Drivers And Applications, Continued
Here, if the user opts to control the filtering by an application, then the driver also switches off the optimizations. Thus, users can decide whether they want to use the optimized method with better performance via the settings in the driver menu or by choosing the maximum possible and unoptimized quality through the application. However, doing this is not obvious in the ATI driver menu as we explain below.
Here, ATI gives the user the choice to control all quality settings through the application. Then the user gets the maximum and unoptimized filtering quality in Unreal Tournament. But this way isn't ideal, since the user only gets maximum quality if the software has an option with which to set the filtering. You have no choice if it doesn't.
It would be desirable for NVIDIA, as well as ATI, to offer a general quality option that would let the user unoptimized graphics quality. In this regard, both manufacturers might be afraid that this would lead to a disadvantage because some publications might get the idea of conducting tests with this setting only or to test cards with different settings (this already happened with the first NVIDIA driver versions, which had such an option).
Both manufacturers also don't quite trust one another to take this step in good faith. If manufacturer A offers real filtering, but manufacturer B implements a few unnoticeable optimizations, then manufacturer B gets a significant advantage. It's understandable that in this highly competitive market none of the manufacturers dares to integrate such an option into the driver.
When asked about the optimized filtering in Unreal Tournament 2003, NVIDIA stated that they've talked to the game manufacturer Epic before they implemented it into publicly-available drivers. The company made no objections provided that the differences between the real filtering and the optimized filtering mode were not discernible.
NVIDIA's optimized filtering in UT2003 has sometimes been designated as "bilinear anisotropic filtering," but this is not accurate. The quality comparisons in Quake 3 later in the article show what bilinear filtering looks like.