Bruce On The Wane: Arkham City DX11 Woes

By Andrew Smee on November 25th, 2011 at 10:47 am.

It's time for Animaniacs! And we're zany to the max. So just sit back and relax, you'll laugh 'til you collapse, we're Animaniacs!

Batman: Arkham City is now playable on Steam, after a week of mild confusion over its availability in various regions. However, more pressing concerns have arisen now that it’s been properly released: the DX11 support seems to be as broken as the bat after a few rounds with Bane, rendering Brucie’s latest adventure unplayable with the current DirectX package.

The main issue seems to be that having DX11 enabled turns Arkham City into a juddering, stuttering mess with wildly fluctuating framerates. My copy is still downloading as I’m writing this, but our Adam has played it and reports exactly that, and it’s an experience shared with those on the Steam forums. The chaps over at HardOCP have an in-depth rundown of Arkham City’s performance on an NVidia GTX 580 and an AMD Radeon HD 6970 and it’s pretty damning, stating that “with both video cards the game stuttered and paused in exactly the same places, indicating it is more of a game issue with DX11.”

An official post on the Arkham City forums recognises the issue, and goes on to say that “We’re working on a title update to address this matter and expect to make it available in the near future.”

In the meantime we’re left with turning off DX11 in favour of the good old dependable DX9, the how-to documented in the same forum post:

Instructions for changing DX 11 to DX 9
The Launcher can be accessed on Games for Windows LIVE and Steam to change DX 11 to DX 9 in the Settings menu.
Change both DirectX 11 Features and DirectX 11 Tessellation to OFF.

Games for Windows LIVE
Start > All Programs > Games > Right click on Batman: Arkham City and select Launcher > Settings
1. Open the Start Menu
2. Select All Programs and then the Games folder
3. Right click on Batman: Arkham City and select Launcher
4. Choose Settings then click on the arrow next to DX options to change

Steam:
Launch Steam Client > Library > Right click on Batman: Arkham City > Configure PC Options
1. Open Steam
2. Select Library
3. Right click on Batman: Arkham City and select Configure PC Options
4. Choose Settings then click on the arrow next to DX options to change

Adam does say that with DX11 turned off, Arkham City runs as smooth as butter under DX9. The whole mess is a shame, moreso with the trailer campaign so keen to stress how fancy the PC experience would be. Adam’s WIT will be up shortly, so we’ll soon see if he thinks the hassle is worth it.

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38 Comments »

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  1. Sian says:

    Either I’m naïve or jaded, but this doesn’t bother me that much. It’ll get fixed and we’ll be able to enjoy the glory of this fully armed and operational graphics engine. I hope.

    But it’s a great help that you’ve printed the how-to here.

    • Boozebeard says:

      The problem is a lot of people will have finished the game by then and most of those people probably wont play it through again. I know I probably wouldn’t, I already have about 100 games I need to play through for the first time :P

    • Premium User Badge

      Phinor says:

      I usually don’t mind when games ship with broken DX11 (and most of them do). But in this case they took extra five weeks to make the PC version better, or that’s what they want us thinking anyway. They also kept advertising the DX11 and Nvidia features but the end result is that the game is simply broken with the features turned on. Nvidia is probably happy spending money to get results like this.

      On the plus side thanks to Nvidia’s involvement I got my copy for 22€. And I don’t mind playing in DX9 so win-win and I’m enjoying the game, a lot.

    • Sian says:

      “The problem is a lot of people will have finished the game by then and most of those people probably wont play it through again. I know I probably wouldn’t, I already have about 100 games I need to play through for the first time :P”

      See, me too. So I’ll just put off Arkham until it’s in working condition. After all, I’m not exactly losing anything.

      “I usually don’t mind when games ship with broken DX11 (and most of them do). But in this case they took extra five weeks to make the PC version better, or that’s what they want us thinking anyway.”

      I’ve never seen these five weeks as a problem, or any other delay for that matter. I don’t need to play a singleplayer game when everybody else is playing it. It simply doesn’t matter to me what they did in those five weeks or how long it takes them to fix the DX11 features, as long as they fix them at all. But then, I’m a calm person almost to the point of Zen, as long as I’m not driving a car.

    • V. Profane says:

      Doesn’t bother me because I don’t have a DX11 card.

    • Ragnar says:

      If it was an adventure game claiming 4 classes, but only 3 of them work, wouldn’t you be upset? If a racing game claimed advertised 10 cars, but only had 8, wouldn’t you feel slightly cheated? Likewise, if they say DX 11, and it doesn’t work, I feel like I’m not getting the full experience that I could (and should) be.

  2. Schadenfreude says:

    Skyrim will keep me busy until this is fixed. Hopefully it won’t take as long as RAGE – still broken :/

    • Premium User Badge

      frymaster says:

      rage is OK as long as you quicksave every 2 minutes and restart either when all the textures disappear, or when the act of trying to quicksave freezes the game…

      …ok, rage is not OK.

    • Screamer says:

      The row boat with our copies is apparently only arriving in December over here in SA. It seem to actually be a good thing :D

  3. Raiyan 1.0 says:

    See? The extra month they took for the PC version to amp up the shininess was totally worth it.

    Waiting for dm Smith’s WIT.

    • Magrippinho says:

      Well, I guess the silver lining of this whole thing is that it kinda proves there were actual issues with the PC version, and they didn’t just push it back just because of “teh PC PIRACY!1!”

    • Cim says:

      According to a post on the Arkham City Steam boards, the compile date for the final release executable is the 27th of September (this info is apparently in the game).

      So, though they didn’t lie about there being glaring issues with the PC version… they did lie that it was the cause of the delay.

      They could have released this version of the game at the same time as the consoles, they just choose not to.

  4. Njordsk says:

    Well, I had problems too with DX11, FPS going down to 10 for no reasons. So I went for DX9, and it’s still absolutly beautiful.

    Only played an hour, but all I want is to leave work and get back home fast to pwn some bad guys.

  5. Necroscope says:

    I’m soon buying this regardless of DX11 working or unavailable. DX9 runs smooth and loads fast which is something I like alot about Skyrim although one day engine tech with no loading screens would be my ideal of immersion . I do however want DX11 special effects to be working as a major bonus for visual pleasure and impressiveness. Stuttering performance can ruin a game experience so its important that you fix it asap rock steady! I couldn’t play Deus Ex:HR for long periods before it was patched up, after was plain sailing,..

  6. Premium User Badge

    The Sombrero Kid says:

    Holy fuck this game is a mess, not only was I duped into buying a game with activation limits, which i will never forgive, it has securom, gfwl & steam drm, achievements come down from the top AND up from the bottom, as if achievements weren’t toxic enough, the DX11 issues the preloading mess, the demanding my key every time i start the game if i refuse to give it it, for fear of gfwl deleting all my saves like it’s prone to do, i’m disappointing in rocksteady sure, but i’m more ashamed of myself, i’ve been fooled twice, they simply wont get a third chance.

    Also I brushed off that bitch stuff, thinking people were being oversensitive, but when two face calls catwoman a bitch it just seems so out of place and wrong, it does come across as quite misogynistic.

  7. thegooseking says:

    Well, I’m waiting until the next batch of cards comes out (and thus the cards I want hopefully come down in price) until I even get a DX11 card. So I guess it’ll be fixed by then.

  8. Mario Figueiredo says:

    The QA team probably didn’t notice.

  9. Rei Onryou says:

    Waiting for it to arrive in the post. Very disappointed in the way the PC has been handled. You’d have thought that in 5 weeks of extra PC work, they may have got the extra PC stuff working.

  10. Alligator Patrol says:

    I played it for an hour last night, had to prevent the game using more than two of my CPU cores before it didn’t instantly CTD from the main menu. I also didn’t notice GFWL didn’t load so it didn’t save anything I did and I’ll now have to play it from the beginning again. This is pretty disappointing on top of the delay, I’ve been looking forward to this game for a long, long time so to have my first experience of it hampered quite severely is a shame. Having said that, the underlying game does look pretty good.

  11. BaronWR says:

    Hmm, I noticed last night that it seemed to have loaded the dx9 version for me for some reason. Looks like I might have actually dodged a bullet.

    Still the game seems pretty damn good, even if it does seem to have suffered a bit from feature creep.

  12. MrMud says:

    With this being a GFWL game, the patch will take a long time to come out since it would have to pass cert (that apparently doesnt actually catch obvious problems)

  13. Haggai Elkayam says:

    Well, the game is still unavailable in Israel, even for people who pre-purchased it…

  14. The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

    I got this for the 3D vision (I know, boooooo), which I have finally gotten working and is incredible.

  15. piderman says:

    Well I have an ATi card so no PhysX for me anyway.

  16. phenom_x8 says:

    Batman, it’s very popular in my country! It’s even used as new term here.
    When someone getting punked by his/her friends than he/ she will be called “Masuk jebakan Batman!” or in english “he/she was entering Batman’s traps”.

    It’s also named as one of tv show here (search ‘jebakan betmen” if you curious) where the host punk some local celebrity.

    And in this game, I guess we all have been “masuk jebakan batman” by being punked by Rocksteady and NVIDIA with its DX 11 hype all this time!!

    I’m rather dissapointed by this event!

    • inawarminister says:

      Well met, fellow Indonesian! (Yes, I recognise you through the use of an obscure meme (at least on the wider ‘Net), pop culture is funny like that)

      To all Britisher and etc that doesn’t understand this, let me reiterate what this good man said:

      Batman is very popular in Indonesia, and there’s a new (local-born) meme here called ‘jebakan Batman’ (Batman trap, aye). It’s used when you play a practical joke on somebody. It’s a bit like the English ‘HOLY BATMAN’, but instead of an exclamation, it’s a slang term for the action.

      Anyway, so Rocksteady and NVIDIA played a joke on everyone of us PC gamers by hyping the DX11 feature and … Well, you know what happen. We Indonesians here called that being trapped by batman (jebakan batman!) :P

      PS: I want a game where I can get trapped by batman now!

    • mana says:

      most amusing good fellows!

      I’d have hated to see the state the game was in before they took the extra 5 weeks to fix all the issues… oh no wait, they just wanted to sell more $60 console copies but give a bigger cut to middlemen :-s

    • phenom_x8 says:

      @inawarminister

      Yep, I’m glad there’s someone that more than capable to explained it than myself! Because I have some difficulties on my own! :)
      I never thought there’s someone that will be able to recognize where I came from! Feel nice to knew it!

  17. Kollega says:

    I love the alt-text here.

  18. D3xter says:

    I’m more worried about this game using all of Steam, GFWL and SecuRom as DRM and with the added graphics issues I’m not sure if to buy… how exactly does that work?

    • alundra says:

      this game is using all of Steam, GFWL and SecuRom with activation limits as DRM

      There, you forgot that part. If you are not sure what to do, it’s easy, do the entire PC gaming community a favor and don’t support this with your wallet.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Worth noting that you only get Steam DRM if you choose to buy it there. Get it elsewhere and you only have SecuROM and GFWL, and most GFWL games are not really DRM’d by it, you can use an offline profile.

  19. Shooop says:

    Why is it that no game to date has used Direct X 11 without turning into an unplayable crashing mess?

    Call of Pirpyat won’t load if it’s turned on, Deus Ex HR will crash to a black screen if it’s on, and now Arkham City will drop to single-digit frame rates if it’s on.

    Is it game-makers’ fault or Microsoft’s?

  20. alundra says:

    It’s because the games are originally designed for what’s supported by consoles, DX9, these are not true DX11 games, and will never be until all consoles are updated, therefore bugs arise when *some* DX11 features are turned on top of a DX9 backend.

  21. Hatsworth says:

    The alt-text brings a tear to my eye. So does GFWL incidentally. (sorry for the snark)