ATI Catalyst 3.0 DX9 Drivers available

Get em while they are hot:

http://www.ati.com/products/pc/catalyst/dx9demos.html

– Xaroc

So far, they seem to benchmark a couple percent slower than the 2.5s did - as in one or two frames per second (or 8 FPS in the case of Quake 3, where I’m getting 312 FPS at 10x7 with all the settings maxed). Nothing worth making a deal out of.

It didn’t fix any of the driver bugs I’ve noticed of late - Splinter Cell demo has serious issues with projected textues/lights, a couple of effects degrade over time in Asheron’s Call 2 with pixel shaders enabled, the “game gamma” adjustment in the control panel doesn’t actually do anything… but many of the users posting to ATI fansite forums about problems they’ve had in other games, like stuttering and Madden messing up when there’s weather, they say those are fixed.

I’ve got some more games I need to test out. They certainly don’t seem any worse than the 2.5 drivers, anyway.

Jason’s post reminds me-- I don’t miss my 9700 card at all. What an ongoing PITA that card was. Jesus.

Ugh. Let me pull my GF4 Ti4600 out of my PC and give it a big hug.

"(or 8 FPS in the case of Quake 3, where I’m getting 312 FPS at 10x7 with all the settings maxed). Nothing worth making a deal out of. "

312fps…I can remember when the Voodoo 1 was the king of cards because it could maintain 30fps in Quake 1 at 640x480.

Actually, the Voodoo1 couldn’t quite maintain a solid 30fps at 640x480-- you had to drop down to 512x384 for that.

Actually, I’ve now found out that Splinter Cell is functioning exactly as intended. Basically, GeForce 3 and 4 cards have a “shadow buffer” feature that’s a little something extra NVIDIA threw in there, not exactly DX8 standard. The Xbox version uses this for lots of the shadows and lighting effects, and so when the PC game detects you have a GF3 or GF4 Ti, they use that as well.

For every other card they have a new method of doing all the shadows and stuff, some sort of projected texture trick or whatever. And don’t get me wrong, it looks great. But apparently the performance penalty on a few effects was too high, so you don’t see the shadows of the fluttering moths around lights, you don’t get self-shadowing, and shadows don’t cast on soft surfaces (curtains and stuff). You still get full dynamic shadows of characters and objects on the floors and walls and stuff.

Personally, I think this is a cop-out on Ubisoft’s part, and they should really work to find a way for other cards, at least high-end ones, to get the absolute same lighting/shadowing effects as the Xbox. But at least it’s not ATI’s fault, and it looks like that on any non-GF3/4Ti card.

And for what it’s worth, the framerate at 1024x768 with everything cranked up is still kinda choppy on a GeForce4 Ti 4600, and smooth as silk on a Radeon 9700.

I’m not sure AC2 is ATI’s fault, either. Quite a few GeForce owners have reported odd problems and stability issues with pixel shaders enabled in that game, and it has a few other problems related to the engine (sound settings and whatnot). I hear Turbine has been maintaining a DX9 build concurrently with the DX8 build, hopefully they’ll release that to the public soon.

They’ve got no excuse for their bad monitor/color calibration features.

Personally, I think this is a cop-out on Ubisoft’s part, and they should really work to find a way for other cards, at least high-end ones, to get the absolute same lighting/shadowing effects as the Xbox. But at least it’s not ATI’s fault, and it looks like that on any non-GF3/4Ti card.

Since the game is so video card intensive-- far more than, say, Warcraft III-- I don’t know why they’re bothering to release it on the PC. The audience is severely limited by the high end hardware requirements, and the resulting sales may not even justify the intensive QA effort they need to get all their fancy effects working. Frankly, it sounds like a tech support nightmare to me. And this isn’t Doom3, which can write its own ticket on name recognition alone.

Splinter Cell won’t really benefit from the PC platform anyway, in my opinion. The biggest reason to port is usually the mouse/keyboard control scheme… however, with all the emphasis on stealth, you’re not in massive firefights; as previously mentioned, the lack of analog movement isn’t exactly great for this game either. The other big reason is internet multiplayer, which is irrelevant for SC.

I can’t wait to see PC versions of GTA3: Vice, or Halo, but I’m not sure a PC version of Splinter Cell is all that necessary. Or even wise!

You can’t stand to not have the highest-end video card anyway so why do you care if Splinter Cell will require a high-end card?

But feel free to whine on.

This is a stealth game. It revolves around light and shadow. If the devs had to use crappy looking workarounds (no self shadowing? no shadows on curtains?) to get the lighting effects working on any card other than the GeForce series, that’s a fairly nasty hack-- and it directly impacts the gameplay.

Not to hijack this thread, but is the Xbox gameplay as bizarre as the PC demo? I played through the demo a few times on hard, and although it’s slick as hell, I was pretty disappointed with the so-called “stealth” aspects of it – there were a few cases, like opening a door right behind a guard onto a room that was completely lit up, or knocking out a guard sitting right next to another one, that triggered NO response from anyone, whereas actually turning off the light after entering the room (in the first example), closing the door and then reopening it DID trigger a response. Totally counterintuitive, and disappointing considering the hype I had heard about it. I can deal with a linear game, but if you’re going for realism, they should at least be taking care of the simple things.

But you already got rid of your non-GeForce card. Again, if you want to keep whining based on things that don’t even apply to you, go right ahead…

Ugh. Let me pull my GF4 Ti4600 out of my PC and give it a big hug.[/quote]

LMAO!! I’m with yer man. I think I’ll open up my PC and give the components a good blow job. er, I mean with a can of compressed air?

You’d be hard pressed. Not without a dedicated shadow buffer.

Ha ha ha. The joke will be on Derek when he discovers that two weeks ago I cut off my penis, snuck into his home, and hid the severed penis in his PC case.

If anyone wants to see how the drivers perform, Brandon (the lunatic) busted his ass all weekend to get this article out.

It covers all the Radeons, from 8500 up.

They fixed the shadows problem but now… the game hangs randomly!!

$%&"·#@!!! shit!! stupid ati driver developers!!