Bethesda is blaming RAGE's technical issues on drivers, but as seen in a forum post, it may be that many PCs just aren't built to handle id Tech 5's texture streaming.
As reported on Tuesday, id Software's new shooter RAGE -- and its first new IP since the release of Quake back in 1996 -- launched on the PC with mixed reactions, as many gamers immediately faced technical issues that, for some, left the highly-anticipated shooter nearly unplayable. The biggest complaints described intense screen-tearing, poor texture loading and numerous glitches. But as Kotaku demonstrates, not every PC gamer is experiencing problems, and John Carmack even jumped on Twitter telling everyone to update to the latest drivers.
"While many folks are playing RAGE on PC and not running into issues, we’re aware that some of you are experiencing issues with screen tearing and texture issues," Bethesda said Tuesday. "These problems can be attributed to driver issues, and we’re currently working with Nvidia and AMD to resolve them as quickly as possible. We know that you want to experience RAGE at its absolute best, so we’ll continue to use this blog post to keep you posted."
Wednesday the company updated its blog to reflect AMD's updated "Catalyst Rage Performance Driver" for Windows 7. This release supports Radeon HD 6000 and HD 5000 series cards and is supposed to bring "significant performance gains for single GPU configurations." Bethesda's Pete Hines said that the version released prior to October 4 included very old OGL files, and that's why many AMD users were experiencing corruption.
On the Nvidia side, Bethesda says that users should install the GeForce 285.38 driver and should make sure to install the "Nvidia Update" component and leave it enabled. "As long as updates are enabled the driver will automatically be updated when RAGE specific improvements become available," Bethesda said on the forums. Nvidia owners can download the R285 drivers for Windows 7 64-bit here, and Windows 7 32-bit here.
This forum post also reveals how RAGE PC gamers can deal with the issues of screen tearing, blurry textures and texture popping. Here's an interesting bit about the texture streaming:
The texture streaming is limited by the performance and number of cores of the main processor (CPU). The higher the resolution at which the game renders and the higher the anti-aliasing setting, the more texture data is needed to texture the environment. If you do not have a high end CPU you may momentarily see blurrier textures and texture popping when the view changes quickly.
If you have a processor with few cores and you have a high end NVIDIA graphics card then you can try turning on the "GPU Transcode" menu option in the video settings menu in RAGE. By enabling this option a large percentage of the texture calculations are moved to the graphics\ processor (GPU). However, this option is not available on all graphics hardware and may not appear in the menu if your hardware does not support the necessary features.
Wednesday Bethesda said that the RAGE team is currently working on an update that will allow players to more easily make configuration changes (rather than let the game do it for you). More details regarding the update will be released shortly.
Honestly, the RAGE launch is seemingly similar to Quake's own launch back in 1996, only the latter classic title required something new called a math coprocessor (FPU) which many 386 and 486-based DOOM fans still didn't have. Quake eventually required another new tech -- the GPU -- in order to make the game look pretty.