22 Replies Latest reply on Jun 11, 2009 10:01 AM by avk

    AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers

    avk
      There are many gamers all over the world who have not so modern PCs (both desktops and notebooks) as they would like to. Those PCs are often built on AMD Socket 462 CPUs, which are not capable of SSE2, and/or on graphics cards like Radeon 9500-X850 and GeForce FX, which are not capable of SM3.

      You see, there are several PC games has been released, which are required SSE2: Assassin's Creed, Lost Planet, GRID, Dead Space and so on. I think that PC with Athlon XP 3200+ 2.2GHz + AGP Radeon HD 3850 would run these PC games with more-less comfort, but they are just not run without SSE2! So I suggest AMD to persuade the developers/publishers of these games to release so named non-SSE2 game patches. I'm very doubtful about the real necessarity of SSE2-code in these games, and I hope game developers will compile SSE1-binaries of their games if AMD will ask them . Then these SSE1-binaries can be uploaded on AMD Game site.

      Now, about non-SM3 graphics cards. I do really understand that it will be very difficult to adapt an paricular SM3-game to SM2/2.0b, but there are several attempts exist: Bioshock, SM2-HDR for Oblivion and so on.

      What about an old good games ? Do you know about ENB series? This guy do experiments with old PC games making them look much more modern by adding bump-mapping, HDR and lots of other eye-candy video effects.
      Another guy constantly improves the graphics renderers for Unreal Engine 1 based games: Unreal Tournament 1, Deus Ex 1, Rune.

      I think that if AMD will reward some of these enthusiasts, they will do their job more fast and quality. What about giving them a modern graphics cards (of course, Radeon HD 48xx ) or even PC (of course, based on Phenom II)? I think that this gesture will help AMD to gain the gamers' confidence.
        • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
          Firestrider

          Really? I think just the opposite of you.

          Technology should keep evolving and requiring better hardware for assisting games. The Streaming SIMD Extentions were meant to aid developers and speed up common algorithms.

          Please don't insist of going back to archaic x87 instructions. Besides you can get a dual-core Athlon 64 X2 and Radeon HD cards that support SSE3 and SM4.1 really cheap now.

          • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
            avk
            You are right! Almost . But let me ask you question: did you analyze the PC games' binaries? I did and I must to say that in most cases the SSE2 is used just in scalar mode! Do you understand what this does mean? I think that in most cases so named "SSE2-code path" is just a checked box inside their MS Visual Studio's projects, rather then real optimization, alas. And because there is no speed difference between scalar SSE2 and x87, why not to build non-SSE2 binaries? BTW, if you would begin to argue me that SSE2 is critically important to should say: CryEngine 2 (Crysis, Crysis: Warhead), Unreal Engine 3 (Unreal Tournament 3, Gears of War, Bioshock and lots of other titles based on) are works without SSE2 at all! I don't want to say that SSE2-3-4 are useless extensions, instead, they are really useful. I just want to say to game developers: please, remember to build a non-SSEx binaries, because the different PC users may have the different CPUs. The paragons I can name are the idTech4-based games (Doom 3, Quake 4, Prey, Enemy Territory: Quake Wars) and Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay, because they dynamically recognize the CPU features and use an appropriate code path.

            About prices. Yes, a contemporary PC hardware prices are extremely low and almost every PC user is able to buy a multi-core CPU and a graphics card with SM4.x, but please do not forget about those who have bought notebooks and netbooks. Do you know what kind of graphics cards are integrated in them? In most cases it's lame Intel integrated video with a buggy drivers and only SM2 support. Are they able to upgrade their PCs? AFAIK, mostly no. What about these PC gamers?
              • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                Firestrider

                Ok ya I see what you are saying... games shouldn't REQUIRE SSEx even if they do use it to optimize some of their code. I agree people on older hardware should still be able to play the game since SSEx instructions are just broken into x87 FPU micro-ops anyway right? I haven't looked at game binaries because really I don't know how to... hell I don't even know what most of the SSEx instructions really do. If indeed developers aren't making the most out of the new instructions but still requiring a certain set that is lame. Really AMD has a reason for developers to require certain instructions sets though: to get more money out of the consumers on buying their newer products. I don't see AMD rewarding developers going back to older methods.

                I've seen a lot of people saying that the Intel's SSSE3/SSE4.1 instructions really help in multimedia and games... is this true?

                 

              • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                avk
                I think that so named the "newer" methods are often just the same as "older" ones. There is no programmer's honor to build only SSE2-binary by checking on appropriate checkbox in the Visual Studio just because it is in tune with the times. A professional PC game programmers do know that a people has a different hardware. Look at Valve's games: every of them runs decently on even old hardware and they do sell their PC games by many-many millions. BTW, a several other games runs perfectly even without any of SSEx: FEAR 1, Condemned 1, Clive Barker's Jericho. How do you think: why? I think this is because their programmers are professionals. So I do think that, if AMD would ask a several game developers to build non-SSE2 binaries, it is not a "going back to older methods". It's a caring for the budget PC gamers.

                About SSSE3&SSE4.1: Like Shakespeare's Hamlet I can say "Words, words, words" . Although these extensions are useful for several applications, they are not a performance revolution. Yes, Intel & DivX has release the DivX codec 6.8, which is able to use SSE4.1, but the real performance boost was not as big as they suggest us. BTW, I could not found any PC game's binary that uses SSSE3 and/or SSE4.1.

                Please understand me: The SSEx extensions are very good thing, but PC game developers should not forget about those PC gamers who have an older, but more-less powerful hardware.
                • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                  avk
                  Well, there are several disassemblers can be used for such a look: IDA Pro, Hiew, Biew and so on. Some of them are shareware, others are freeware. Of course, you'll need to have a basic knowledge of x86 instructions, especially SIMD ones (MMX, 3DNow!, SSEx). Then you'll need to download the cracked versions of PC games' binaries (for example, from www.gamecopyworld.com), because often they are encoded by some DRM tools (like StarForce, SecuROM and so on). After that you can easily start to analyze the binaries by using disassembler. That's it .

                  Hey AMD! What do you think about this? If I was you, I would reward those guys, because, by spending (more correctly - sponsoring) just a few thousands of dollars, I could gain the PC gamers' confidence. Is it bad to be a sponsor even in this hard times? Is it bad to write about this gesture on AMD Game site? Just imagine:

                  "We have just awarded John Smith for his excellent work. This guy, as well as we, loves all the games, but especially - old ones. He thinks that old games are like old wine: the older - the better. He makes old games looks better and run faster, and we do applause to him. Do you know why? Because we at AMD love all the games, both new and old ones, and because we do like to care for you, PC gamers. Enjoy!"

                  Of course, this John Smith should integrate the "Sponsored by AMD. Because we do love all the games!" somewhere in his game mod.
                  • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                    avk
                    Well, there is no answer from the AMD behalf yet...
                    • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                      avk
                      I have an idea for the Catalyst Crew: I think that is very important to know what applications (games, graphics and video editors and so on) use video driver. What for? To optimize video driver for these applications, of course. So I suggest for Catalyst Crew to integrate into the Catalyst Driver a some kind of application spy, who would gather an information about all the graphics application (its name, time and frequency of running) and send it (once a month, by user's confirm) to the statistics storage somewhere in the ATI/AMD web site. This kind of information, I hope, will help the Catalyst Crew to understand which applications are most popular and, therefore, optimize them in first case.
                      • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                        avk
                        Thank you, pnolte, for the answer and the advice. I'll try.
                        • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                          jim12065

                          Consider hardware upgrades as part of the cost of gaming.  Sometimes you have to pay for advancements, but your enjoyment level will be much greater.

                          • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                            avk
                            jim12065:Yes, you are right about a periodical hardware upgrade, but my point is different: it is unfair when someone with Celeron 1.7 MHz can run some modern PC games like Assasin's Creed or Dead Space (because his CPU does support SSE2), but someone with Athlon XP 3200+ cannot (because his CPU does not support SSE2), although Athlon XP 3200+ as twice as faster.
                            • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                              avk
                              sashen: I do understand you, but I think you don't understand me. It's not a matter of old OS support, it's just a matter of "check or uncheck the 'SSE2' checkbox in the Visual Studio". I think that there are no PC games absolutely needed SSE2. This extension is very useful, but there are several state-of-art game engines that can work without SSE2: CryEngine 2 (Crysis, Crysis: Warhead), Unreal Engine 3 (Unreal Tournament 3, Gears of War PC, BioShock, Turok and so on). So what's deal?
                              • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                                mehaul

                                To be a gamer you need to keep upgrading. Older systems are not going to play the newer games. That is just the nature of the beast,

                                  • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                                    avk
                                    Originally posted by: mehaul

                                    To be a gamer you need to keep upgrading.



                                    Agreed. But when it is really needed.


                                    Originally posted by: mehaul

                                    Older systems are not going to play the newer games.



                                    Why? Just because some lazy programmer forget to uncheck "SSE2" checkbox in his Visual Studio's project? I repeat my sentence again: in fact, there are no PC (and console too!) games exist that absolutely need 64-bit floats, so there is no need to absolutely require SSE2. If game engine really need this, then dynamically choose an appropriate code path. True professional game programmers do understand this.
                                      • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                                        OldBoy2k

                                        LOL i love this thread .Ohh come on folks,i am running my be'loved mobile AMD XP M 2600 with a Zalman 9500 and can oc up to 2,73GHz and can play the latest games without painful quality loss or FPS problems.Gimme a break,actually 64bit processors can surely handle more task stuff at the same time but ain't necessarily faster.Compare Corel software releases 7 and 14 or later.To may libs loaded with tons of nice colored icons and animations which aren't needed..result...long loaading times and dense speed!'course you need a more powerful CPU to handle that.

                                        No thanks,will stay with the best AMD processor and can live with old software which runs fine and stable.

                                        @avk: please check your post box

                                        best regards

                                         

                                      • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                                        halifax44

                                        I think mehaul is right here, it is the nature of the beast. Technology marches on, it always has and always will. If we're lucky we keep up with it, otherwise we just do our best with what we've got.

                                          • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                                            OldBoy2k

                                            It just doesnt make economicaly sense to leave those athlon XP cpu's out.Most of the good programs still don't have such limitation and more people around the world can and do buy them because they work on older systems.For example ID software releases all their games compatible to the outer limits and they work fine.If people want the max graphics the develpers can easily accomplish that by hardware checks and different algorythms.That doesnt cost a bunch and more customers are in reach.

                                            Lets make it clear on a very simple example.We are soon using USB 3.0.If Microsoft stops supporting USB 3.0 on WinXP,only implementing it in Vista and Windows 7,they leave around 67% windows user aside.Since 67% of Windows user still stuck to their loved WinXP,it would be plain idiotic only to support the newer systems.

                                            Also,why do some people say:"Man,your system is far to old,buy a new one" because of a couple of Streaming extensions who have been around in Intel since the first Pentiums showed up but when no one really care'd before?!?!

                                            Its good we have new cpu's but its not good software gets to much dependent on it.

                                            Question: I know someone who plays and loves Doom and Quake and plays Doom3 and Quake4 at 800x600 resolution.Thats two games ID sold and one big ID fan made happy.Isnt that all what counts in the end?!

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                             

                                        • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                                          avk
                                          OldBoy2k: +1!
                                              • AMD should be more thoughtful about PC gamers
                                                avk

                                                Sorry for repeating myself, but you, guys, should definitely need to improve the Catalyst driver. Your graphics engineers are capable to create a state-of-the-art GPUs, but your graphics programmers, alas, cannot handle with driver for them .

                                                From one version of Catalyst to another its quality is changing from good to bad and vice versa. It is inadmissible. Yes, I know that it is extremely hard to maintain the quality and speed of the graphics driver on a good level, but it is imperative!

                                                Do what you want or what you can, hire another programmers, change the schedule of Catalyst releases from every month to every two months or every three months, but, please, do something. Because bad drivers make good graphics card sells bad.

                                                As I mentioned earlier, please, pay attention to the old games. Please, test them too. Look, for example, at the Thief 1&2. These games were made in 1998 and 2000, but even now their fanbase is still growing. Alas, these games are hard-coded to run in 16-bit screen modes via DirectX 6, and by now their visuals is worst than it was their start. Do you know why? Because all the modern graphics cards (DX10-compatible) have some graphics issue when they are working in 16-bit screen mode. Could you, guys, fix such an issue in your graphics driver? I daresay, yes, you could, if you want. But you don't want . BTW, just because of this, one enthusiast have wrote special software patch named DDFix. In most cases it works, but many users constantly have a lot of problem installing and/or using it.

                                                The aforementioned problem is just a one from thousands of similar. Yes, the burden of compatibilty is a really hard one, but you, guys, have no choice.