Rage got off to a slightly rocky start on PC, but things are turning around with new drivers from graphics manufacturers and a new patch issued by developer id Software over the weekend. id has also explained a little of why the PC version was in such a state.
Saturday's patch brought changes including crash fixes, the ability to change the FOV from Rage's launch options, and a few new graphics settings to fiddle with in the menus.
According to Rage creative director Tim Willits, a lot of the PC problems stem from wonky graphics card drivers. "We have had video driver issues that have caused problems and frustrations with our PC fans. Everyone at id Software is very upset by these issues which are mostly out of our control," he told Kotaku.
id technical wizard John Carmack was less restrained, describing the launch driver issues as "a real cluster !@#$." (That's secret code for a naughty word.) While id and AMD had worked together before launch, with id making "significant internal changes" to work best with AMD tech, it all went to pot.
"We knew that all older AMD drivers, and some Nvidia drivers would have problems with the game, but we were running well in-house on all of our test systems. When launch day came around and the wrong driver got released, half of our PC customers got a product that basically didn't work," Carmack said.
Carmack also again explained why consoles were the lead platforms, not PC.
"You can choose to design a game around the specs of a high-end PC and make console versions that fail to hit the design point, or design around the specs of the consoles and have a high-end PC provide incremental quality improvements," he said. "We chose the latter."
"We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games," Carmack explained. "That statement will enrage some people, but it is hard to characterize it otherwise; both console versions will have larger audiences than the PC version."
"A high end PC is nearly 10 times as powerful as a console, and we could unquestionably provide a better experience if we chose that as our design point and we were able to expend the same amount of resources on it. Nowadays most of the quality of a game comes from the development effort put into it, not the technology it runs on. A game built with a tenth the resources on a platform 10 times as powerful would be an inferior product in almost all cases."
Anyway, here's exactly what changed in Saturday's PC patch:
- Implemented workaround for AMD driver crash right after intro cinematic on Win 7 32-bit systems.
- Disabled UBOs because they are causing animation issues with AMD drivers.
- Don't allow swap-tear to be enabled on AMD while the extension is not exposed because it may crash.
- Support for new video settings: "texture cache", "vsync" and "anisotropic filter"
- Automatically adjust vt_maxPPF based on the number of available cores.
- Improved performance for SLI cards when GPU transcode is enabled.
- Fix for GPU Transcoding option being disabled after exiting gameplay.
- Added safe mode to restore video settings to default values.
- Allow g_fov to be changed from the RAGE launch options in Steam.
- Server now forwards text chat from clients to all other clients while in-game.
Do check out the full patch notes for solutions to a number of known issues, too.