Dishonored 2 beta patch out, may or may not help

Arkane have been very open since almost the start that they fully intend to fix Dishonored 2 [official site]’s performance problems, so kudos there. G’dang it’s a shame they didn’t nail this stuff down prior to release though, because in any just world the Dishonored 2 story would have been “Yeah, it’s ace” rather than “Oh God no.” The game runs pretty atrociously on my PC – yes, I can get it to playable with rock-bottom settings and non-native resolutions, but it looks like someone wiped a used nappy down my screen and still feels jerky and sluggish.

Goodish news: a patch has now landed (as an opt-in public beta), which begins to tackle the problems. Its fixes sound very promising on paper, but haven’t helped me in practice.

Here’s what the 1.1 beta patch does, in the main:

  • Mouse improvements, including a fix for sensitivity being framerate dependent
  • Fixes an AMD cloth physics issue, which impacts framerates at various points in the game
  • Fixes an issue affecting CPU task priority – the game no longer switches CPU task priority

I’ll go from last to first, just for fun, like. The third point relates to an issue some players thought they’d found, whereby the game seemingly switches its CPU priority from high to low frequently, and some surmised that this was responsible for the wildly lurching framerate on many systems. (Including mine – the game can spasm between 20 and 60 frames per sec while standing in the same place). Various user-made tweaks came out, which some declared had an effect, but a counter-argument was that it was pure placebo and the game was slipping into low priority only in times when it didn’t need the CPU all that much. The fixes didn’t do anything for me, but good to see it’s built into the game now so people can at least stop blaming it.

Middle fix – yep, it did seem like AMD users (m’self included) were getting the rawest deal, so anything targeting that lot is good news. Perhaps distant cloth effects in different parts of the environment might explain why the frame rate pitch a wobbly just while rotating on the same spot?

And finally the first, which is the face-palm one. The mouse sensitivity… changed depending on frame rate? Your most fundamental means of interaction with the game randomly accelerates and decelerates? Quite a humdinger.

The net result for me? Not a lot. Not a lot at all. I still have to drop down to Medium on my overclocked R9 Nano, and that’s just to get an average frame rate of about 45 – and that’s with my monitor’s admittedly humongous 3440×1440 res dropped to 2560×1080. I certainly don’t expect 60/Ultra on this card at that native res, but 40ish/High would do me just fine. The settings I have to use to keep the game comfortably playable make it look awful, which is undeserving of a game this visually meticulous.

I don’t need 60 – the greater problem by far is the continued spiking. I’m still getting wild jumping from 25-60 if I take a chance on High or Very High and various individually toggled options in between – no one option seems to have any meaningful effect. Even turning the TXAA anti-aliasing down to FXAA or off entirely makes no difference, other than looking much worse.

Even on Medium/lower res it’s regularly slamming down to low 30s – I cannot achieve anything like consistency. That’s something that seriously affects feel – this is not a principles thing.

As for mouse movement, it does feel a little more fluid now, though still slightly off in a way I can’t quite put my finger on.

All told, beta patch 1.1 doesn’t get the game into a state where I realistically want to play it, which is a great shame. I’m even considering picking up a console copy so I can experience what enough people I respect claim is a fantastic game without getting undermined by all this boring tech stuff. But I can take comfort from the fact that fixes are in motion, and perhaps 1.1 is a necessary foundation for more effective stuff yet to come. This is probably the most important line in the update notes, in fact:

“Update 1.2 development is underway and will address a broader range of issues including performance and is estimated to be available in the next week.”

So, not long to go, hopefully. If you want to try out version 1.1 one, right-click on the Dishonored 2 entry in your Steam library, click properties, go to betas and select betapatch – public from the drop-down menu. It’s quite a big download, but also thrashed my hard drive for quite a while before it was ready, so go have some tea and toast once you set it going.

If you’re an Nvidia user, there’s also a new driver out which may help matters for you.

For a less whingey take on Dishonored 2, I shall once again point you in the direction of the enviably tech issue-free Adam’s review.


  1. Serenegoose says:

    For me, as a single data point, it took my setup (GTX 970, i5 2500k overclocked to 4.5ghz, 8gb RAM – so refer that to your own) and softened some of the spikiness of the performance into something I find eminently playable. Now, for what that’s worth, I’m running 2560×1440 because 1920×1080 just looks horrendous on my monitor, like a blurry dream sequence. I’ve the adaptive res up to 100, vsync off, and the graphics settings on auto – which is largely highs and mediums. I have to leave the txaa x1 anti-aliasing on, because otherwise, despite the generous res, the game is aliased like you wouldn’t believe, to the point that it’s actually distracting to look at. But the net result is, it’s smooth enough for me to be happy with, isn’t hiccuping, and the mouse isn’t feeling anywhere near as weird as it was the first time I loaded the game up. It’s a definite improvement, but no miracle.

    However, I’d say given what I’ve looked up online about the game, peoples experience with how it runs and their kit aren’t quite correlating very neatly at all. What improved things for me may not for you, so keep it in mind. :)

    • Daymare says:

      I’ve got pretty much the same setup, except my 2500k isn’t OC’d anymore. Can play most of it on Very High, running at 1080p. In fact, settings don’t seem to impact performance much, which I understand is one of the problems. Gotta agree, game looks absolutely atrocious without TXAAx1, white dots and lines and outlines flicker and artifact everywhere. Turning it on was the single biggest visual improvement.

      If I turn around fast or move quickly in open environs, frames can fluctuate between 34 and 57, but only for 1-2 secs and mostly it still *feels* quite stable. Not great, but okay. I think it helps that I do a slow, sneaky no-kill run so I don’t often move around fast.

      RPS posted an .ini mouse fix that worked against the sluggishness, except when the game gets laggy.

  2. Michael Manning says:

    New Nvidia driver / patch helped me a great deal except in large areas or areas with lots of lighting. For example the body in the first level with the bright spotlight on it kills my frame-rate. The open areas of the second level also are still quite slow but most other areas I’ve played is much smoother. Still way off the performance I’d expect on medium settings with a 980ti. Even with inconsistent performance I’m absolutely loving what little I’ve played so far. Couldn’t resist playing as Corvo to hear Stephen Russel’s voice again.

  3. Zanchito says:

    Some people are noticing graphic memory problems with the latest NVidia driver. Driver 369.09 seems to be a popular rollback.

    • neems says:

      It’s not the same driver, it’s a hotfix nvidia have released because of the memory issues caused by the previous one.

  4. Halk says:

    Hasn’t fixed the frame pacing. So even if I get 100 FPS it still feels like 20. Not playable.

    “Arkane have been very open since almost the start that they fully intend to fix Dishonored 2 [official site]’s performance problems, so kudos there.”

    Yeah, we should worship them for intending to fix the broken product they sold us…
    Can’t wait to be able to play it 2 months after “release” or something.

    • Jenuall says:

      I’ve been using RivaTuner Statistics Server to help smooth out the frame timing issues in this. Might be worth a shot?

  5. .mad says:

    Weirdly enough it has been quite playabble for me, i5 4690k @4.1 with a 980TI. I play in 1440p on ultra settings and usually get around 70fps also dropping down to 35 in some open areas.

  6. Jenuall says:

    I’m actually afraid to try either the patches for this or the latest drivers from NVIDIA as I’m getting pretty playable performance on my current setup and am now fearful that I would end up making things worse!

    It’s definitely not as good as it should be on my machine (i5 4690K, 8GB RAM, 970), but I tend to get 45-60 FPS, with it staying nearer the top of that more often than the bottom. Adjusting settings has had no real effect on performance, so I’ve left it on mostly High/Medium and TXAA rather than FXAA as this causes the horrible white dotted edge artifacts that others have mentioned.

    For me it’s playable enough to be very enjoyable, but with a noticeable tinge of frustration as I know it should be playing better than it is!

    • Aitrus says:

      The hotfix driver is for pascal cards only, the 10xx series. Neither this post nor the patch notes on Steam mention that.

  7. Jaykera says:

    The patch didn’t change much for me.

    70 fps still feels like 25.
    1080 still looks like I wiped my screen with a lasagna.

    The game itself is still amazing and I’m actively trying to forget about it and get back to it in 6 months.

  8. SuperJonty says:

    I really want to play this as I loved the first one, but I’m really dubious as to whether my setup will even start it up. 8gb RAM and a 4670k, but only a 760. Only running at 1440×900 though, so maybe not too painful or am I just fooling myself?

    • tofu says:

      I made an account just to reply to this. I wish I could recommend the game to you, but I have pretty much the same system specs as you and the game is currently unplayable on ALL low settings. I could deal with sub-60 FPS if it was the only issue, but everything combined is too much. On top of that, the game keeps crashing because I don’t have enough memory, even though 8gb is withing the minimum specs. This could be a personal issue, but I haven’t been able to get past the second mission, so I thought it worth mentioning. If the mouse settings and frame pacing issues are fixed, I’d say buy it. As someone with 250 hours in the first game, it seems like it COULD be fantastic, but it’s not worth the frustration at the moment.

  9. Lars Westergren says:

    I pity the programmers. I often can’t get 10 lines of javascript to behave perfectly consistently over different configurations of operating systems and browsers. I can’t imagine how it would be to have low level hardware considerations, different driver and OS versions, and extreme performance requirements on top of that.

  10. LazyAssMF says:

    Well i’m pretty happy now because i couldn’t play the game before, with drops to 15fps, while now i can finally play it. It still has some drops here and there but they’re not nearly as bad as before.
    So all in all this patch helped me immensely. :)

  11. ran93r says:

    I went in to this beta patch with low expectations and came away more or less disappointed anyway.

    Seems exactly the same to me, still a lot of frame hitching even though the fps is a solid 60 on average, if not better.

    Literally the only thing I noticed was that the mouse cursor on the menu screen wasn’t as lethargic as it was before, so congratulations on that I suppose.

    Back on the shelf Corvo, see you again soon I hope.

  12. AutonomyLost says:

    They dropped the ball so hard on this, it’s astounding.

    With such a poor initial offering, as patches go (and beta at that), they should not even be announcing this. Of course, I’m sure we all have a bevy of good games in our backlog yearning for our attention. That’s consolation, but certainly doesn’t excuse the dragging-of-ass Arkane is displaying. Weak.

    • cheese lol says:

      The mouse displacement may be transformed into a velocity so that more of the codepaths for mouse and gamepad input respectively can be shared. I’d guess somewhere in there a fixed timestep is assumed, thus introducing a framerate dependency. I know other idTech 5 games do have a fixed 60Hz timestep (like Wolfenstein and Rage), so it could just be an oversight. How it slips past testers, I have no idea. I noticed it as soon as I rounded the first corner in the tutorial and immediately knew what was up.

  13. pistachio says:

    Framerate dependent mouse movement is such a strange mistake to make. Of all the physics, rotation via mouse control should be the easiest since you can just work with the raw position data and don’t have to extract them from velocities, let alone accelerations. Pretty much everything else is tricky, not mouse control.

  14. Stevostin says:

    The mouse move to FPS correlation was certainly not resultinf of a typo IMO. My bet is on a merge incident and a big big QA screwed up.

    That being said it was already playable for me before that patch (970 + 4yo i7). What I did,
    – fixed the .ini mouse accel setting.
    – adaptive rez to 50
    – no V sync
    – TXAA replaced by FXAA
    – pretty much default setting everywhere else.

    … and of course, I am not crazy, didn’t buy one of those silly monitor that goes abvoe 1920*1080 after all articles here made it pretty clear the card to deal with such resolution without FPS or rendering trade off doesn’t exist yet.

    It’s certainly not as great as it’s could be but I am still finding by a long shoot the most beautiful game I played. And it runs ok.