Does a performance drop in 'F.E.A.R.' point to larger PC gaming problem? on
is a blog about a major performance hit in F.E.A.R. that they've
traced back to the use of USB peripherals. Though unsure of whether this
problem impacts other games, they have, however, confirmed the F.E.A.R. glitch,
and have word that owners of Logitech mice and keyboards will get a fix in the
form of updated SetPoint drivers. Here's the deal:
Before we had any idea
it was an input issue, we simply saw F.E.A.R. scores tank during testing on an
otherwise powerful PC. Alongside our trusty lab technician Joseph Kaminski, the
guys from Maingear and Nvidia technical marketing director Nick Stam narrowed it
down to the input devices, largely based on the suggestions of the Nvnews forum
thread. We were afraid that Nvidia would bow out at this point, since the
slowdown didn't appear tied to a 3D driver like we initially thought. We're glad
we were wrong. As Nick wrote me two weeks ago: "I'm still very interested in
understanding the pure technical reasons, as this is definitely one of the
strangest issues I've seen in a long time."
With Nvidia working on the problem independently, we then moved on to Logitech
and Saitek, neither of whom had heard of the issue. We're still waiting to hear
back from Saitek's technical team (which has been traveling), but Logitech's was
available and got back to us quickly. It doesn't appear that Logitech's SetPoint
mouse and keyboard software caused the issue (it wasn't installed on the
Maingear PC during testing), but from what we've heard, a forthcoming SetPoint
update will fix the problem.
We're glad that Logitech hardware owners, at least, may have a solution, but
we'd still like to know what exactly causes the slowdown, and whether it affects
other games. We have a meeting with Sierra (one of F.E.A.R.'s developers) at E3
this week, so we'll definitely be asking them in person.
Of the vendors we've talked to so far, all of them remain interested. That gives
us faith that the problem will get the attention it needs. We were frustrated,
though, when we saw people had posted about this issue in official and
unofficial forums as long as 10 months ago. Apparently it takes a while for the
wisdom of crowds to sink in.