Rage: Settings Patch/Carmack On PC Probs

By Alec Meer on October 9th, 2011 at 11:48 am.

Looks lovely... from a distance

id’s legendary robo-brain John Carmack has broken the developer’s rather inadvisable silence about the mucky state of Rage at launch on PC last week. Apology? Nah? Accepting blame? Nah. It’s all ATI’s fault that id released a game designed for future rather than existent drivers, he says. Oh, and the reason the game, once working, is still not as super-shiny as we might have hoped is because “We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games.” Here we go again.

In happier news, the first Rage patch is out, and thank the god of textures, it introduces a much-needed graphics settings menu to the game.

All this and more was told to Kotaku, by the way, whose piece here you should read for the full picture of the C-talk.

Here’s his take on the driver issue:

“The driver issues at launch have been a real cluster !@#$. We were quite happy with the performance improvements that we had made on AMD hardware in the months before launch… 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…

“Unfortunately, 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. We are working with both AMD/ATI and Nvidia to help them identify and fix the issues with their drivers.”

OK – but I still don’t understand why the driver wasn’t released before the game, given some version of it must have been used in-house at iD to develop/test Rage on. I still don’t understand why id and Bethesda were happy for a game to launch knowing that 50% of their PC players probably would’t be able to play it. I don’t understand why they didn’t do their best to ensure it was at least playable on older ATI drivers, even if some whizz-bang was missing. Obviously, I’m being an armchair analyst not privy to the real inner workings of what went down, but at the very least this could have been communicated a whole lot better than it was.

Then there’s the other bit, where Carmack admits the entirely unsurprising news that consoles are now more important to id than PCs. I’m not irked because it’s to be expected – if expensive games want expensive promotion, they need to have consoles front and centre in their mind. However, when a game really takes off on PC it can huge, wildly huge – and I do think too many companies see it as too much of a gamble and don’t invest as much as they could/should to seriously increase the chance of high returns. Battlefield 3 is going to be very interesting in that regard.

Anyway, here’s Carmack’s platform-mulling:

“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. We chose the latter. We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games. 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.”

I agree with him, broadly, for what it’s worth, but I don’t think it excuses the sloppy state of Rage’s launch or irritations such as how lousy some of the game’s textures are close up or the mouse moving at twice the speed in menus. Is it really not possible to do a bit more incremental PC work after making the console version tip-top than they actually did here?

Hopefully, id are indeed on the case now – a patch landed last night which added the much-missed graphics options to the game. It’s basically a friendlier way of activating the config file tweaks people came up with last week, so if you’ve held off from doing that from fear and confusion, let Steam update Rage now and you’ll find easy options for texture caching (to fix the pop-in), anisotropic filtering (to fix the blurry distant textures) and Vsync (to semi-fix the screen tearing). Hopefully there’ll be more patches with more options further down the line.

Full patch notes here.

I should add that, since tweaking and driver-fiddling, I’ve been enjoying Rage an awful lot. As I said here.

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191 Comments »

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  1. rocketman71 says:

    Bravo, Carmack, bravo!. Way to fuck up both the release and your reputation, not accept any blame for it (which is all yours, BTW), and end up despising the gamers that bought your games and put id where it is today. And all in a couple of paragraphs.

    Everything we’ve heard from id in the last 2-3 years, mainly from Willits and Hollowhead, pointed to this, but I thought that Carmack had a more level head. He looks like a 13 year old that broke the cookie jar and is trying to blame his uncles ATI and nVidia.

    And another great company bites the dust… thanks for the memories, good luck in your console endeavours. Perhaps I’ll buy your console ports when they hit the bargain bin.

  2. renem1 says:

    Well, if carmack thinks that the pc should come in after the consoles, then i won’t buy an ID software game ever, and i have every game from commander keen to etqw, i was just missing rage in my collection, he wont get my 60 bucks

  3. johnpeat says:

    I’ve no idea how he can blame ATi (who don’t exist so it’s AMD) – he’s supposed to TEST his shit before shipping it and all that…

    There’s little evidence that happened – surely they realise that they’ll be seen as a potential ‘flagship’ title for the PC (as they’ve been in the past) – surely the fact that’s not the case is, at the very least, embarrasing?

  4. elmuerte says:

    Another point where Rage fails: sure there’s no repeating going on in textures, but the enemies of a given clan are all identical. It’s not that they look alike, no, they are identical.

  5. Mechlord says:

    As of this update, “m_menu_sensitivity” is no longer changeable via the console/launch options. This once again lowers the game’s menus to being incredibly frustrating.

    If a game’s menus have forced acceleration it is really not acceptable that the cursor does not move at all until the mouse is moved at a suitably high speed.

  6. Grayvern says:

    I have a 1GB card pre-patch I had the custom config file set up for 8k textures and there was only pop in when I loaded. Post patch I get pop in which going from no pop in is horrible and the game also produces artifacts when cars blow up in the wasteland.

    • Milky1985 says:

      I’m geting that as well, nvidia graphics card by any chance?

  7. 1Whistler1 says:

    Just a reply to John Carmack’s idiotic statment about PC’s. “We (PC gamers) do not see id software as the leading company for PC games.” Its time for id to move on to consoles and leave the real programing to the BIG boys.

  8. phenom_x8 says:

    “… We do not see the PC as the leading platform for games. 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.

    That statement make me very sad, not enrage, but SAD! PC version of BFBC 2 clearly have more audiences than its console counterpart because DICE have will to make it for us.
    Its seems that he forgot who was give him money so that he (and the rest of Id’s crew) can live a life all this time and, even, set up his own rocket company (before acquisition)! Its just sad he’s not expecting us to be his audiences anymore after what we’ve shown to him before!

  9. wodin says:

    Well I have the game but they wont be getting my money…cos if a game is good they will get it.

  10. Premium User Badge

    Sagan says:

    So you didn’t quote Carmack fully. He said “we had made significant internal changes to cater to what AMD engineers said would allow the highest performance with their driver and hardware architectures, and we went back and forth with custom extensions and driver versions.”

    So if id software even went so far as to use custom OpenGL extensions to make sure their game runs as well as it can on AMD hardware, then there is really nothing more you can do. And it sounds like this really is entirely AMD’s fault. AMD goes to id and says “here, use this extension and by the way use this driver to test for now, thank you very much for the extra performance.” and id is nice enough to actually do that, then it is clearly AMD’s fault that the game doesn’t run.

    In other words: id probably had the game running on older drivers until AMD came and said to use new performance enhancing features that they guaranteed that they would support.

  11. skorpeyon says:

    What I think is funny is that it’s supposedly AMD drivers causing the problems, yet I have an Nvidia card, have the latest drivers, and was still seeing the “pop in” effects. Also, with a game this graphically intense, not enabling a vsync option was flat-out idiotic. I have to enable that on most games when I crank the graphics up to keep from the horrible distortion you get when turning side-to-side. Simple check in a box and a slider later and, hey, the game is playable. They absolutely need to add in graphics options, however, so you can crank certain aspects up or down. I looked in the options menu and just blinked several times. Of course, if I seem to remember correctly the graphics options for the Quake and Doom games were almost nonexistant as well. I remembered doing a lot of config file editing to get them to look decent on my computer last time I tried to play them.

  12. FalseMyrmidon says:

    “A game built with a tenth the resources on a platform 10 times as powerful would be an inferior product in almost all cases.”
    Minecraft says hi.

  13. Premium User Badge

    MerseyMal says:

    With vsync on/smart I’m getting frequent pauses even with everything else turned down. With it turned off I can set everything in menu to high. (i5 2500K @ 4.6GHz & HD 6870)

  14. MrTambourineMan says:

    Man I just remembered that I haven’t “torrented” a game in about a year!

    • Saldek says:

      Do you feel the new Desirable Quality Threshold-DRM®* cutting in, making you think, “But, in this case, why would I bother?”

      *DQT-DRM®: A state of the art streaming tech that allows your gaming product to limbo dance below the Threshold of Desirable Quality™ even on the most powerful hardware.
      Select your desired Piracy Reduction Quotient pre-release and DQT-DRM® will calculate and enforce an appropriate capping of product quality. Gain control of product desirability and finally enjoy seeing lost sales sink at the same rate as actual sales.

    • Jimmeh says:

      *Applause*

  15. RicochetSaw says:

    Cool, we have to wait a week now on game releases to get basic graphics control -.-

    Anyone else think that these game specific drivers are stupid?
    Seriously, why all the sudden are all games requiring a specific driver update to run at decent fps? Are game devs that lazy as to not develop for week old cards?

    • Saldek says:

      I don’t think it’s a matter of not developing for older hardware. I’d say it’s a way of alleviating some of the constraints of accessing the hardware (old or new) through an API. It’s utterly plausible that a new engine might require API extensions to combine innovation and performance.

      I believe Cormack spoke of the compromises APIs entail. (One of the videos in which he hadn’t yet realised that the PC isn’t worth much attention)

  16. RyuRanX says:

    Funny thing is Carmack said that way before declating it was a mistake developing Rage primarely for consoles.

    Kotaku flamebating again…

  17. vrekman64 says:

    I don’t know if this patch actually works but my compromised trust to id was restored by that changelog.

    One of the most clear honest and comprehensive changelogs this far.

    It also confirmed the well known rumor of the COMPLETE garbage drivers provided by both vendors.

  18. matrices says:

    Here’s one relevant fact that’s rarely mentioned: id, ‘lead games developer’, employs a grand total of 60 people.

    Seriously guys? You can’t make a -A- game with a brand new engine on all three platforms simultaneously when you only have 60 people on your team. Or rather you can, but with aforementioned results.

    AMD or no AMD, it’s irrelevant: I had the same hideous texture problem on BF3 Nvidia drivers, W7, and GTX 580s. And there’s still disappointing pop-in all over the place with this patch. The only thing that has saved the day for me was the community coming up with the CFG settings to force 8k textures and setting VTT or whatever to 8.

  19. Pointless Puppies says:

    Why don’t developers simply tell it like it is? Why don’t they just own up to the fact that developing for consoles is far easier and they’d rather just drop PC altogether because they’re too lazy to support it?

    Carmack’s comments are really just typical of lazy-fuck console developers. Honestly, just look them up. Every anti-PC comment made by console devs say the exact same misinformation. “No market for PC” “ITZ SO HARD TO SUPPORT PC” and the always effective “PIRACEE!!!!” (which thankfully Carmack hasn’t gone on record to say, but if Rage’s sales on PC are low you bet your ass that’s the first word that’ll fly out his mouth). It’s the industry’s biggest and most pathetic self-fulfilling prophecy, giving shit console ports to the PC while lamenting that there’s “no market” for their games. Yes, Carmack and other console devs, there IS no market for half-assed, shitty ports on the PC. There is, however, quite a healthy market for proper and well-made PC games. Maybe you should provide that instead of whining that nobody supports your shit.

    Honestly, any developer “surprised” at the outrage that incidents that this cause are clueless enough to not deserve any respect from the industry at large. Fuck up your launch, expect outrage. It’s sad that he’s acting “surprised” that people actually have standards. Oh no, I’ve overpriced my game by $10 and launched a half-baked console port, but why is everyone so mad at me?!

    My oh my, how the mighty have fallen. If all ID can muster is a 10-hour generic shooter that manages to be 22 GB in size despite being linear has hell with absolutely atrocious texturework and a complete trainwreck of a launch on PC after having not done anything for 7 years, they’ve become completely irrelevant in the industry, period. He can make as many “inflammatory” statements as he wants, the proof is in the pudding. It’s not the PC that has failed you, Carmack, it’s you who has failed the PC.

    • Prosper0_cz says:

      I almost wish to have this etched on my grave.

      Well said, sir.

  20. Khatzen says:

    Its funny how game companies completely destroy a launch of a much anticipated and advertised game on the most powerful platform which consoles are based off, to be perfectly honest (Xbox 360 is simply a watered down, locked down PC) and then say “The PC gaming Market isnt our biggest seller”…

    Yeah… probably because you screw your customers every time with this kinda behaviour or disruptive DRM!

    See what happened with Minecraft? A game not yet even properly released but one of the most played games of the moment… and its mostly played on the PC.

  21. Screamer says:

    So after installing the latest WHQL drivers 285, (not installing beta crap on my system) and creating the config file the game ran great, but even with 8k textured forced, I am still get really crappy textures in between the high detail textures.

    Is it suppose to be like that? And if so, do the consoles also have that? How can the say its one of the best looking games ever then? Granted the artistic design is very well done, but still….

  22. Milky1985 says:

    “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”

    None of them thought to try with the current drivers to see if it works, or sort out development to the point where the driver makers could get a WHQL certed driver out before release?

    “some nvidia drivers have problems”, yes all except the latest driver one sreleased 7 days before your game was out mainly to help with BF3….

    Sorry but this whole thing imo shows a high level of arrogence from them (including the megatexture technology tbh, with all the texture pop and static lighting showing its nota good tech to use for everything, but admit its good for the terrain… even if it is all sodding brown)

  23. ninjapirate says:

    Most of the comments that I’ve read here helped me decide to pass on Rage.

  24. Howard_Roark says:

    The garbage coding that is RAGE is a perfect example as to why pirating software before purchase makes alot of sense. This game runs terribly on good rigs. I’d be extremely pissed if I spent $60 to find out that this junk is completely unplayable. After reading the horrendous reviews and the nightmarish stories I’m staying far away from this one. After reading John Carmack’s comments with regard gaming on the PC, I’ve added id Software to my “Will Never See a Dollar of My Money” list.