RAGE Performance and Image Quality Evaluation - Day 1
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.
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.
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!!