Batman: Arkham City DX11 Stuttering Issue

Subject: General Tech, Graphics Cards | November 23, 2011 - 12:50 PM |
Tagged: dx11, batman

We have been waiting for Batman: Arkham City for quite some time on the PC, and after weeks of delays, the game was finally released this week, to quite a bit of fanfare.  NVIDIA has been touting the game as the poster child for several technology features like DX11, 3D Vision, PhysX, etc.  It appears that the developers have had some issues though with the release - DX11 features are causing significant stuttering even with high end hardware.

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Batman doesn't like it when his games are late...and broken.

I put together a quick video comparing the gameplay experience with and without DX11 enabled; you can see it below.  The system specifications for our test bed for this video were:

  • Intel Core i7-965
  • Intel X58 motherboard
  • 6GB DDR3-1600 memory
  • GeForce GTX 580 1.5GB graphics card
  • Driver version: 285.79
  • Windows 7 SP1 x64

The DX11 settings that are causing the issues are tessellation, ambient occlusion and a new type of soft shadow rendering.  When these features are enabled the game experiences noticeable, repeatable and quite annoying stutters both in the actual gameplay and during the integrated benchmark. 

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In our video below you can clearly the see the phenomenon in action. 

On the official Batman: Arkham City forums, the publisher gave the following statement, confirming the broken DX11 implementation.

PC DirectX 11 Issues Please Read
We have received reports of performance issues from players of Batman: Arkham City on PC. After researching the matter, we found that running the game with DX 11 is causing the performance issues. We’re working on a title update to address this matter and expect to make it available in the near future.

In the meantime, a workaround for this issue is to run the game with DX 9 instead of DX 11. Instructions on how to turn off DX 11 are listed below.

We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience with your gameplay experience and thank you all for your patience as we work to resolve this issue.

While we love to see new technologies implemented in games that improve our gameplay experience, we HATE it when it delays games or causes issues like this when released.  Here is hoping that the developer, publisher and driver teams from AMD and NVIDIA can fix this quickly.

Arkham City PC System Requirements Revealed

Subject: General Tech | October 21, 2011 - 09:10 AM |
Tagged: batman

Over at GeForce.com you will find the system requirements you will need to rescue Gotham from its current status of Arkham City.  They are fairly modest to be able to play the game at a reasonable resolution, if you are willing to skip out on PhysX, 3D Vision and extreme tesellation.

In concert with a 2.4GHz Dual-Core CPU and 2GB of RAM, a GeForce 8800 GT will give you a high level of visual fidelity, but none of the extras. A GeForce GTX 460, however, in conjunction with a 2.5GHz Dual-Core CPU and 4GB of RAM, will allow you to use the game's Recommended 'High' settings and PhysX, as shown in our recent Batman: Arkham City PC Trailer.

Based on preliminary testing we’ve determined that a GeForce GTX 460 or GeForce GTX 560 will allow you to play Arkham City comfortably at 1920x1080 with PhysX enabled, as shown in the aforementioned video; a GeForce GTX 570 allows you to enable additional DirectX 11 effects, as shown in our screenshot; and a GeForce GTX 580 allows you view all of the eye-candy in stereoscopic 3D Vision for the ultimate Batman: Arkham City experience.

screenshot-16.jpg

Minimum System Requirements

    Operating System: Microsoft Windows XP, Vista or 7
    CPU: Dual-Core CPU 2.4 Ghz
    RAM: 2GB
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA 8800 or ATI 3800 with 512MB of VRAM
    Sound: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible sound card (100% DirectX 9.0c-compatible)
    DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
    Hard Drive: 17.5GB free disk space
    Input Devices: 100% Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible mouse and keyboard

Recommended System Requirements

    Operating System: Microsoft Windows 7
    CPU: Dual-Core CPU 2.5 GHz
    RAM: 4GB
    Graphics Card: NVIDIA GeForce GTX 460 or ATI Radeon HD 6850 with 768MB+ of VRAM (DirectX 11 compatible)
    Sound: Microsoft Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible sound card (100% DirectX 9.0c-compatible)
    DVD-ROM: Quad-speed (4x) DVD-ROM drive
    Hard Drive: 17.5 GB free disk space
    Input Devices: 100% Windows XP/Vista or 7 compatible mouse and keyboard or Xbox 360 Controller for Windows

Source: NVIDIA

PhysX In Batman: Arkham City - A First Look

Subject: General Tech | October 19, 2011 - 08:55 AM |
Tagged: gaming, batman, arkham city, PhysX

"NVIDIA’s GeForce.com has posted the first footage from the PC version of Batman: Arkham City. Included are general shots of the game running on a GTX 560 and several side-by-side scenes showing the Hardware Accelerated PhysX effects enabled and disabled."

 

Keep an eye on the floor as that is where most of the paper fluttering and dust stomping action happens. You can also get a play by play of the action at GeForce.com, which points out what the CUDA cores are doing during the gameplay footage.  You'll have to wait until November 15th to try it for yourself.

Source: NVIDIA

PC Gaming to Surpass Console Gaming in Revenue by 2015

Subject: Editorial, General Tech, Graphics Cards | September 22, 2011 - 11:26 AM |
Tagged: skyrim, rage, pc gaming, diablo iii, consoles, battlefield 3, batman

During a conference call with NVIDIA this week some interesting information from DFC Intelligence, "a strategic market research and consulting firm focused on interactive entertainment and the emerging video game, online game, interactive entertainment and portable game markets" according to their webiste, was revealed that paints the world of PC gaming in a much more positive light than previously expected.  By anyone's account, the coming fall and winter release schedules are going to be packed with fantastic releases:

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Courtesy NVIDIA

Several of these games, including DOTA 2, Diablo III and The Old Republic are going to be PC-only titles with others (like Battlefield 3, RAGE and Skyrim) that will without question look better and play better on the PC.  This sets up a great time for hardware companies like NVIDIA and AMD to sell system upgrades in order to maximize user experience in these titles.  

And while most gaming pundits have been telling us for years that PC gaming is dying, the report from DFC tells a different story:

games2.png

Courtesy NVIDIA

Based on revenue alone, estimates show PC gaming to surpass the sales of console games by 2014 with steady growth.  How can this be?  Have you stopped by your local Gamestop or Best Buy and seen the shelf space devoted to PC games compared to that devoted to the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii?

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Courtesy NVIDIA

Here is the key and it is something we have always suspected but haven't really been able to nail down: packaged sales are dying while digital distribution methods and new monetary game mechanics are increasing.  Because the industry's most prolific digital sales platform is notoriously tight with sales numbers (Valve's Steam), we have to depend on third party reports from DFC and others.  According to this chart, the digital sales of gaming on the PC are skyrocketing and will take PC revenues past consoles in just a few years time.  

One note here: this does NOT just include downloaded games in the traditional sense.  Instead, new pay models like the monthly subscriptions of World of Warcraft and "free to play" models that charge for upgrades and additional features are really going to be pushing the industry forward.  Looking at titles like League of Legends that claims 15 million PC gamers worldwide and others like World of Tanks and World of Planes, this trend is growing and though it differs from the "traditional" PC gaming mentality, it appears to be dominating our future.

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Courtesy NVIDIA

Many a PC gamer has lamented about the "console port" generation of games and this graph demonstrates how the power of the PC and the power of the current generation of consoles have diverged over the years.  By NVIDIA's estimates we are now about 8-9x the performance level of the Xbox 360 when compared to the GTX 580 that currently sells for about $450.  But if you look at the quality difference between something like Deus Ex: Human Revolution on the PC and the consoles, you do NOT see anything close to that kind of improvement.  Game developers have always had their hands tied by having to develop for the lowest common platform and while the PC market (when dominant) meant an upgrade cycle of 2-3 years we are now hitting a 6th year of static console gaming power.

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Unreal Engine

If we want to see games that look like THIS, a screenshot from the Unreal Engine Samaritan demo, then we need to boost the baseline and soon. 

But the numbers that DFC Intelligence provided give hope to those die-hards in the enthusiast and PC gaming community that with the expanding reach and positive growth of the PC market as a whole, developers will see this as their chance to move the medium forward beyond the status quo. 

Source: PCPer