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AMD preparing Catalyst 15.5 BETA drivers optimized for Project Cars, Witcher 3

Just after Slightly Mad studios dismissed rumours about sabotaging performance for AMD Radeon cards and blaming it on AMD Radeon Catalyst drivers, the red GPU makers didn’t take that long to react by announcing that they are working on  Catalyst 15.5 BETA drivers. AMD made an announcement that it will be bringing a new BETA driver with performance optimizations for Project Cars and The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. AMD didn’t say when the BETA drivers will be out, but they did mention it will come soon.

AMD users also proposed a ‘fix’ in the meantime for those who are playing ‘The Witcher 3’:

The Witcher Settings

Along with issues found in Project Cars, AMD Radeon users experienced an issue with HairWorks performance with the game ‘The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt’. With the latest BETA update, AMD Radeon GPU users should have its problems fixed. What’s not clear is why AMD having its updated Catalyst drivers in BETA mode released, and not updating its WHQL drivers since 160 days (and counting). Whether AMD would release a WHQL Catalyst drivers at the time of Radeon R9 390X launch is something we will all need to wait and watch.

What’s not clear is why AMD isn’t updating its WHQL drivers since 160 days (and counting). Whether AMD would release a WHQL Catalyst drivers at the time of Radeon R9 390X launch is something we will all need to wait and watch.

AMD claims Nvidia sabotaged Witcher 3 performance for its cards, saying that Nvidia is not willing to share GameWorks source code for its in-house APIs Hairworks and HBAO+. But one of the Nvidia representatives dismissed the claim when asking by PC Perspective. Brian Burke said the following:

We are not asking game developers do anything unethical.

GameWorks improves the visual quality of games running on GeForce for our customers. It does not impair performance on competing hardware.
Demanding source code access to all our cool technology is an attempt to deflect their performance issues. Giving away your IP, your source code, is uncommon for anyone in the industry, including middleware providers and game developers. Most of the time we optimize games based on binary builds, not source code.

GameWorks licenses follow standard industry practice. GameWorks source code is provided to developers that request it under license, but they can’t redistribute our source code to anyone who does not have a license.

The bottom line is AMD’s tessellation performance is not very good and there is not a lot NVIDIA can/should do about it. Using DX11 tessellation has sound technical reasoning behind it, it helps to keep the GPU memory footprint small so multiple characters can use hair and fur at the same time.

I believe it is a resource issue. NVIDIA spent a lot of artist and engineering resources to help make Witcher 3 better. I would assume that AMD could have done the same thing because our agreements with developers don’t prevent them from working with other IHVs. (See also, Project Cars).

I think gamers want better hair, better fur, better lighting, better shadows and better effects in their games. GameWorks gives them that.  

Wars of words. War of Source Codes. War of Licenses. 

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