The Witcher 2 1.1, Take 2

By Alec Meer on May 27th, 2011 at 9:52 am.

Grumpy Geralt wants his DLC, and he wants it now.

After a brief delay, the much-ballyhooed first major patch for CDP’s rather well-received RPG landed last night, which means now’s the chance to see whether their claims of an up to 30% frame rate improvement are the truest facts or a case of too much optimism. V1.1 also slices all the DRM out of the game, so you can install away on as many PCs as you can lay those grubby wee hands on. The Troll Trouble free DLC is included in the patch, which I’m pretty glad of as the game’s launcher had been resolutely refusing to download it beforehand. Speaking of the launcher resolutely refusing to download things, v1.1 has made a bit of a mess in that respect. Oh, and Steam users? You’re in a for a biiiiiiiiiig download.

Once the patch is installed, you’ll find that the DLC and register options have temporarily corked it, admit the devs. CDP are working on a patch for the patch, but in the meantime you need to email one or several very specific email addresses if you need a particular piece of extra content.

In terms of laying hands on the patch, go here if you bought a retail version, check your GoG account page if you bought it from there or let Steam do its auto-thing if that was the source. In terms of the Steam version, I am warned by reliable sources who may or may not be Kieron Gillen that the patch actually entails redownloading what appears to be the entire 10GB game, so be aware of that/start your weeping now. Man – glad I’ve got the GoG version.

Anyone given the patch a spin yet? How’s that performance claim proving?

__________________

« | »

, , .

90 Comments »

  1. fionny says:

    Played briefly after patching last night and it seemed no different to be honest, did see all the new options for controls etc. which is nice. My DLC listing was still working though, but it did only have the polish text and language as an option now (had no issue installing troll trouble the first time)

    • heretic says:

      I think it was the DRM causing problems for some people? And afaik the DRM only came with certain versions (?) so if your version didn’t have the DRM you won’t be getting a boost.

      Anyway they said they had tested with the DRM and didn’t notice any changes but that people were complaining that the DRM affected performance. In any case its a nice gesture from them.

  2. Vexing Vision says:

    So they really stripped out DRM? That’s an amazingly bold move which I applaud.

    Does this mean that the GoG version sold well? Are there any numbers? Could you find out, dear games journalists?

    • Clavus says:

      From what I gathered is that they just stripped the dummy files. There was never any functional 3rd-party DRM code.

    • hotcod says:

      From what I understand it the DRM in the retail copies was purely there to stop the game leaking early and pirates getting a copy before every one else. Remember that the GoG copy comes with no DMR the pirates are just going to download that and it makes the retail DRM redundant. Putting the game on GoG was a bold move, removing the DRM on retail after it’s done the thing it was meant to is just sensible.

    • Vexing Vision says:

      Well, bought the GoG version which came DRM-free anyway.

      I’d just love to see how much GoG, as an anti-DRM statement.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Yes, they were forced to use DRM by the publisher to stop pre-release pirated copies. Now that it is post-release and the game is up on all the torrent sites the DRM has served its purpose and been removed.

      That’s what I want to see more of. Sega did a similar thing with Alpha Protocol and Jowood recently removed the DRM from Arcania in a patch. If this happened with every DRM out there I would never complain about DRM again.

    • Robert says:

      But but but… how must I validate pirating then? I need to pretend I’m sticking it up to the man to soothe my conscience.

    • Basilicus says:

      And yet Dragon Age 2 did the same exact thing and Bioware got ripped apart by the community for it.

    • Unaco says:

      @Basilicus,

      Maybe DA2 had a shit community, or was generally looked upon unfavourably by the community.

    • Cinek says:

      DA2 community was angry on every single thing they could be angry – no wonder – game was crap and their money was thrown away.

  3. MerseyMal says:

    Not seen any improvement in speed from this update, as the game seems to still under-utilise the power of an SLI’d pair of MSI factory overclocked GTX 460s (~70% usage), but I suspect that could be a driver issue.

    • JohnH says:

      It’s also possible that you have a bottleneck elsewhere in your system.

    • trjp says:

      I’m still waiting for someone to explain how you can tell a GPU’s usage because they aren’t CPUs – they don’t work in that fashion.

      Every time I see someone quote a % I suspect it’s coming from some weirdly skewed statistic which means nothing in the scale of things…

    • Unaco says:

      As far as I know, a GPU is a processor. As a processor it has a maximum clock speed (the frequency, the maximum number of calculations that can be performed in a second). If a program is causing the processor to run at that maximum clock speed, it’s requiring the maximum number of calculations a second to be performed, and so the ‘usage’ would be 100%. If a program is only requiring half the maximum number of calculations, the usage would be 50%.

      GPU’s and CPU’s are actually very similar… the GPU is, essentially, a very specialised form of CPU. The CPU is general purpose, it can execute any member of a large instruction set, whereas, the GPU is specialised, it has a much reduced instruction set, as it only has to deal with and execute instructions relating to creating graphics (things like the manipulation and handling of large vectors and matrices). Another difference is a GPU will often contain much more transistors than a CPU, allowing a lot more parallel processing to occur. However, these transistors will often be much slower than those found in a CPU.

      As far as I know, you can measure the usage of a GPU in the same way you measure the usage of a CPU… Usage is the proportion of current executions to maximum possible executions.

    • jrpatton says:

      GPU Meter gadget for Win7: http://gallery.live.com/liveItemDetail.aspx?li=65daf803-c01f-43dd-bc61-4ddc9c8a9736&bt=1&pl=1

      Warning! Computer Science Content:
      A GPU is designed for calculations purposed at producing graphics instead of general math. It is massively parallel and therefore orders of magnitude more powerful, however you can’t do traditional recursion on a GPU. I think that’s because it doesn’t allow for stacks. You sort of have to sneak up on the GPU and trick it into working like a CPU.

    • Eolirin says:

      The thing is, you will never, ever, ever, reach 100% utilization on a GPU unless you’ve specifically designed code to do so. No such code would ever represent a valid application, and the GPUs themselves are not designed with 100% utilization in mind. You get something like FurMark, which was causing some older cards to actually burn out.

      So utilization rates are a really useless metric for anyone other than engine programmers.

      That being said, nvidia probably does not have an SLI profile out for it yet, or if it does, a hotfix driver is needed, which means it’s very likely that only one of those cards is doing any work.

    • mittortz says:

      Same here. A pair of Asus 460s OC and the game stutters ridiculously on Medium/High settings 1920×1080 res. I can play any other modern game on Full settings at that res and have 50+ fps (aside from maybe Metro 2033, but whatever). Witcher 2 will have periods of 50+, but as soon as you get into a fight, frames drop as low as below 20, which makes the game unplayable.

      I have the beta Nvidia drivers – at least that made the SLI functional – but still, the game is definitely not well optimized. It recommends “low” settings for my configuration. I don’t mean to sound compu-snobby, but there’s no reason my equipment should require low settings until at least 3 years from now. I’m gonna try and play through the first game while the new one gets fixed up a bit. Or maybe just starcraft.

    • Ravenger says:

      Games don’t automatically benefit from SLI/Crossfire mode. It depends on how the render pipeline has been coded. There are some pretty major ‘gotchas’ when coding PC render pipelines you have to watch out for to prevent issues with multi-gpu modes. In some circumstances multi-gpu setups will be slower than single GPU if the game isn’t optimised to take account of the way that SLI/Crossfire works.

      Nvidia and AMD have developer support teams who provide technical assistance to developers to help optimise games for their hardware and multi-GPU setups. However that’s just advice, and it’s not always practical for teams to re-write their game engines to support SLI or Crossfire properly.

      It is surprising that a new game engine that’s not been ported from consoles has multi-gpu issues though.

    • Rii says:

      Reason #17 to stay away from SLI/Crossfire.

    • Etherion says:

      Just download the latest nVidia beta drivers, I have a single 460 GTX (a bit OC’d) and I’m running it easily with stable fps on ultra with only ubersampling off

    • mittortz says:

      @etherion
      Interesting. What sort of stable fps? 40s, 50s? And what resolution? Maybe I’ll just disable sli entirely… Your combat scenes are smooth? That’s really the biggest issue I’m having, and that exists even on medium settings, though not as badly

    • squirrel says:

      I read from a Taiwan game forum that you can have a better FPS if you turn off UberSampling. Or you may set a lower UberSampling. However, UberSampling is important if you are desiring graphical quality which is equivalent to that of the trailers. FPS problem may be unrelated to DRM afterall.

  4. Casimir Effect says:

    Far as I could interpret most of the performance game would be coming for version which used to have DRM – which is what was slowing things down. The gog.com version won’t see much difference, if any.

  5. Jaxvor says:

    Warning – The Steam version of the patch is a 9gb download. Ouch.

    • Njordsk says:

      This is madness.

      Seriously, more than half of the game to redownload, something went wrong on the steam version…

    • Red_Avatar says:

      What went wrong, was people being daft enough to pay more for the game, have two layers of DRM with it, and give less to the dev … because they wanted to buy it on Steam.

    • Crimsoneer says:

      Alternatively, they think Steam is less likely to go bust than Steam. Which is sensible enough. Or they just want all their purchases consolidated.

    • moonwalker says:

      If I remember correctly, it is an engineering decision. Steam re-download all the files that are modified, while a patch just modifies partes of the old files.

      I guess the Steam way of patching games makes it less prone to breaking things.

    • Theory says:

      This is actually a bug that only affects some people (unless this particular instance is different).

    • hotcod says:

      I believe this is due to the primary game files being given to valve in a 9GB file. So to update any given part of the game a whole new 9gb file has to made and downloaded by the users. This has been the case with a few games on steam. In other words it’s more likely CDPR fault than valves but I’m sure there’s reasons for it.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      Moonwalker is right, Steam lacks the methods to patch parts of files, it just downloads everything again to have the new version of the file. It does the same with Company of Heroes, Arma 2, etc.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      What Red Avatar said.

      Also you have to wonder if CDP did that on purpose as another way to make the Steam version worse.

    • Unaco says:

      This happens with a lot of products on Steam. If you own ArmA 2/Operation Arrowhead/Combined Ops, you’ll likely have seen this whenever they update… other versions had downloads of ~1/2GB for v1.59. Steam versions had downloads totalling ~4GB. It’s something to do with the way Steam distributes and updates files.

      It’s not something CDPr have done to make the Steam version less desirable.

    • trjp says:

      CoH all over again – I reckon, over the years, that CoH must have used about 60-80Gb of bandwidth updating itself…

      I have ‘all you can eat’ so I don’t really care tbh :)

    • kyrieee says:

      Alternatively, they think Steam is less likely to go bust than Steam. Which is sensible enough. Or they just want all their purchases consolidated.

      Luckily the GoG version is 100% DRM free, you download an .exe and run it, nothing else required, so you can back it up as many times as you want.

    • Zenicetus says:

      @ kyrieee: There are other reasons someone (like me) may prefer buying it on Steam. First, I usually have Steam running in the background, so all my games get auto-patched and I don’t have to worry about visiting the devs site at intervals, to track patch status. I don’t have to archive a series of patches on my drive, in case I want to re-visit the game in a year or two.

      Finally, I like to limit the number of sites where I have to manage user logins, passwords, and risk my credit card info. If I had bought anything previously from GoG I might have purchased it there, but I haven’t done that. Since I already have an account with Steam, that’s where I go.

      And yes, I like to support developers that produce good games. And this is a good one (except for the frustrating lack of 4:3 screen ratio support, dammit!). I bought the first Witcher game retail, I pre-ordered this one, and I’ve been trying to spread the word about how it’s a good game. I figure that’s enough support, without having to actually use the dev’s own download service.

  6. kurtcocaine says:

    In terms of performance absolutely no difference for me… if at all any, i noticed my lowest fps just a wee bit higher but that’s it..
    nowhere near the promised 30% or even the 5%

  7. Sorbicol says:

    Finished this last night, the ending wasn’t quite as climatic as I was hoping for, but it did make sense in context of what had gone before. Just about! Will download the patch and replay following Roche rather than Iorveth this time.

  8. Jockie says:

    Noticed that the retail version of the game launches much more promptly, instead of sitting on a splash screen for a minute or so, haven’t had a chance to see if there are any frame-rate increases yet though.

  9. Urael says:

    Man, I’m glad I rarely buy games Day Zero any more. Saves SO much hassle. God bless GOTY editions.

  10. Duffin says:

    “In terms of laying hands on the patch, go here if you bought a retail version”
    Where!?

    EDIT: fixed :D

  11. kael13 says:

    I had a much bigger improvement when I updated my AMD drivers to 11.5b, so I’d recommend doing that.

  12. Wookie_Wookstar says:

    No real change in performance here. Going to finish stalker :cop before I get into this propper so should have a few more patches by then!

  13. ix says:

    This is just one of those games I’m really tempted to buy, but probably will wait for the inevitable sale so I’m fairly sure it’s actually working. QA does seem to be a bit of a problem for these guys.

  14. ran93r says:

    Sadly no amazing 30% boost for me either.

    I actually felt like there was a little “more” stuttering than normal but I have been tinkering with settings to settle things back down, I was running around 60fps before the patch at just under ultra and it’s more or less the same post-patch. I did update to the latest 11.5b rc the other day as well although that didn’t really change bugger all in this or Brink (which also runs ok-ish for me).

    There are a few comments on the GoG forums about an increase in pop-in but I haven’t really played enough since the patch to notice.

  15. sneetch says:

    Oh how I hope I can finally get around to installing and playing this game this weekend. :(

  16. bleeters says:

    It was good of the patch to reset my graphics options to their lowest possible options. I can’t say I’m seeing any noticeable improvement, though. If anything, it seems to be quite choppy now.

  17. Mr Wonderstuff says:

    Well I went from running only in 720p on my plasma to 1080p so something worked.

  18. godgoo says:

    Went from roughly 45fps to 60 for me. best of all though I no longer have to wait 40 seconds for the game to launch!

    Running @ 1680X1050 all settings ultra, uber sampling off, vsync on.

    (i7 2600k 3.4ghz, gtx560ti, 8gb vengeance RAM)

    Been a busy week or two so I’ve only played up to halfway through the ‘Krayan’ quest. absolutely loving it though.

  19. 8-bit says:

    I am actually kind of glad that I am still on the first game now (just started ch4 last night), by the time I finish it the second game should be all ready to play with less messing around with patches.

    • Sheng-ji says:

      Agreed, though 45 hours in I’m still only on chapter 2!!!

    • db1331 says:

      Holy crap. WTF are you doing for 45 hours in chapter 2? It took me 46 hours to beat the game on my first playthrough. I’ve beaten the game twice now, once with every side quest completed, and have 75 hours played total.

    • Soon says:

      One reason it took me so long is because I have a tendency to wander everywhere before even having any quests, so there’s a lot of backtracking and occasionally more of a challenge to pass certain places.

      I’d explored most of Chapter 1 before I even had a silver sword, for example. And trying to kill monsters without it is obviously stupid, but that still didn’t stop me as it then became a personal challenge. Must have easily taken twice as long as it should.

  20. Mr_Day says:

    Well, I have the retail version, but I was waiting until I finish the first game to try it so don’t know if I get a performance boost.

    I can tell you that the game recomended low, and I set it to high. I tried the first part of the game after patch, remembering the dragon, and it whooshed along at a fair old rate – but I realise this isn’t very helpful.

  21. Alexander Norris says:

    For people who don’t want to email: all they do is email you back with a download link. Someone has been kind enough to collect them all in one post on the GOG forums here.

  22. Avenger says:

    Come home
    Want to play Witcher 2..

    duh deh duh doh…

    Steam starts downloading…
    Remaning time: 9 hours

    FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU

    • cairbre says:

      Yeah I was planning on playing the Witcher tonight but guess i wont be now with the monster download of the patch for steam what a bummer. I hope this does happen with every patch for the game.

  23. Christian says:

    I didn’t notice any performance-increase as well (boxed british version), but it was running fairly fine before anyway, so I didn’t expect much. The game starts quicker, which is fine. The black bars in 16:10-resolutions are still there (which bothers me when I start playing, but after 5 minutes I’m in the game and don’t notice anymore).
    Although..I did turn shadows and everything up to ultra after the patch and it was still running smoothly, so that might be a small indicator.

    Hint:
    If you want all of the DLC (all special items like the different armors etc.) just download them, there are direct-links in the comments-section of the ‘free-DLC-announcement on their page. Those are just small exe-files which can be installed (you have to run them as admin though!), and after doing this, the first thing you loot gives you loads of items.
    Nice move of them giving the previously exclusive DLC to anyone, though I imagine this might bother some people who chose a retailer just for the pre-order exclusive DLC.

    • m4x1u says:

      Not really. I have the collector edition and i’ll gladly give my stuff for yours stuff. everybody should get everything IMO. i don’t like this exclusive to vendor DLC crap.

  24. Diziet Sma says:

    Not noticed any major differences, though as others have said for those that think Geralt is an aeroplane the extra options are good surely :P Still can’t get a above 30fps consistently (with fairly maxed detail) but it does seem to be more consistent… less drops down to 15fps when turning. The DLC downloader seems to have realised I have the english pack etc which is good. Did encounter my first bug with 8/9 corpses burnt and not being able to burn the 9 (I think I did burn it then died immediately.. maybe that broke it) had to reload an older save, no biggy, and not a quest that was fixed in the patch. It also seems to be a bug that all of 3 or 4 other people have encountered in the same fashion it seems. In the sense that they have definitely got the ‘right’ corpse and the cannot set fire to it.

  25. StingingVelvet says:

    Didn’t notice any performance change here, but then I was already at 50fps or so on ultra with ubersampling turned off. If you ask me this game runs extremely well for how good it looks.

  26. Maxheadroom says:

    Does this mean you can get ALL the free DLC now? reguardless of where you bought it?

    I emailed all 6 address’ and promptly got back 6 .exes which i then installed but upon starting the game I only had some stripy jacket and some wizerdy pants in my inventory.

    Or was i just being greedy going for them all? Should i just have stuck to the Merchant DLC that i was entitled to having bought it from Game?

    • Kaira- says:

      I believe the DLC-items must be acquired during gameplay, you don’t start with them.

    • Christian says:

      You get them at some time in the game (I guess somewhere in Chapter 1). I was in the beginning of chapter 2 when I installed the DLC-files and got all of the stuff with the first loot I picked up from a monster after loading.
      In the mail I got from play.com containing my DLC-code (which is of course useless now), they state that the item(s) are given to you later in the game as to not destroy balance..

    • Maxheadroom says:

      ah that would make more sense. The emails that came back with the DLC all said the stuff would be in your inventory at the start. Maybe someone just go a bit Cut n’ pasty happy when drafting the emails

  27. Stitched says:

    The patch broke my Steam installation and I can’t run the game now. This sucks!

  28. aeromorte says:

    For me it fixed everything and even more so im happy with the patch (+ i got all free dlcs like finishers jacket pants crap gloves the drug dealer) … and well most of the time i spend just …. walking around not running walking i mean cmon the game is soooooo beatiufiuuuuuuuilllll i just cant pass some random tree without looking at it

  29. Iokanaan says:

    I have the idea it loads areas quicker, less lag when turning Geralt around on a new load. plus, it crashes less often, though that might have to do something with having downed the texture size. funky, funky.

  30. Man Raised by Puffins says:

    Dear CD Projekt,

    Stretching everything is not a fix for letter-boxing, you’ve actually made the situation worse. Good job!

    Yours Sincerely,
    A man who has had the good fortune to be raised by Puffins

    PS. The launcher loads a bit quicker, so that’s nice. Bye!

    PPS. Actually, I do sound a bit ungrateful here. The actual game is pretty damn great. Ta’ra!

    • Man Raised by Puffins says:

      Weird, just booted it up again, fiddled with the settings and now it’s back to (letter-boxed) normal again.

  31. dhex says:

    gah. the 1.0 version crashed zero times in about 15 hours of play. 1.1 has crashed three times in about 30 minutes of play. (gog.com version)

    gah, i say!

  32. Job601 says:

    On my 2.0ghz Core 2 Duo with an AMD HD 5770, the game went from totally unplayable on minimum settings to running smoothly on High with this patch. For some systems this made a huge difference.

  33. Legionary says:

    Good grief what have they done with the screen resolution? It looks AWFUL! I can’t play with it like this.

  34. Marlo Brandon says:

    There’s definitely a significant improvement in my case. I used to get about 30 to 35 fps before the patch, and camera movement and animations felt pretty choppy and irritating (especially the camera). Now I’m getting between 40 and 50 fps most of the time, and everything is very smooth. Sometimes it drops down in the 30s, but even then it doesn’t feel choppy anymore. Most pertinent settings are maxed out (lowering them doesn’t make a difference anyway). I have a single GTX560Ti, E8400 3GHz, and 4GB RAM.

  35. Guiscard says:

    No overall improvement in my case. The beginning bit in the dungeon is now at a smooth frame rate, but the outside bits around the prologue siege are still unplayable due to a frame rate of around 10.

    Back on the shelf please, Mr. Witcher 2. We’ll try again in six months.

  36. kud13 says:

    made an account just to say: the patch made a HUGE difference on my ultra low-end system.

    I have a decent laptop (dual core, 8 gigs RAM), with a very weak video card (the dreaded integrated intel chipset). when I first got the game, I played on lowest seetings and had to halve the resolution, in order for the opening videos to play without lag., The game would look like Morrowind, graphics-wise. the street signs would be blurry blobs. I would have to guess at dice, b/c all i’d see as result would be a blurry outline. You couldn’t even see the lilies on the Temerian soldier’s uniforms!

    after teh patch, i’m running the same setings, and graphically, the game looks like the original witcher, all the time. Framerate definitely improved. this patch is a lifesaver.

    now, if only CDPRed would make Russian subs and voiceovers available for the GOG version….

  37. ElElegante says:

    Runs smooth as butter now. The framerate was okay for me before, but the patch sees a noticable difference. For a laugh, I even turned on the dreaded Ubersampling option and still only got a slight stutter.
    Of course, my main problem was that the game kept crashing every 2-15 minutes once I reached chapter 1. I’ve started a new game, so I can’t say if the problem is gone, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

  38. MythArcana says:

    Great! Now everyone can get back to their favorite linear console simulation!

  39. Shubb9 says:

    I pre-ordered and bought through GOG. Launcher and Troll DLC worked perfectly 1st time, not trying to annoy those who are having problems just wanted it known the game wasn’t totally broken. Patch now means I can run everything on Ultra apart from ubersampling @ 1920×1200 (16:10 ratio needed in patch 1.2 methinks)
    Also just cheekily emailed for those ‘exclusive’ pre-order goodies from the Witcher website and got auto-response free stuff within seconds! So all the GOG digital goodies AND the retailer bribes for less than the price of Steam!
    Love you CDPR!

  40. Yosharian says:

    Holy shit this game is good.

  41. kipue says:

    I feel I get a better framerate because now, diabling the blur actually does work for me :D Probably other options too, haven’t really investigated yet…

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>