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RAGE Performance and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1

Author: Ryan Shrout
Manufacturer: id Software

Texture Loading Issues and Closing Thoughts

Been hanging around the forums for RAGE on Steam recently?  If not, you sure are missing a TON of people complaining about the issue of texture pop-up: when you spin around your view, sometimes not even in a very quick manner, textures on object will often appear at a VERY low resolution and then quickly or slowly come into focus.

What is interesting is that in my testing the effect was very minimal and only happened at the very edges of the screen and would have likely been ignored had I not read about the issues before loading the game and looking for them.  Even more interesting is that despite what some forum members are saying, there does appear to be some kind of relation to this issue and your storage speed.  I noticed that when running FRAPS and recording video of the effect, the issue was actually much worse than when playing the game without video recording going on. 

View Full Size

Ick.

I made the below video to demonstrate the difference between recording via FRAPS and recording on an external device/computer that does not affect the performance of the PC running RAGE.

FRAPS, when recording native resolution video, definitely uses a lot of CPU horsepower and a decent amount of hard drive access time as well.  Because the MegaTexture decompression process uses both the CPU and disk drive quite a bit, any additional strain you put on those systems is going to affect performance, as the video above clearly shows. 

So while the issue is definitely a problem, and one that id Software and Bethesda are attempting to address, don't buy too much into most of the online videos about the problem.  Try it for yourself before making too harsh a decision. 

Closing Thoughts

To many of you, RAGE is going to be a disappointment from a technical and visual perspective.  While in many cases the game is impressive to see and is even more impressive when viewed on the consoles, after seeing Crysis 2 and playing the Battlefield 3 beta for the last week, RAGE just doesn't leave me with the glowing feeling about PC gaming that Doom 3 did back in the day.  

It is pretty obvious at this point that while the MegaTexture technology is amazing from a purely scientific angle, it was built for the console generation where memory is at a premium and latency is at a minimum.  While PCs have the exact opposite specifications, lots of memory and higher latency due to software layers, the game engine doesn't take advantage of the performance advantages offered to it.  This video below, recorded at Quakecon 2011, specifically discusses the issue of "breaking" the texture engine:

Carmack is always more candid than his PR teams might like, but it is great to see some honesty in the industry. (If you haven't seen our Carmack interview from Quakecon 2011, you should!!)

There are issues - they may be fixed or they may not.  But you likely don't have to worry about your PC hardware being a bottleneck for the graphics and performance of RAGE and anything in the GTX 400 or Radeon HD 4000 series of graphics cards should be more than capable of 1080p performance at 60 FPS.  

Leave your thoughts and comments on the game, performance and image quality issues in our comments below!!

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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