The Witcher 3 was recently released, and it has quickly courted controversy between those running AMD GPUs instead of NVIDIA cards. The accusation is that the some graphical options can only run properly on NVIDIA graphics cards, which has lead to those running on Radeon GPUs suffer horrible performance issues.
At the heart of the problem is NVIDIA’s Gameworks APIs, which allow developers to quickly create effects for things like hair, shadows, and destruction. In the Witcher 3’s case, it appears to be the HBAO+ and Hairworks APIs that are causing problems with Radeon based graphics cards; users are reporting as much as a 50-percent drop in frame rates with the options turned on.
Witcher 3 developer CD Projekt Red itself admits that there might be a performance drop for AMD GPUs attempting to run Hairworks, and recommends that it be turned off for the best results. This, of course, has not been received well by gamers who have bought Radeon GPUs.
AMD has told Ars Technica that it was working closely with CD Projekt Red during the development of Witcher 3, and everything was going fine until Gameworks arrived with Hairworks. AMD’s chief gaming scientist Richard Huddy even goes as far as to suspect that it was put in just to sabotage the Radeon’s performance. Attempts by AMD to get the developer to include its own TressFX as an alternative failed after it was told that it was “too late”.
This has begun to raise a discussion over the division of video games based on GPUs. The argument is that developers should be creating games that work equally well on both NVIDIA and AMD hardware, but this is not always the case. NVIDIA has been pushing hard for developers to include extra graphical options that run best on its own GPUs.
Interestingly, CD Projekt Red has said that it did not have access to the source code for Gameworks while using it for Witcher 3, preventing them from optimising performance for AMD. While it certainly could have also included AMDs TressFX, that may have put extra strain on the development team and increased both costs and development time.
It is entirely possible that CD Projekt Red will eventually release a patch that improves performance on AMD Radeon GPUs, but it appears that the damage is done. For the most part, it doesn’t look like the division between the two largest GPU makers will cause much more of a problem for gamers; at least not yet.
[Source: Ars Technica]