how the latest cards perform with patch 1.2

Test Setup:

Athlon 64 FX53 (939)
Asus A8V
2x512mb Corsair DDR400
Gainward 6800 Ultra 450/1200
XFX 6800GT 350/1000
ATI X800 Pro
Samsung 8mb cache 80gb 7200rpm sata drive

Win XP SP1
DX 9.0c
Forceware 61.45
Catalyst 4.6

As you can see the Shader Model 3 path has a much bigger effect on the Geforce 6800 Ultra than the GT. We can assume from this that the lower clock speeds of the GT are causing a performance bottleneck which does not affect the Ultra. Shader Model 3 also allows the 6800 GT to compete well against the X800 pro when games are at high res with AA/AF.

So that’s what you can expect performance wise from the 6800 series and X800 pro when playing Farcry 1.2, but what about IQ?

The most disappointing thing about the 6800 at launch was, for me, the image quality issues in FarCry. Things like flashing textures and blocky floor detail. Thankfully with patch 1.2 these issues have been resolved and the IQ on the 6800 series is top notch.

Here are a couple of examples of the Geforce 6800 Ultra IQ at 1600x1200 with noAA or AF:

There was one IQ issue noticed in testing that occurred regardless of the card used, the following flower texture was always showing as a white object.

So, the 6800 has received an excellent increase in IQ, what about the Radeon? Well all is not rosy in the ATI garden. Things have gone from pretty much spot on in patch 1.1 to, well lets be honest, awful in 1.2. There are texture issues on every level which involves an outdoor section and these issues are far worse than anything we saw on the 6800 with previous game versions. The point of whether this affects performance is moot due to the fact that if you have a Radeon you won’t want to play with version 1.2 at all. To better illustrate the issues here are a few screenies, again at 1600x1200 with no aa or af (these texture issues flicker in and out).


Here are a selection of Radeon images without issue to compare to the 6800 images:

Dont like jpegs? you can download high resolution BMP images of both ATI and Nvidia


Lets look at Shader Model 3 first. Patch 1.2 is purely speed related, the move to Shader Model 3.0 provides a more than adequate increase across the board and every 6800 owner should look forward to patching Farcry with version 1.2. The next patch which will be released will add IQ enhancements to the game though how much difference will be noticeable over the 2.0 version is completely unknown at this time. If its half as much of an improvement as the performance increase was then its going to be something to look forward too.

As for the IQ issues, its always disappointing to see small bugs like the white flower issue slip through the net however it is, in reality, not that big an issue. The fact that the patch completely kills the Radeon rendering is however a complete disgrace. How Crytek/Ubisoft can let this level of quality out of the door without being fixed by them or a driver is beyond me. I dread to think the number of their customers that this patch will cause issues for.

Therefore, if you’ve got a 6800 series card don’t hesitate to install the patch, it will greatly improve your Farcry experience. If you’re a Radeon X800 user keep well away and stick with patch 1.1.

UPDATE 05/07/04

We have been in discussions with ATI/Crytek today over the issues we discovered with Radeon X800 rendering as detailed in the above article. Crytek have confirmed that the FarCry 1.2 build released today will no longer have these issues and that X800 IQ will be just as good in Patch 1.2 as it was in 1.1.

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