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id Software Releases RAGE Patch, Carmack Curses

After a rocky start, id Software's new shooter Rage has reportedly become a bit more stable thanks to the release of optimized drivers from both AMD and Nvidia. As reported earlier, both Bethesda and id Software indicated that the problems users experienced stemmed from outdated or incorrect drivers. Rage creative director Tim Willits even said that the studio was very upset over the 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," Willits told Kotaku. "We've had assurances that these problems are being addressed and new drivers will be available soon."

John Carmack's reaction to the initial launch on PC was a bit more seasoned. "The driver issues at launch have been a real cluster !@#$," added Carmack. "We were quite happy with the performance improvements that we had made on AMD hardware in the months before launch; 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."

"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," Carmack continued. "When launch day came around and the wrong driver got released, half of our PC customers got a product that basically didn't work. The fact that the working driver has incompatibilities with other titles doesn't help either. Issues with older / lower end /exotic setups are to be expected on a PC release, but we were not happy with the experience on what should be prime platforms."

On Saturday the studio launched its first patch for Rage less than a week after the game's launch which adds an option to change VSync, increase the texture cache, and to enhance the image quality of textures on surfaces that are at oblique viewing angles via the new Anisotrophic Filter option.

"RAGE defaults to lower video settings to allow the game to work on a wide variety of hardware and software configurations," the team wrote on Bethesda's forum. "Unfortunately, it is not possible to anticipate all possible graphics driver issues in combination with unique end user hardware and software configurations. For this reason RAGE does not automatically increase video/graphics settings as this could result in negative side effects on specific hardware and software configurations. The original release of RAGE does not expose many video/graphics options for people to tweak because some of these settings, although desirable from a quality perspective, simply will not work on specific configurations either due to hardware limitations and/or driver bugs."

A list of changes and fixes are as follows:

  • Implemented workaround for AMD driver crash right after intro cinematic on Win 7 32-bit systems.
  • Disabled UBOs because they are causing animation issues with AMD drivers.
  • Don't allow swap-tear to be enabled on AMD while the extension is not exposed because it may crash.
  • Support for new video settings: "texture cache", "vsync" and "anisotropic filter"
  • Automatically adjust vt_maxPPF based on the number of available cores.
  • Improved performance for SLI cards when GPU transcode is enabled.
  • Fix for GPU Transcoding option being disabled after exiting gameplay.
  • Added safe mode to restore video settings to default values.
  • Allow g_fov to be changed from the RAGE launch options in Steam.
  • Server now forwards text chat from clients to all other clients while in-game.

The patch was distributed via Steam on Saturday night. So far there's no sign of a standalone installer.