Tuesday, September 29th 2009

Batman: Arkham Asylum Enables AA Only on NVIDIA Hardware on PCs

Anti-Aliasing has been one of the most basic image-quality enhancements available in today's games. PC graphics hardware manufacturers regard it as more of an industry standard, and game developers echo with them, by integrating anti-aliasing (AA) features in the game, as part of its engine. This allows the game to selectively implement AA in parts of the 3D scene, so even as the overall image quality of the scene is improved, so is performance, by making sure that not every object in the scene is given AA. It seems that in one of the most well marketed games of the year, Batman: Arkham Asylum, doesn't like to work with ATI Radeon graphics cards when it comes to its in-game AA implementation.

Developed under NVIDIA's The Way it's Meant to be Played program, and featuring NVIDIA's PhysX technology, the game's launcher disables in-game AA when it detects AMD's ATI Radeon graphics hardware. AMD's Ian McNaughton in his recent blog thread said that they had confirmed this by an experiment where they ran ATI Radeon hardware under changed device IDs. Says McNaughton: "Additionally, the in-game AA option was removed when ATI cards are detected. We were able to confirm this by changing the ids of ATI graphics cards in the Batman demo. By tricking the application, we were able to get in-game AA option where our performance was significantly enhanced." He further adds that the option is not available for the retail game as there is a secure-rom.

With no in-game AA available to ATI Radeon users, although the features do technically work on ATI Radeon hardware, the only way AA can be used is by forcing it in Catalyst Control Center. This causes the driver to use AA on every 3D object in the scene, reducing performance, compared to if the game's in-game AA engine is used. "To fairly benchmark this application, please turn off all AA to assess the performance of the respective graphics cards. Also, we should point out that even at 2560×1600 with 4x AA and 8x AF we are still in the highly playable territory," McNaughton adds. Choose with your wallets.
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353 Comments on Batman: Arkham Asylum Enables AA Only on NVIDIA Hardware on PCs

Chad Boga
As Jumping Jack pointed out to me on another forum, how ironic that despite making their card like like the Batmobile, ATI gets no AA loving from Batman : Arkham Asylum. ;)
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TheMailMan78 said:
You're correct. You didn't say anything about Intel. My mistake. I'm so used to that argument I got ya confused :laugh:

Anyway I don't feel Physx is inferior for its capabilities. I feel its inferior due to the way its executed. (Nividia only hardware). What I do believe is its no better than Havok and even when its GPU accelerated I have yet to see something Havok cannot do and has been proven to do. Does it have more potential in theory? Hell yeah but I haven't seen a damn thing yet to justify a dedicated GPU other than some slick marketing by Nvidia.

As for adoption rates just look at Havok vs Physx SINCE physx was first released. I think you'll be surprised.
That is not an argument at all. I have yet to see anything that DX10 does or even DX10.1 and DX11 does that DX9 doesn't. Just like you, I'm talking about games, because if we were talking about the tech, there are plenty of demos that demostrate the superiority of PhysX and DX10/11.

Are you really going to tell me that this:

PhysX demo on UT3 - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nF7Iq9pzKRk&feature=PlayList&p=55C1A52A917B2DDF&index=7

and this:

RedFaction: Guerrilla - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U93lGcMC4mc

are the same thing?? And remember we are talking about technology.

It's been said already, the most prominent advantage of PhysX is in the power of the GPU and how it works. There's been plenty of games with destructable environments, but they are completely unrealistic. PhysX has the potential to make them realistic. That UT3 demo is still far from maxing out a single SP cluster in current generation of cards, they have around ten. As you can see here and here PhysX can simulate as many as 0.5 million particles and tens of thousands of rigid objects. More than enough to make an entire building made of actual bricks and columns.

Now wait, Havok, Bullet and many others are going to be able to do the same when running on the GPU? Most probably, but they are not here, and they will not be here until late 2010 or even 2011, while PhysX has been offering that potential since 2005. So IMO ANY ENTHUSIAST should be thankful that PhysX exists and should push for it instead of bashing it, because without PhysX we would never have advanced physics. Back in the 90's the GPU offered nothing on top of what a CPU could do for rendering games. Only one company (3DFx*) really pushed for accelerated graphics and they did so with propietary tech in a single game: Quake. Accelerated Quake didn't offer too much, compared to the CPU version but it showed the potential. History tells they were damn right about their vision. And yes their propietary tech had to die and it died, but you can't kill the tech before it takes off. Propietary tech MUST exist ALWAYS when talking about revolutionary new tech, because an open tech with no interested company behind it, will never take off, companies are lazy to push for something that will net no benefit and game developers are even worse, because they are very time/cost constrained.

Finally, PhysX adoption right now is much greater than Havok ever was, you should take a look at how many games use PhysX nowadays and how many are under develpment, you'll be really surprised. Remember: PhysX runs on the CPU too.

*I'm talking about pushing for it, not having hardware. There were other companies with accelerated cards, but none of them really helped moving the tech fordward.
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I just got done playing the demo.. it looks good without AA seeing i'm a ATI user. Nvidia can eat my ***
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