Nvidia dismisses AMD's Batman accusations

Written by Tim Smalley

October 3, 2009 | 03:15

Tags: #twimtbp

Companies: #nvidia

Late last week, AMD publicly blasted Nvidia and a number of game developers because of some issues in a few recent games that have shipped as part of Nvidia's The Way It's Meant To Be Played program.

Ian McNaughton, a senior manager in Advanced Marketing at AMD, claimed that Nvidia blocked AMD from working on Batman: Arkham Asylum, Need For Speed: Shift and Resident Evil 5, claiming that they are "proprietary TWIMTBP titles". Ouch.

McNaughton complained that Batman: Arkham Asylum has an anti-aliasing mode on Nvidia hardware, which disappears when an ATI Radeon is recognised as the primary GPU in the system. The game also implements Nvidia's PhysX technology, too.

However, he neglected to mention that Batman: AA is based on Unreal Engine 3, which uses a deferred renderer on DirectX 9.0. Deferred renders don't support MSAA in DirectX 9.0 without a driver workaround, which is exactly what Nvidia's DevTech team helped to implement (and test). Because of the tight development schedule though, this couldn't be tested on ATI's Radeon graphics cards.

Ashu Rege, director of Nvidia's DevTech team, said that "you have no idea how tight the schedule was on Batman." He explained that there was less than a week to fix several critical bugs in the physics effects before the game went off for GfW approval because the Nvidia engineer working with developer Rock Steady on the PhysX implementation was just about to go on holiday when the bugs came to light.

Rege said "we had absolutely no time to go 'oh yeah, how can we screw ATI by the way?' Seriously, nobody ever has time to think about those kinds of things. In this situation, had we enabled something that was not tested on ATI GPUs [and broke the game as a result], there were a number of things that could have happened. The worst thing from my perspective is that the developers won't want our help in the future because we broke their game."

Tony Tamasi, senior vice president of Content and Technology at Nvidia, chimed in and said; "Even if we wished we could, we can't possibly expect to really support ATI's drivers. What if ATI changes the way its drivers apply AA and that breaks Rock Steady's game - whose fault is that?"

Tamasi later went onto say that "no game developer on the planet is going to let us do anything to a game which prevents it from running on ATI, or having a good experience. Whenever we go to do something, the first principle we apply is 'do no harm' - you never make it worse than before you went in. Ever."

"If we did that, next time, the developer is going to say 'sorry, we don't want to work with you guys' and that's the end of our existence," added Rege.

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