Nier: Automata mod offers fixes while devs investigate problems

Platinum’s Nier: Automata [official site] is a cracking game, our Adam will tell you, and from the 16 hours I’ve played I’d certainly agree. Sadly, technical problems are dragging it down for some — not all, to be clear — players. Issues include fullscreen mode upscaling wonkily, crashes, and unexpectedly poor performance. The Automata team have now issued a statement saying they’re investigating reports. But in the meantime, players have come up with some good fixes themselves.

Last night’s official statement is pretty vague, saying:

“We are happy so many are enjoying the game. We wanted to let you know that we appreciate all your feedback and are investigating the issues that have been reported.

“Please stay tuned for updates.”

Shall do!

So which problems does Automata’s PC port have? Well! Some folks are reporting crashes or freezes, which are never fun. Fullscreen mode seems to have a bug where it downscales the screen then upscales it, making everything blurry (see the effects in this gallery from Redditor ‘igrat’). Some players are finding the game’s performance slower than they’d expect. For some it stutters too. Those are the most complained-about problems but Redditers have whipped together a bigger list.

And fixes? Well, we’re staying tuned for something official but players have done good work by rummaging in the game’s guts.

The must-have fix is a tool by Andon ‘Kaldaien’ Coleman, whose ‘SpecialK’ kit has also helped fix up games including Final Fantasy X, Tales of Berseria, and Disgaea. His FAR (Fix Automata Resolution) tool fixes that fullscreen scaling problem and, in a version released last night, has an option to help boost performance. See, ‘DrDaxxy’ discovered potential big performance gains in fiddling with the global illumination shader in Automata’s guts. Tweaking the GI can bring big performance boosts — some players report up to 60% — but this can also noticeably change how the game looks. For all-in-one ease, Kaldaien has now added a GI setting to the FAR tool. Igrat nicely explains how to use it all in this Reddit thread (though don’t mind the bits about the test branch – GI settings are now in main too) so go look there.

I don’t see mega-huge boosts from fiddling with GI myself, even at the lowest setting, but have gained a clear 5-10% by knocking it down one notch – and the game looks exactly the same to me at that level. I won’t sniff at a free 10% from a tool I’m using anyway.

On the crashing front, some players report that disabling ambient occlusion, anisotropic filtering, and vsync has helped them. Others, not.

Fingers crossed for something official soon-ish.

How’s Nier been for me? Fine, really. The fullscreen issue aside, it’s looked pretty, run well, not crashed, and been jolly good fun. My biggest setback so far was accidentally selling my OS chip and therefore dying, losing almost an hour of progress. Whoops.

From this site

44 Comments

  1. PiiSmith says:

    Good game, technical mess. I hope Japan comes around, after the seemingly good sales of Nier, to test their stuff on more than their two personal PCs of the developer.

    • golem09 says:

      I always wondered how especially indie devs approach something like this. Can they just put 20 different pc setups in their office and test the game thoroughly on all of them? Is 20 even nearly enough? Or do they simply trust that the engine they’re using is capable enough?

      • PiiSmith says:

        I guess this is solved by early access. ;)

      • typographie says:

        I think in a lot of cases the developers may give code for the game to close friends or family that they know they can trust. I’ve heard that even happens with bigger games sometimes, not just indies.

      • mavrik says:

        Early access has done wonders for indie devs when it comes to that – you can catch most of the issues before the proper release.

        Also indies tend to use someone elses graphics engine (e.g. Unity, Unreal, etc.) and it’s harder to mess things up there.

    • Baines says:

      Is it a technical mess? Every major PC release has some reports of crashing and poor performance. I’ve seen multiple games where players found disabling Steam (or other service) overlays fixed issues. Even faulty controller support happens more often than it should.

      The game rendering fullscreen at the console version’s resolution is a pretty sloppy mistake. (Which is still a step up from other console ports where it can actually be intentional.)

      Of course bigger games also tend to have a string of driver updates supplied by Nvidia and AMD to smooth out some issues. Nier hasn’t. (Reddit speculates that the blame goes to SquareEnix, but that is still speculation.)

      I’m not saying the game isn’t a technical mess. It is just hard to judge how common any of the issues are, particularly in a world where such issues are honestly expected.

      • Premium User Badge

        MajorLag says:

        Yeah it does seem to be the case that these sorts of issues happen absurdly often doesn’t it? What kind of era do we live in where games need specific driver patches on any given video card to work properly? That’s not the world developers wanted when DirectX and OpenGL started out. Maybe Vulkin will help, hard to say for someone like me who’s relationship with the video hardware is abstracted through several extra layers of API.

    • typographie says:

      This is not what I’d call a mess, and I don’t think it matches the usual stereotype of a Japanese PC port. Platinum put in the effort to give Nier the right pieces to be a decent port, it’s just held back by some glitches or obvious oversights that can probably be patched out. The same can be said for innumerable ports from EA, Activision, Ubisoft, or [cough] Warner Brothers.

      • poliovaccine says:

        I think that’s right – and I think ultimately the game is just popular enough right now that even if only 10% of players have problems, that still winds up being a fairly large crowd.

        Mind you, that’s just a number I pulled out of my mule because I was speaking rhetorically. For all I know it’s half of everyone.

    • pentraksil says:

      Although it does have some concerning problems in the technical department, I wouldn’t really call it a mess. At least, not on my part.

  2. Premium User Badge

    Don Reba says:

    If the devs don’t drastically improve the performance, it will be better to wait until the next generation of video cards to get a good experience.

    As it is, the happy people claiming that the game runs “perfectly” always turn out to be playing in 720p or non-AA 1080p on high-end hardware. Or else they are happy with 30 FPS.

    • Snidesworth says:

      No way to be happy with 30FPS here. I’m pretty sure that game speed is tied to frame rate.

      I’m just thankful that my only issue with the fullscreen resolution bug, which was easily fixed by Borderless Gaming.

    • typographie says:

      I can’t debate the high-end hardware part (I do have a GTX 1070) and I won’t say it’s PERFECT, but I’m playing it at 1080p fullscreen with the mod, max graphics settings including 8x AA and it seems to stick to the 60 FPS cap for me. I do see an occasional hitch when running around full-speed in the ruined city area, which I think may be a sign of some asset streaming issues.

      I haven’t seen any crashes yet, but I have seen plenty of weird behavior alt-tabbing out and back in. Often the game behaves as though I have a keyboard key pressed down when I do so. Last night after tabbing back in, Nier decided I had the F12 key held down, and it took 165 screenshots before I figured out how to stop it. Hilarious. >.>

    • zergrush says:

      Everything maxed on a 1070, no performance issues. Using only borderless gaming.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Thulsa Hex says:

    It’s unfortunate that folks have been having issues! I’ve mentioned this in related articles, but I’ve had zero problems so far—except for the resolution scaling bug. The Borderless Gaming app fixes this for me. Nice that there’s more dedicated options now.

    Performance-wise, I’d get ~60fps with a GTX 970 if I turned AA off. This would drop to low-mid 50s in large, open areas with lots of foliage. In a moment of madness last weekend, I bought a GTX 1070 and since then I’ve had a locked 60fps with everything maxed (i7 4790k / 16GB RAM). However, it does seem to be pushing the card 100% in those aforementioned leafy areas. I’m lucky enough to have had a solid experience, but it does seem that it could be better optimised.

    I hope an official patch can help folks out!

  4. Seafoam says:

    Another good deed by the modding community.
    Next up: nudity!

  5. PiiSmith says:

    Now we also need a fix for this wonky keyboard and mouse controls and we are set to play the game.

    • Da5e says:

      I’ve got one – it’s called ‘using a controller. Good Lord, man, it’s a Platinum game!’

      It’s literally the perfect fix, but seems to make a lot of people very cross.

      • Ragnar says:

        Agreed. I am always shocked to see people refuse to spend $30 to improve their user experience. Improving your user interface is one of the best upgrades you can make.

        I bought a wireless 360 controller almost 10 years ago, and it’s just now starting to wear out. It and my keyboard are the only pieces of hardware that haven’t been replaced once or twice in that time.

        • Premium User Badge

          Don Reba says:

          Paying $60 + $30 for the game is a bit steep. Personally, I’d consider it, if controls were the only problem, but it’s far from it.

          • lordcooper says:

            Right, because you need to buy a new pad for every game.

          • Premium User Badge

            Don Reba says:

            I’ve had no need for a gamepad yet, so it would be just for this one game.

        • Chorltonwheelie says:

          I’ve got the thirty quid mate. What I don’t have is any skill or patience with the twiddly thumbstick controllers. I just can’t use the horrible little things. I’m aware this means there are some cracking games I can’t enjoy but those controllers are just awful.

          • Premium User Badge

            DelrueOfDetroit says:

            No, you are just awful at using controllers.

          • Premium User Badge

            MajorLag says:

            I agree. The twin-stick control scheme on these controllers is just strange and awful and imprecise. And I’m already imprecise enough with a mouse thank you.

        • poliovaccine says:

          Eh, for me it isn’t the thirty bucks, def not when a new, premium title costs twice that. I can’t speak for anyone else, but for me it’s just that I grew up playing games on a PC, and I guess I used controllers on friends’ consoles at their houses, and I guess I even got pretty good at Halo for awhile because of that, but ultimately I just never really have used controllers before, not at home, not near as much, and I’m not anywhere near as comfy with em. For me, GTAV is almost unplayable with a controller. I just suck at it dude. I played Dark Souls and Dark Souls 2 on mouse and PC. That should tell you something about where my comfort zones lie.

          Like I say, can’t speak for anyone else, but in my case I’m a born and bred PC gamer, and I don’t have controllers in my muscle memory… except for Halo CTF, I’ll fuck you up at Halo CTF.

      • Gunsmith says:

        speak for yourself but I’ve already S-ranked everything on Rising with a KB/M and am happily smashing trough NieR a 6th time.

        as for the tech issues with NieR, yes some of it is down to the lack of experience the Japanese have with the PC as a platform but the rest is mainly due to the stagnation caused by the industry shift in 2007, people seem to think that tech from 4 years ago can run modern games at full bells/whistles and are quick to blame “optimisation” when they should be looking at researching how to properly build a PC instead of tossing parts in a box and expecting it to “just work” like a console.

    • Ragnar says:

      You can fix that yourself with a $30 piece of hardware that will also fix similar issues in countless other games. Best hardware upgrade I’ve made in the last decade.

      • Baines says:

        Nah, that $30 could be spent on more color-changing LED strips that I’m going to stick on my $700 graphics card, which is visible through the translucent side panel of my $600 PC case.

    • Hoot says:

      I’ve been a die hard member of the PC Gaming Master Race since I was 8. That’s near enough 20 years. In this day and age a XBox 360 / XBox One Controller is an essential accompaniment for a gaming PC. Mouse and Keyboard is king in many genres (e.g. FPS and TBS/RTS) but if I didn’t put that £20 down for an XBox pad all those years ago I’d have had a shitty experience with titles like Super Meat Boy, Rayman Legends, Tomb Raider, Darksiders…and certain titles I couldn’t have even played such as Street Fighter 4/5 and Mortal Kombat X.

      The point is some games will always be better on M+KB and some will always be better on gamepad. For the price, there isn’t really a reason to not have both.

      • jonahcutter says:

        The “it’s designed for a controller” argument was made about Dark Souls too. Until the devs actually put effort into building in proper m/kb support in the sequels. Hell, I played Dark Souls with DSMfix perfectly fine, including competing with invaders.

        Nier would play fine on m/kb with:

        Rebindable mouse buttons (not currently possible)
        A dodge button/function (currently you have to tap the wasd direction twice to dodge in that direction)
        A rebindable sprint button/function

        And I’m not currently able to test it, but if directional movement includes all 8 basic directions when holding down one or two of the proper wasd keys, it will play basically fine during the bullet hell sequences. If it only lets you move in the four cardinal directions, than it is lacking.

        This is basic PC functionality. It’s not remotely hard to build into any game. Any game released on PC today without it is lacking basic PC functionality.

        Sure you can play it on a controller while on PC. But one benefit of playing games on PC is not having to use a controller if you don’t enjoy them. And with a proper bit of effort from the devs/publisher you can enjoy your PC version with the control input devices you prefer. Effort that is still entirely possible for them to put forth, and implement these simple changes.

        In short, Nier lacks some basic PC functionality. Which its devs/publisher should provide to their PC customers.

        • poliovaccine says:

          I kind of completely agree with that. I also think, if they can do it in a patch, they could have done it at release. As a general principle. I suppose that’s the entitled-ass Western consumer in me. Kind of oh well.

      • Premium User Badge

        MajorLag says:

        To be fair, you don’t need a modern twin-stick controller for some of the mentioned games. A simple SNES-style gamepad will work just dandy.

        My personal objection to controllers is over the twin analog stick control scheme. It’s just so damned awkward.

  6. lordcooper says:

    I’d love to play this, but SE ‘support’ wants to play the ‘let’s repeatedly ask him to try something he told us he’s already tried’ game instead.

  7. Servicemaster says:

    Got an i5 and gtx960 and it runs perfect except it locked into 30fps in fullscreen mode. I downloaded Borderless Gaming (was gonna buy it on Steam but dropping $60 for a game changed that lol) and it runs near-perfect. A few stutters in cinematic mode and a good chunk of foliage pop-ins but it’s fine.

    I fucking love this game.

    • Gunsmith says:

      theres an issue with running both FSAA (which is MLAA apparently) ambient occlusion, AO uses a ford of AA and the two don’t play nice together, disable FSAA in game, keep AO on and force AA in your drivers.

      that’ll sort your draw distance issues.

  8. RaunakS says:

    Wait. That last point, what do you mean you can sell your OS chip and die? Is that a bug? Why would something that can cause a game over be even sellable?

    • Alex Wiltshire says:

      Oh no, that’s definitely not a bug. It’s a feature, and part of why Nier Automata’s so special.

    • Premium User Badge

      DelrueOfDetroit says:

      In fiction the menu is your android’s internal user interface. You can disable UI elements by unplugging different chips. There is a part early on in the game where you do a diagnostics check and you do this through the volume and brightness menus.

  9. AndyR says:

    I’ve found that disabling vsync, AA and AF in-game and forcing them thorough the Nvidia control panel makes a world of difference. You’ll still need to run the full screen fix (or use an app to force borderless window mode) and plug in a controller, but it’s now running at a solid 60fps at 2560×1440.

  10. Monggerel says:

    I want to buy the *shit* out of this (Platinum? Yoko Taro? Money? In one unholy chthonic monsterkill package? pls kill me so i can die happy), but worried my old ass lappytappy can’t handle it.
    DX 11 is the bane of my existence. I know it’s time to fork some pork over for a new MasterRacer™ but I just don’t have the heart to do that.
    Even Overwatch, a game literally less pleasant to look at than the venerable Team Fortress 2 only works on low settings. I don’t even know where they put all that unused processing power, but they sure as shit ain’t being considerate of us plebs (then again, who would be; not like we’re gonna pay them much)

  11. poliovaccine says:

    I do not believe you truly sold your OS by accident. I was once a little kid, who once flushed underwear down the toilet til it overflowed. Only once, I stress to you, I wasn’t habitually such a jackass, but the point is the impulse to do stupid shit you know will bite you in your end is utterly human and I don’t really believe that was an accident. I mean Freud says there are no accidents but that’s not even the level I mean, I mean I bet you straight up *did* that shit.

    • Alice O'Connor says:

      While clearing out my inventory selling chips, I unthinkingly saw the [2] next to my OS chip as quantity rather than the number of slots it took. I figured I must have picked up a spare somewhere, one I had no use for. Well!

  12. haffien says:

    when release to Asia?