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RAGE Performance and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: id Software

Image Quality Considerations

So we know that the performance of most any PC hardware at this point is going to be 60 FPS which is a bit of a letdown for those of us that invest in some high-end hardware in order to gain some image quality advantages over the console generation.  And in my testing, there was no discernible image difference between the GTX 580 and the GXT 560 Ti and not even the GTX 460 1GB card.  Bah.

It would seem until the console that is accessible through a shortcut modifier gets fully unearthed and decoded, PC gamers might be out in the cold for this one.

That aside, much of RAGE looks spectacular.  And much of RAGE looks pretty bad.  An example:

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Full screen shot - Click to Enlarge

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Gun looks great!

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This area...not so much.

And isn't just an issue of something that is close versus something that is far away having different levels of detail.  It is an obvious choice by the id Software designers to do this, likely for a technical / performance reason.

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Fullscreen shot - Click to Enlarge

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Distance appears good

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Up close...nope.

While from a distance the majority of the game looks good and some areas (and especially the character models) look great even close up, there were some obvious issues at the end of development that caused some bad quality to creep into the game.  Look at the section of pipe in the image above - we saw better graphics throughout the entirety of Doom 3 back in 2004!

And there are some more issues at work including texture loading pop-ups that might be a bit overblown as we'll demo in a short video.

Some Image Quality Improvement Options

I did find that there was some ability to improve image quality via the console which you can access by adding the line "+set com_allowConsole 1" in either your desktop shortcut or in the Steam launch settings.  The setting that seemed to improve things for us while not affecting performance at all were the collection of variables called "vt_pageImageSize".  There were four we increased from the default setting of 4096 to a higher value of 8192.

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Here are a couple of images with before and after applying these settings.

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Before

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After

Now for some closer shots...

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Before

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After

If you look at the detail in the wall you can clearly see that the cracks in it are more noticeable and pronounced while the detail on the orange barrel is also increased.

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Before

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After

The detail on the rocks improves somewhat...

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Before

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After

As does the quality of the text on the sign. 

So while there isn't MUCH you can do to alter image quality, there are at least these settings, and very likely more to be revealed in the near future, that can improve RAGE.

October 5, 2011 | 03:38 PM - Posted by roki977 (not verified)

Only thing that bothers me in this game are tons off very low quality textures. In some cases, in closed rooms it looks just horrible or you need to press button but you almoast cant find it because so low resolution than you can count very big pixels. Dont remember last time a saw so low textures in any better PC game.

btw. very nice evaluation and thank you.

October 5, 2011 | 04:43 PM - Posted by Ryan Shrout

You are right - the variance in texture quality is insane throughout the game.

October 6, 2011 | 04:37 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

You can adjust the texture quality via config files ... the textures are HEAVILY compressed when loaded into memory (to hit the 60 fps mark), so look around ... you can notice a huge difference going from 8k to 16k textures.

October 6, 2011 | 09:29 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

The textures are very poor. Even Unreal Engine 3 looks so much better than this, and that engine came out in 07' when this engine was started.

Pathetic

October 5, 2011 | 06:11 PM - Posted by rahul (not verified)

You mention that it is dependent upon CPU and storage. If you get time, some benchmarks will be appreciated.
Thanks for the evaluation so far. Nice work, as always from PCPer.

October 5, 2011 | 09:07 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

On the keynote video Carmack specifically states that the texture data had to be compressed to get down to 25gigs. That I think is really what makes a lot of the textures bad. you can see it very well in dimly light textures it resembles the distortion you see on low quality video compression. he also says at some point he'd like a less compressed texture pack available. I can't remember what size range he mentions but he says the source art before any compression was over 1 terabyte. Also mentions the gpu can transcode from one compression format to another which could also degrade the texture.

October 6, 2011 | 03:56 AM - Posted by Wu Li (not verified)

Carmack mentioned a possible 75gb super high texture pack. Combined with the 25gb PC game download that's an insane 100gb download. The internet just isn't up to that in the vast majority of places so id obviously had to cut back on the PC textures and think about placating PC gaming enthusiasts later.

Obviously id could have offered a CD texture pack upgrade to PC owners before releasing the game, but that too might have just compounded all the technical problems they've had launching it onto PC. The irony is that PC gaming enthusiasts have been complaining for years that few new games are pushing the technology and Rage offers them a chance to do support one effort, but they have to be willing to put with a few serious growing pains.

October 6, 2011 | 09:23 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

this game is a complete dissapointment, try crysis 2 in dx11 mode. this is more like a slightly advanced doom3 engine, very big waiste of money.

very dissapointed in id

October 6, 2011 | 09:31 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Another thing to notice is the poor AI which is easily
comparable to Doom3.

This game makes me rage on how poorly written it is.

October 6, 2011 | 09:25 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

I won't be purchasing another id game, ever.

October 6, 2011 | 09:30 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Waiste of 60$, I want a refund!

October 6, 2011 | 12:43 PM - Posted by Deviate (not verified)

I love how everyone is a ruthless critic these days. id is aware of it, they've said so, and they're working on a solution. It isn't the first time a game this has happened.

Incase you haven't noticed, id is a *little* different company now as it was before. It's much larger, which is a requirement of developing todays games, but unfortunately it's not the best scenario when it comes to results time. Honestly, I think there are too many hands involved, and they bit off a large amount to chew and eventually deadlines have to be met one way or another. Since Bethesda owns them now I don't believe they buy into their "when its done" philosophy, so at some point the game has to ship. The good news for the PC platform is, there is such a thing as patches. Again, this is not something new.

Relax. Inhale.... Exhale. Repeat.

October 6, 2011 | 12:51 PM - Posted by Deviate (not verified)

BTW, this isn't directed at Ryan's article. But to all the posters crying about how it's such a terrible and horiffic flop.

If it's long awaited, over hyped, over the top flop that you want to complain about, try DNF.

October 7, 2011 | 12:18 AM - Posted by Wu Li (not verified)

PC gamers could give professional wrestlers lessons in trash talk.

Id spent six years developing this game and did not rush it out the door to meet a deadline. AMD screwed up using outdated code in their first Rage performance driver, quickly fixed the problem, and now both AMD and Nvidia are rushing to produce improved drivers. That's business as usual, but with the added complication that Rage uses openGL instead of the more familiar Direct X.

October 7, 2011 | 03:39 PM - Posted by Ivan (not verified)

I agree with PC:
-Rage doesn't gave me the same experience of all others Id's FPS ;
-Rage and, perhaps, Id Tech 5 where optimized for consoles. What means that is a HUGE opportunity in the market waiting for someone that make a PC Game that uses the power of modern PC hardware;
-The last great PC FPS in Id's tradition was Doom3. I hope Doom 4 honor the Id's tradition in PC Game, but sincerely I don't believe.

October 7, 2011 | 09:50 PM - Posted by Dan (not verified)

Honestly, I love the game. Sure there are a few bottle and can labels out of focus, a bit blurry... But honestly, when there's a horde of mad insane bloodthirsty gay mutants after my ass... the least thing I worry about or look at, are the few blurry textures!! Which, I might ad, in real life, you wouldn't notice them either, because the brain simply doesn't work that way.

People need to stop the bitching over piddly crap and just enjoy what is a very well written, fun and fast game.

October 10, 2011 | 02:28 PM - Posted by bezerk (not verified)

Dan

Thank you for intelligent answer !

October 12, 2011 | 08:21 AM - Posted by JSL

I expected more of an ending than what the game provided.
Though, using the pulse cannon on my monarch to destroy a lot of authority vehicles (bandits) gave me all the money and racing certificates I needed from the bartender.

December 14, 2011 | 03:04 PM - Posted by jon (not verified)

i had no probs

i7 2600k @5GHZ water cooled
128gb crucial M4 ssd x2 in raid 0.
2tb spinpoints x2 for storage
16GB gskill ram
dual GTX580s.

textures always looked amazing. game ran flawlessly

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