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RAGE Changing Windows

The John Carmack interview on Eurogamer talks with the id Software Technical Director about RAGE, their upcoming first-person shooter (on a related note, here are some new RAGE screenshots). The conversation focuses on the differences between the Windows and console editions of the game and the related issues of coding for the different platforms. He explains they've come up with some new technology that allows a 60Hz game to revert to image tearing rather than 30Hz if the game suffers a hiccup, and says they are bringing this technique to PCs as well:

So what we do on the consoles, where we have this tight control, is we say, OK, you're going 60FPS, it's v-syncing, there are no tear lines. But if you miss by a tiny little bit, we'll let it tear at the top of the screen and we adjust the resolutions dynamically to let it catch back up.

We were able to convince all of the vendors to go ahead and implement that extension on Windows, so we're now able to do that at 60FPS as long as you've got the horsepower. But if you get a hiccup, where it slows down a little bit, it reverts to tearing, which is exactly what we want for gameplay reasons.

That is still one of the cool things about being able to work with OpenGL extensions on there. As soon as we can present a compelling case to these guys, which is basically, look, this $200 console is playing smoother than your $200 system on here, you need to fix this and here's one of the steps you can do there, and they got it done. That's still a good thing.

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28. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 17, 2011, 04:45 InBlack
 
I dont get it, what fucking Hz??? I still have a CRT that I run @ 100Hz and it works and looks better than any flat screen LCD or whatever display....

Does this mean my game will be locked at 60Hz with all that shitty flickering????
 
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27. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 17, 2011, 02:53 mag
 
AdamK47 wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 17:51:
StingingVelvet wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 12:12:
I hope this is optional because I would rather lose frames than see screen tearing.

Indeed. I don't think my PC will be dipping under 60 FPS, but if it ever did, I would rather have this be an option that I can turn off.

I don't know if Carmack's really into letting you change things anymore. ALL GAMES MUST BE 60HZ. NO MORE, NO LESS. THE XBOX 360 IS THE MOST AMAZING HARDWARE EVER.
 
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26. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 20:19 Asmo
 
Tom wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 14:43:
Look folks, if you don't understand what's going on here, don't freak out or try to speculate on what this means for PC gaming. Either do some learning or just take Carmack's word for it. He knows what he's talking about.

There are some gross, gross misunderstandings evident in the comments on this story.

I'm glad you bothered to add a concise explanation to help everyone who is 'freaking out' to clear up any misconceptions...

Rolleyes
 
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25. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 19:16 Tanto Edge
 
Cooooool.
Love that Carmack.
 
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24. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 17:58 Beelzebud
 
If you want to get technical it's not changing anything that has to do with Windows at all. He's talking about a change at the driver level, and using Open GL as a reference, this will also show up in Linux drivers as well.  
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23. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 17:51 AdamK47
 
StingingVelvet wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 12:12:
I hope this is optional because I would rather lose frames than see screen tearing.

Indeed. I don't think my PC will be dipping under 60 FPS, but if it ever did, I would rather have this be an option that I can turn off.
 
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22. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 17:45 Beamer
 
Ray, I never, ever use vsync, and I think your hidden text is part of the reason why it's such a dirty word to me.  
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21. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 17:36 Ray Marden
 
It's basically smart tearing.

If you aren't doing a full refresh at the indicated framerate, it will attempt to tear at the top of the screen (you finish the slow frame and tear on the new one) and the game runs at a lower resolution/detail to help compensate.

It is giving the developers more control over the performance/graphics and attempting to tear at the top of the screen rather than in the middle or bottom of the screen where you would be more likely to notice it. They are also pushing this because they are capping games at certain framerates and tying certain mechanics (typically animation) to set amount of frames.
I know there is a good Kingpin joke in here somehwere...
Eyeing that $55 Blu-Ray Star Trek collection on Amazon...,
Ray
 
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20. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 17:29 Overon
 
I read what Carmack said and this thread and I understand some concepts mentioned I don't quite understand wtf he's talking about.

In any case, whatever implemented let us turn it off and on and there shall be no problems.
 
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19. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 16:15 Jerykk
 
jacobvandy wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 15:00:
I hate V-sync because of the input lag. Never use it, I'd rather have the tearing.

This. Can't stand input lag, especially in a shooter. I hope we can still turn V-Sync off in RAGE.
 
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18. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 15:15 Creston
 
SirKnight wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 14:43:
On a console you program it directly so it's much more efficient.

Doesn't the 360 use DirectX?

The intentional tearing John is talking about is not the conventional vsync off tearing, which looks horrible. His method you won't really notice and it keeps the gameplay tight.

Okay, that's cool then. Like I said, I REALLY hate screen tear.

Creston
 
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17. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 15:00 jacobvandy
 
I hate V-sync because of the input lag. Never use it, I'd rather have the tearing.  
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16. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 14:43 SirKnight
 
Dmitri_M wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 14:17:
If the game is running 60fps on a console, why the heck do I need this tech with my highend pc?


Because on a PC you have to develop with APIs (OpenGL/Direct3D/Win32/.NET/etc) with very high overhead. On a console you program it directly so it's much more efficient. So when you want to update a part of a texture for example, you do a direct memory map to the exact spot you want. A simple memcpy() call. On the PC, you have to deal with an API layer that does a TON of extra crap before the actual texture memory is updated. On a PC, you don't have direct memory access to anything. It's all protected by the OS and before you can do any kind of read/write you must ask the OS for permission first through an API which then has to go through a driver that has enormous overhead itself and so on.

The intentional tearing John is talking about is not the conventional vsync off tearing, which looks horrible. His method you won't really notice and it keeps the gameplay tight.

It's too bad that the high overhead of APIs and drivers has made hardware not see its true potential. There's been so much processing capability wasted. A lot more than most people realize. This is why the old hardware of the consoles can do so well against modern PC components which are technically superior.
 
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15. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 14:43 Tom
 
Look folks, if you don't understand what's going on here, don't freak out or try to speculate on what this means for PC gaming. Either do some learning or just take Carmack's word for it. He knows what he's talking about.

There are some gross, gross misunderstandings evident in the comments on this story.
 
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14. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 14:17 Dmitri_M
 
If the game is running 60fps on a console, why the heck do I need this tech with my highend pc?  
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13. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 13:37 Rockn-Roll
 
The problem is FPS locking. If they would just make it go away then we would be back to the super smooth competition grade performance that we had in the late 90's. I remember getting a typical 160FPS from Quake 2 and once in a while it would drop down to 43FPS in certain spots on some maps...the same with Quake 3. I hardly noticed.

The solution of making our $2,000 systems act like a console is stupid. For a decade PC gamers have become accustomed to lag which causes the FPS to drop...making the action jerky. We recognize it and can play through it because we have the necessary experience to cope with it. We will get the same result from internet lag because with internet lag the frame just won't change which is exactly the same as lowering the FPS.

They have already locked out FPS and now they are going to make it so that our gaming experience is obsolete...we will have to start over with console-like experiences. Carmack makes it sound like there will just be a little 1/16" (1 mm) tear at the top of the screen, but that is only the way it starts. Tears normally proceed to a full 1/3 of the screen in a diagonal and makes it so that there's no way at all to tell what's going on. At least with a lowered FPS we can extrapolate where the other players are going to be.

I think with this one step PC gaming is going to be a horrible experience for anyone that doesn't have the newest hardware. Anyone getting the tearing will be pwned.
 
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12. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 13:35 Cabezone
 
Creston wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 11:22:
I don't understand. So what he's saying is that he developed an extension that basically disables V-Sync at will, if necessary? Rather than slow down?

Quite frankly, I fucking HATE screen tears, and I'd rather the game just slow down a little bit. (Although, for example, in the case of Just Cause 2, that caused a ridiculous speed up-slow down-speed up-slow down type of gameplay which was really noticeable and really annoying.)

It's kind of surprising that a game which can run at 60fps on the ancient, decrepit 360, would have issues with not being able to run at 60fps on a PC?

Creston


It's going to depend entirely on your rig and game settings. It's possible the PC version is going to have much mroe detail. If it doesn't, then this optimization will be for those with video cards a few gens old.
 
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11. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 13:24 Creston
 
Jdrez wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 12:14:
Creston wrote on Jun 16, 2011, 11:22:

It's kind of surprising that a game which can run at 60fps on the ancient, decrepit 360, would have issues with not being able to run at 60fps on a PC?

Creston


Not really surprising. Been that way for a while now. With a console they can literally map every thread, every single little thing tailored to the hardware right down to the smallest detail.

PC versions have to support so many different chipsets and configurations, it ends up a mess. Plus there's so little marketing interest in PC you end up with rushed, piss poor optimization.


Normally I'd agree with you, but I doubt you can accuse John Carmack of having piss poor optimization in his engine?

Creston
 
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10. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 13:10 Ray Marden
 
Meh - it just sounds like more managed tearing. Can we say this is dynamic inferior visuals?

After all, what happens if you don't have v-sync enabled? When it goes to refresh the screen...it either makes it all the way or it does not. All they're doing here is tweaking what happens when they cannot make it the full way. Dynamically, until that refresh is completed, you get some crappy visuals.

Honestly, I don't enable v-sync for the framerate. I enable it for the visual conformity. Now I can have a v-sync option that does the complete opposite of what I want it to do. Gee, thanks.
Don't call this v-sync. It is no-sync plus.
Noting every game will lie about its framerate now ,
Ray
 
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9. Re: RAGE Changing Windows Jun 16, 2011, 12:31 descender
 
I think you missed his point in question. Any reasonable gaming PC would display the same graphics as the 360 at way over 60FPS... in any game almost regardless of optimization...

The only reason it might tear (or drop below 60fps)in RAGE on a PC is because the graphic settings are much, much higher and more hardware intensive than the 360 version.

I think this is a great move, there are lost of games that could benefit from a variable vsync setting. I don't know how people deal with 60hz locks, 85hz CRT4life.
 
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