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Old Jul 23, 2004, 11:49 PM   #1
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Farcry 1.2 - the withdrawn patch

Lets face it, Its been a hell of a rough month for Crytek, not only was their much vaunted 1.2 patch severely delayed, they finally released the patch only to withdraw it today. We had planned a look at this patch on ATI hardware with new beta drivers but unfortunately it seems rather pointless presenting an indepth article detailing frames per second differences at various resolutions when the patch has been removed from public consumption. Nonetheless we have seen this is a hot topic of conversation on our forums, so Stuart and myself feel we should post something detailing a little of the apparent mysteries involved with this patch and forthcoming ATI drivers.

This is the official statement today on the withdrawal of Patch 1.2, "Far Cry patch 1.2 has shown unexpected behaviour on specific hardware configurations. These matters are mainly due to incompatibilities with several optimisations brought lately to the code, with the intent to please a large number of users.
We're currently asking CRYTEK to work on delivering a new patch as soon as possible. Until then we have decided to remove the patch 1.2 from the official UbiSoft websites."


We will be very interested to see what will have changed when it reappears, remember the benchmark disappearing from Tomb Raider: Angel of Darkness?

A few weeks ago we received an advance copy of FarCry 1.2 from Nvidia. This build of 1.2 was sent out as it added Shader Model 3.0 support to enhance performance (but not image quality at this time) on the 6800 series graphics cards and we detailed the performance impact of the changes in a previous article.

Lets have a look at the patch that "never quite was". To get the full benefits of the patch you would have required an X800 class graphics card, DirectX9.0b, FarCry 1.2 and Catalyst build 8.041 or above. If you have these you’ll get the full feature set: SM 2.0b and Geometry Instancing

The 2nd option is to have a R3xx or above graphics card (9500,9600,9700,9800, X600 or X300 ) DirectX 9.0b, FarCry 1.2 and Catalyst 8.041. With this setup Geometry Instancing support is possible.

Thats right people, the NV40/SM3.0 isnt the only card/Shader Model that can provide instancing, any of ATI’s DX9 hardware supports this feature, in the words of some ATI employees (off the record) "even using DirectX9.0b"

So what does this mean?

Instancing:
Lets look at the feature common to all ATI cards first. Geometry Instancing (/Vertex Instancing) allows for more detailed graphics. A specific example in Farcry is that distant vegetation is no longer rendered as sprites, the render changes to a more detailed animated vegetation. (Effectively the objects like grass or tree’s in the distance can now be animated like the vegetation near your character rather than be static 2d sprites). Overall performance will be lower by removing the usage of 2D sprites and increasing the geometry level. Geometry Instancing will make this higher detail option a better option for RADEON X800 users.

To see the real benefits of instancing, you can manipulate the amount of geometry on the screen with Far Cry’s e_vegetation_sprites_distance_ratio parameter. This engine setting controls the point at which truly rendered (using geometry) vegetation is replaced by 2D sprites (billboards). The default value is “1”. Substituting a higher value pushes the threshold at which this substitution occurs to a distance further from the viewpoint.

Type the following in the command console: \e_vegetation_sprites_distance_ratio 100

This will eliminate the usage of 2D sprites as vegetation, and draw full animated vegetation throughout the scene

<img src="http://www.hardwareheaven.com/zardon/farcryandati/farcryimages.jpg" width="706" height="330">

Shader Model 2.0b path:
The main benefit of the Shader Model 2.0b path in FarCry is that you have much improved one pass lighting support. As this improves the performance of indoor areas (due to heavy use of lighting) the SM 2.0b path gives benefit in many levels within FarCry. Additionally the 2.0b path gives added support for other complex shaders throughout the game, again boosting performance.

It should also be noted that the support for the above features is not unique to FarCry, any game developer using DX9 will be able to use the above features on the ATI Radeon.

We have been playing with these new features today and its relatively simple to enable the above features.

Firstly open the Farcry Console using the ` key.
For SM2.0b path type (without quotes) “\r_sm2bpath 1” and hit return.
For Instancing support type (again without quotes) “\r_GeomInstancing 1”
Of course if your enabling Instancing you’re going to want to bump up the vegetation detail, to do this you need to change your Farcry settings from (e_vegetation_sprites_distance_ratio,1.000000) to (e_vegetation_sprites_distance_ratio,100.0000). This change removes spite vegetation and replaces it with animated vegetation throughout the scene.

So to recap:

The major performance increase is due to improvements in the lighting shader. The new patch enables the effect of three lights to be calculated in one pass (previously, each light required its own pass). It is possible, with a bit of extra work, for four lights to be calculated in a single pass on ATI hardware, but Crytek has not made the changes that would enable this. This is the major performance increase on both ATI and Nvidia hardware.

The second performance increase is through the use of instancing. Instancing is a technique by which large numbers of identical objects can be grouped together and processed as a batch, greatly reducing the load on the CPU. Uses in FarCry include trees and grass. In the original version of the game, only trees and clumps of grass close to the player were rendered as geometry (that is, as a collection of triangles with textures painted across them). Further from the viewer they were replaced by "billboards" - a flat image of a tree that always faces the viewer. This increases frame rates, but at some cost to realism. Instancing allows the distance at which geometry must be replaced by billboards to be increased significantly (to the extent that essentially nothing the viewer sees is a billboard) with only a very small hit to performance.

SM3.0 includes instancing, a feature nvidia have promoted heavily, saying that it proves the superiority of their hardware - while this is certainly a major talking and selling point, all X800 cards (and even 9500,9600,9700,9800) are capable of instancing. We have a beta driver in our possession which reflects this and associated performance gains, and it will be in the publicly posted CATALYST 4.8. We dont feel until a final patch is available from Crytek we should post our detailed findings as there is every possibility between now and the next release this could change.

We can give you rough indications of percentage increases - on the research map with Far Cry v1.2 \r_sm2bpath 1 and HLSL compiler profile 2.0b we saw increases of 13% at 1024x768, 21% at 1280x1024 and 25% at 1600x1200. Nothing to be sniffed at.

So what about the juicy gossip? Well to say today has been a dramatic day is an understatement, during our testing period for the last 12 hours or so we have spent alot of time on the phone and in email to many people in the industry, one such person in the industry even stated this:

"Nvidia encouraged Crytek to use partial precision in the shaders wherever possible. This means that many of the shaders will run in 16-bit precision, not the 32-bit precision (a requirement of SM3.0) that they are touting to the press. Ironically, while promoting the 32-bit precision of SM3.0 as a "must have", Nvidia is asking developers to use less precision than was available in SM1.0 - that is, all the way back in DirectX8! Even more ironically, ATI hardware will run most of the FarCry shaders more accurately (ATI hardware runs all shaders in 24-bit precision). Microsoft, the owner of DirectX, defines 24-bit and greater as "full precision" and 16-bit as "partial precision", Nvidia has claimed that ATI paid Crytek to delay the patch and include ATI features (the figure mentioned was $500k!)."

So there you have it, some of the facts, and some rumours.... nonetheless Crytek has committed to delivering 3Dc support in patch v1.3, which will provide higher detail images, or free up memory with better compression than traditional normal map compression options. FarCry is a great example of a next generation title that uses normal maps extensively. When the "final" patch arrives, we will be giving it a good going over and posting indepth results.

I guess its in the hands of Crytek, lets hope we still arent waiting two months from now, and with Doom3 just around the corner, more importantly will anyone care?

Allan "Zardon" Campbell
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 12:04 AM   #2
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1.3 patch...

the 1.3 patch with 3Dc support gonna be mindblowng, considering the SM2.0b support gives more speed and also does the 3dc, what can we expect an 30-50% fps increament?
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 12:05 AM   #3
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Ati is all about quality, and I am never dissapointed, but I am curious what Terry will say about the Nvidia charge...The new Nvidia card still has to mature I guess
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 12:31 AM   #4
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Oh dear, someone's cocked up!

It'll be "plausible denial" next.



Tell me how can a company beta test a patch and then include code at the last minute and not test again? Is this what happened? That's how I'm reading it.

Mind you it is way past me bedtime so I may have gotten it completely wrong.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 12:32 AM   #5
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This should be interesting, I can't wait to get a look at this feature after CM feeds us our next beta's and then of course in 4.8
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 12:41 AM   #6
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That was a nice read. And I do think that people will still care about the enhancements to the FarCry engine after Doom3 is out, because they aim to render quite different environments. And I'm sure we will be able to read your findings on the official 1.2 or 1.3 patch before HalfLife2 gets out.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 01:04 AM   #7
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Don't talk about 1.3

1.2 hasn't even landed with firm footing. LOL Excellent read Z and Veridian. I'm looking forward to Cat 4.8
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 02:03 AM   #8
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sweet read.... great work
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 02:06 AM   #9
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Good read, great write-up.

Question: Are you saying I can enable sm2.0b on my 9700 pro using the commands you listed? It's IS supported in the 4.7 catalysts? (I thought the features were only exposed in the 4.8 betas making the rounds, I'm just wondering if I'm wrong and I got something new/fun to play with tonight!)

Thanks for the article, and thanks for the un-banning.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 02:12 AM   #10
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Digi you need the 8.041 betas to gain access as far as I know.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 02:27 AM   #11
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Digi you need the 8.041 betas to gain access as far as I know.
"Thanks" and "DOH"!

I gotta go change the credits on the story I put up at EB, I spaced you were from here Chaos.

EDITED BITS: Got the credit fixed and also remembered to take out the space between "Driver" and "Heaven", I'm still always screwing that one up. (In my own defense, at least I always remember how to spell "Allan" correctly now. )
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 02:54 AM   #12
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yup... i didnt know ya guys were going to come out with a reply to this today. well cant wait for ubi to release the damn patch and actually test it... here is what i replied in annother forum the day the patch was released

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you would freeeking think the few weeks they had to test the fix that tehy delayed it for they would actually TEST THE FREKING GAME???? NOOOO THEY DIDNT, it just goes to show you how sided things really are with ubi and management and testers etc.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 03:02 AM   #13
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Sooooooooooooooooo.... are we supposed to roll back to 1.1 now? 'Cause that's what I just did.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 03:16 AM   #14
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The quote from the unknown, un-named? if-ever-exist? industry person about paying money is not a fabrication, right?

Like, first you say "juciy gossip" then you say "facts" then "rumours"? Did you go on the phone or send e-mail or not? Yes or No?

It would good to mention about the Cat4.7 driver and ati cards haveing missing texture problem and multi-player problem??? wtih this 1.2 patch. Screenshots at rage3d.com (Aren't they referring to ATI optimizations?) the fix is revert back to Cat 4.3?
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 03:17 AM   #15
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i can't say i'm serprised... UBIsoft is not one to spit out much for patches.... let alone really fix anything with a patch... or get one out quickly......you can expect zero support within the next few months... and i wouldn't be one bit serprised if the next set of video cards out... aren't supported....
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 03:30 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Hundredswords
The quote from the unknown, un-named? if-ever-exist? industry person about paying money is not a fabrication, right?

Like, first you say "juciy gossip" then you say "facts" then "rumours"? Did you go on the phone or send e-mail or not? Yes or No?

It would good to mention about the Cat4.7 driver and ati cards haveing missing texture problem and multi-player problem??? wtih this 1.2 patch. Screenshots at rage3d.com (Aren't they referring to ATI optimizations?) the fix is revert back to Cat 4.3?
Did they communicate by email and phone? Yes of course they did

As for the missing texture problem, I personally have experienced on screen corruption (checkerboard pattern) at the begining of the Volcano level just as you approach the first door. My weapon regardless of what one, shows corruption. I have not yet "personally" seen missing textures but I have heard reports of such problems.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 03:32 AM   #17
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ya i freking hate ubi noobiesoft... i hate them to death... they only wana make counsle games cause those dont need support. i have yet to see any REAL patch for ravenshield and management is delaying the 1.6 patch for it, which is needed for ANY ladders cause of all the damn cheating. ohhh im so pissed i havent bought a ubi game and i never will... i do understand crytech made farcry, but ubi is a part of it, so i get my games annother way.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 04:08 AM   #18
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Well no worries there, CryTech made a deal with EA so guessing they didnt like Ubi either [ or EA just comes with more $$$ ].

http://www.crytek.com/news/story.php?id=8&p=0&n=pr&t=1

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Old Jul 24, 2004, 04:24 AM   #19
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im glad for that, but it doesnt mean ubi still isnt in the mix with farcry.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 04:28 AM   #20
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So can someone chew up this jargon for me and spit me out points of interest on the intellectual level of, oh shall we say, a twelve year old. Please?

What I wanna know is this. I just purchased an Nvidia card. Will I still benefit from the next Far Cry patch in terms of performance and better visuals as much, if not equal to, an ATI card of the same caliber?

Will I get this "instancing" on a Nvidia card?

What about this precision at 32 bit on the Nvidia cards, doesn't that give bettter visuals than ATI's 24 bit precision?

Why does Crytek have to side with any one video chip manufacterer?

One minute I think Nvidia has got there act together with Shaders 3.0, the next minute Crytek pulls the rug out from under me to offer a better code set for ATI?

Can someone just clear this up for me? Performance aside, will I lose visuals because I went the Nvidia route?

Thanks!


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Old Jul 24, 2004, 04:41 AM   #21
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if u have an nv40 video card the only benifit you will get is some stuff for lighting. no better visuals just a bit faster performance. what u see in the article is a benifit for ATI since its a better card in the first place. no better visuals at all... seeing that nvidia doesnt even use FP32 or use it much at all. it did fix bad rendering in the first patch. crytech signed a deal with nvidia for the way it was ment to be played thing. why would u think that nvidia is better? its really not, mabe in openGL, but overall u will see that nvidia is full of it. marketing geniousess, and bad pr. - u will not loose visuals with the new patch.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 05:08 AM   #22
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Yeah, that was the kinda response I wanted. Way to go genius. And I thought >I< had trouble understanding the article.

Does anyone with a couple more brain cells than this joker care to help me understand the article with some actual facts in Layman's terms?

Kinda smells like troll in here, eh?


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Old Jul 24, 2004, 05:14 AM   #23
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wow... u didnt understand that? man.. i didnt know you really ment 12 year old.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 05:45 AM   #24
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Quote:
Originally posted by GibMonkey
[B]So can someone chew up this jargon for me and spit me out points of interest on the intellectual level of, oh shall we say, a twelve year old. Please?
I'll try, as long as you're not too picky and it's with the understanding that I could be wrong. (I think I understand it, but I could be wrong.)

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What I wanna know is this. I just purchased an Nvidia card. Will I still benefit from the next Far Cry patch in terms of performance and better visuals as much, if not equal to, an ATI card of the same caliber?
Better visuals, no...but they won't be any worse. They should be exactly the same visually. Better performance, most definately. That's what the patch is all about and nVidia's new hardware could theoretically gain dramatic improvements from it, it's just it won't be an nVidia only thing as ATi's card will be capapble of getting a boost too. (More on that later)

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Will I get this "instancing" on a Nvidia card?
Yup, most definately. It's part of SM3.0 from my understanding, and is a big feature nVidia is pushing. (And it's an actual feature, not just PR bull or marketing speak)

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What about this precision at 32 bit on the Nvidia cards, doesn't that give bettter visuals than ATI's 24 bit precision?
<sigh>

Boy oh boy did you pick the wrong person to ask this question to!

It might give better color gradients, but I doubt it. The dawn of cinematagrophantastic computing never happened it.

DX9 calls for 24 bit, the specification. nVidia has a funny tendancie to scream about how much better 32 bit looks but then abuse the bejesus out of what is called the "partial precision hint" in the DX9 spec which allows nVidia to substitue 16 bit in place of 32 bit.

nVidia's stuff performs 16 bit a WHOLE lot faster than 32 bit, last generation 32 bit wasn't playable and I still ain't sure about this generations. (I'm NOT saying it can't do it, I'm just saying I don't know yet...it's summer and I've been busy with my kids.)

There really ain't no big deal RIGHT NOW with 32 bit over 24 bit, but there is a very noticeable difference between 24 bit and 16 bit. I know that might not sound like it makes a lot of sense, but trust me it's true. (Or go google and learn, your choice)

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Why does Crytek have to side with any one video chip manufacterer?
CryTek is part of nVidia's "The Way It's Meant To Be Played" (TWIMTBP) program which means that nVidia's logo is on the game box and usually a splash screen. Some conspiracy theorists think it means that the developer makes the game run better on nVidia hardware than ATi hardware intentionally, sort of purposefully crippling the game on ATi's hardware to make nVidia look better.

ATi has their own thing like that called, "Get In The Game" and has similar deals...just no where to the extent that nVidia does.

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One minute I think Nvidia has got there act together with Shaders 3.0, the next minute Crytek pulls the rug out from under me to offer a better code set for ATI?
No, not "better" but rather "better suited for ATi too".

What nVidia can do in SM 3.0 ATi can do in SM 2.0b and gain almost the same performance increase is what is being implied, even the older R3xx series. (9700, 9800, etc.)

Quote:
Can someone just clear this up for me? Performance aside, will I lose visuals because I went the Nvidia route?
You shouldn't, not at all. If anything I think they'll try and make nVidia look better than ATi, but that's just pure speculation.

Quote:
Thanks!
You're welcome. You asked nicely so I thought I'd try.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 05:52 AM   #25
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Thanks digitalwanderer.

Your reply was a breath of fresh air and cleaned up what that article was trying to say.

Thank you so much!


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Old Jul 24, 2004, 06:10 AM   #26
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System Specs

I will try….

Quote:
Originally posted by GibMonkey
[B]
So can someone chew up this jargon for me and spit me out points of interest on the intellectual level of, oh shall we say, a twelve year old. Please?
I forgot most NV user’s need it explained at that level LOL J/K

Just jokeing it’s pretty self explanatory.. Would of better then to make such a comment to ask questions to help you clarify what is being discussed…

Quote:
Originally posted by GibMonkey
[B]What I wanna know is this. I just purchased an Nvidia card. Will I still benefit from the next Far Cry patch in terms of performance and better visuals as much, if not equal to, an ATI card of the same caliber?
Yea PS 3.0 support added for 68xx or later… Along with other game related fixes

Quote:
Originally posted by GibMonkey
[B]Will I get this "instancing" on a Nvidia card?
No probably not…Probably not...

“Instancing: Let’s look at the feature common to all ATI cards first.”


Quote:
Originally posted by GibMonkey
[B]What about this precision at 32 bit on the Nvidia cards, doesn't that give bettter visuals than ATI's 24 bit precision?
Just because the support 32 and promote it doesn’t mean they use it. They use more 16bit and some 24 in for example doom 3 instead of the requested 32bit. The support PS 3.0 but their path in far cry uses mostly PS 1.1…

It’s all marketing

Quote:
Originally posted by GibMonkey
[B]Why does Crytek have to side with any one video chip manufacterer?
NVIDIA pays them millions $$$ for one… for special optimizations etc

Quote:
Originally posted by GibMonkey
[B]One minute I think Nvidia has got there act together with Shaders 3.0, the next minute Crytek pulls the rug out from under me to offer a better code set for ATI?
Not really NO card offered by ATI or NVIDIA at the moment can pull full 3.0 with any decent frame rates. NVIDIA is making use of the “faster” parts only… (Lest in Far Cry)

Many effects that can be simulated quite nicely in PS 2.0

Quote:
Originally posted by GibMonkey
Can someone just clear this up for me? Performance aside, will I lose visuals because I went the Nvidia route?

Thanks!
GibMonkey
I really don’t like what NVIDIA’s been doing for the last year or so I’m not one to be asked….

They both have their advantages disadvantages..
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 06:11 AM   #27
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Nobody answered my question!

And why does it smell like fresh flung monkey poo in here?
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 06:15 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by apoch003
Nobody answered my question!

And why does it smell like fresh flung monkey poo in here?


Boy thats just asking for a comment but i'll play nice....



As for your question I dun't know guess it's up to you. If your not haveing any problems more power to ya... If you've allready updated I don't think ou can just rool back... you'd probubly have to uninstall and reinstall
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 06:35 AM   #29
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Nice tips. I activated them and they worked just like you said. Fortunately I'm not deep into FarCry yet (level 4) and haven't experienced the problems caused by the 1.2 patch.
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Old Jul 24, 2004, 06:40 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally posted by apoch003
Nobody answered my question!
Sorry, I can't help ya. FarCry locks up my rig after only a little while right now. (I'm having some memory issues with Bubbles right now, she only locks up on FarCry and 3dm2k3)

That is NOT a patch problem, it's some weird hardware problem I'm dealing with...but I can't advise you on what to do. My advice would be if it works good for you keep it, if it doesn't roll it back.

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And why does it smell like fresh flung monkey poo in here?
Oh don't mind that, it's just all the poo the monkeys were flinging around.
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