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AMD and NVIDIA Trade Allegations, Denials Over Shady Tactics 69

Posted by Soulskill
from the can't-we-all-just-get-along dept.
crookedvulture writes "In an article published by Forbes earlier this week, AMD lashed out at NVIDIA's GameWorks program, which includes Watch Dogs and other popular titles, such as Call of Duty: Ghosts, Assassin's Creed IV, and Batman: Arkham Origins. Technical communications lead for PC graphics Robert Hallock alleged that GameWorks deliberately cripples performance on AMD hardware. He also claimed that developers are prevented from working with AMD on game optimizations. The Forbes piece was fairly incriminating, but it didn't include any commentary from the other side of the fence. NVIDIA has now responded to the allegations, and as one might expect, it denies them outright. Director of engineering for developer technology Cem Cebenoyan says NVIDIA has never barred developers from working with AMD. In fact, he claims that AMD's own developer relations efforts have prevented NVIDIA from getting its hands on early builds of some games. AMD has said in the past that it makes no effort to prevent developers from working with NVIDIA. So, we have another round of he said, she said, with gamers caught in the middle and performance in newer titles hanging in the balance."
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AMD and NVIDIA Trade Allegations, Denials Over Shady Tactics

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  • Which are all AMD when it comes to graphics?
    • by asmkm22 (1902712)
      Developers have always had to handle consoles differently than PC's because the parts are all highly customized for the hardware. Besides, consoles are never really on the edge of graphics anyway. At least, not on the good edge.
      • by marsu_k (701360)
        Previously I might have agreed with you, but isn't a PS4/Xbone just a bog-standard x64 with AMD graphics? (granted, the ESRAM on Xbox complicates things a bit, but still) Most of the customisations they make there should be pretty much portable to the PC realm as well. Not going to get into the "PC master race" pissing contest, sorry.
        • by asmkm22 (1902712)
          Nah, the consoles get their own specific drivers and stuff. Now, you are correct in that you could build a basic game for the x86/x64 platform, and have it working on a console with little trouble. However, the big studios are looking to do a lot more with that hardware, to eek out that extra 3 FPS, or hit the 1080p mark, or to enable the nicer shadows, etc.. Plus, they have to build the games for both DirectX and OpenGL, matching performance and fidelity as evenly as possible.
          • by Narishma (822073)

            Very few AAA developers have OpenGL builds of their games. If you're talking about consoles, then no console has ever used OpenGL as it's main API AFAIK.

  • by sexconker (1179573) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @06:12PM (#47113871)

    Lots of careful wording and dodging by nVidia.
    Their focused on working with devs to get GameWorks shit integrated into the source code. nVidia can and does see dev source code, if the dev requests such hands-on help. Seeing source code is extremely beneficial for optimization, as is integrating GameWorks directly into the code. nVidia wouldn't be doing that if it wasn't.
    Yet nVidia expects us to believe that AMD is not disadvantaged by now being unable to see source code. It's your typical nVidia anti-competitive bullshit. nVidia's new agreements forbid AMD from seeing code that has GameWorks shit integrated. So AMD gets screwed over because nVidia has the larger market share and the optimization stage is typically the last part of development. Devs are under the wire and don't have time to fork/merge/redact code all over the place in order to expose a GameWorks-sanitized path for AMD's review.

    nVidia really pisses me off with this bullshit. They have great performance and features, but it's ultimately to the detriment of the industry as a whole because they lock shit up so hard that it becomes a novelty that it underutilized in a fractured market (see PhysX).

    • They're.
      FUCK. I started with "Their focus on..." and later changed it, but didn't diddle the "Their".

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      "In fact, he claims that AMD's own developer relations efforts have prevented NVIDIA from getting its hands on early builds of some games."
      Yea everyone forget about tomb raider? Nvidia never got early release of the game to optimize drivers they had to wait til game was officially released before they got one.
      • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

        by arbiter1 (1204146)
        If you want to talk about black box shit, look at mantle, AMD locked tech, amd claims its open yet you can't download the source any-fucking-where. They claim its closed cause its beta which is pure marketing bullshit. AMD is just as guilty even more so then nvidia for anything.
        • by phorm (591458)

          Indeed. Mantle came to mind for me as well. Vendor-specific lock-in.

          Also, how can Mantle be Beta when it's supposedly incorporated into games like BF4? I don't doubt that NVidia does things to encourage lock-in (I recall certain extensions for terrain/texture generation that didn't work correctly with AMD), but this is really a pot-and-kettle situation.

        • by exomondo (1725132) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @06:46PM (#47114267)

          If you want to talk about black box shit, look at mantle, AMD locked tech, amd claims its open yet you can't download the source any-fucking-where. They claim its closed cause its beta which is pure marketing bullshit. AMD is just as guilty even more so then nvidia for anything.

          It's not just the source, you can't even get a binary or an API spec or API documentation anywhere.

        • I wouldn't say more so. https://developer.nvidia.com/c... [nvidia.com] Gaze on the list of proprietary technologies and libraries that lock a developer in from start to finish... Mantle is just an API like any other that has to be supported alongside directx, opengl or whatever.
        • by Anonymous Coward

          actually mantle will be released as a open standard by the end of the year. but the standard isn't finished yet as AMD is now in the process of polishing it based on developer feedback (hence the developer-beta program). it would be extremely undesirable for AMD to release mantle half finished. that can only lead to confusing and compatibility issues in the future.

          further more AMD has a long and proven track record of picking, supporting and developing open standards.
          any objective assessment would conclude

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by exomondo (1725132)

      Their focused on working with devs to get GameWorks shit integrated into the source code.

      Just like AMD are doing with Mantle.

      Yet nVidia expects us to believe that AMD is not disadvantaged by now being unable to see source code. It's your typical nVidia anti-competitive bullshit.

      Obviously that's untrue but it's hard to have sympathy for AMD when they are doing exactly the same thing with their Mantle API.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        "Just like AMD are doing with Mantle."

        actually no. AMD will release mantle as a open standard by the end of the year, but currently it isn't finished yet. releasing standards before they are finished is obviously a bad idea.

        the games being released with mantle are there to provide developer feedback for AMD to further polish the standard. the fact games are out doesn't means the standard is finished.

        • by arbiter1 (1204146)
          Well its NOT open, NO API, NO SOURCE, NO DOCUMENTATION === closed standard. Til its released to public its closed no if's and's or but's.
        • by exomondo (1725132) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @08:04PM (#47115073)

          actually no. AMD will release mantle as a open standard by the end of the year, but currently it isn't finished yet.

          Actually yes, they are already working with developers and shipping games so at this stage it is in commercial production but is very much is closed and proprietary not to mention your claim of "by the end of the year" doesn't appear to be substantiated, in fact AMD have been even more vague with: It could be as early as sometime next year or maybe the year after. [vr-zone.com]

          releasing standards before they are finished is obviously a bad idea.

          What sort of idiocy is that? Publicly releasing the spec for feedback is a good idea, but instead it is being kept closed despite it being in shipping games and drivers.

      • Not even comparable, mantle is an alternative renderer. Mantle might be closed but it doesn't keep nVidia from looking at the games source.
        • by exomondo (1725132)

          Not even comparable, mantle is an alternative renderer.

          No it isn't, Mantle is a graphics API and for the game developers who are writing for it how do you expect nVidia to support that code path without a spec or reference implementation?

          Mantle might be closed but it doesn't keep nVidia from looking at the games source.

          Neither does GameWorks, just because you call into GameWorks libraries doesn't mean you need to distribute the code for those libraries. For example they even have samples [nvidia.com] that you can download the source code for that makes use of the GameWorks libraries.

          • The difference here is Mantle is shipping alongside other standard API's and AMD has publicly said they'll make it an open API when its ready. GameWorks on the other hand results in games being optimized or even dependent on nVidia specific libraries that will likely never be open. They cannot optimize drivers for it without nVidia's blessing.
            • by exomondo (1725132)

              The difference here is Mantle is shipping alongside other standard API's and AMD has publicly said they'll make it an open API when its ready.

              It's already shipping in commercial games and drivers and available through their partner program so I'm not sure what you think their definition of "ready" is, seems pretty ready to me.

              GameWorks on the other hand results in games being optimized or even dependent on nVidia specific libraries that will likely never be open.

              How is that different from TressFX? If you find shipping a proprietary 3d graphics API alongside other standard APIs to be acceptable then I'm sure you can find shipping a say GameWorks HairWorks code path alongside a TressFX Hair code path to be acceptable.

    • by Assmasher (456699)

      Sadly this has been industry practice for both AMD and nVidia since at least the late 90's. Both AMD and nVidia would send developers over to literally optimize your code for you. It was, of course, a double edged sword as their guys were highly skilled at getting render pathing done for their hardware iterations but it was made very clear that they were mostly interested in maximizing performance for their devices.

      Don't recall them actively screwing things up, but I'm sure that some pipeline changes woul

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Yet nVidia expects us to believe that AMD is not disadvantaged by now being unable to see source code. It's your typical nVidia anti-competitive bullshit. nVidia's new agreements forbid AMD from seeing code that has GameWorks shit integrated. So AMD gets screwed over because nVidia has the larger market share and the optimization stage is typically the last part of development. Devs are under the wire and don't have time to fork/merge/redact code all over the place in order to expose a GameWorks-sanitized p

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        Of course, this also means that other vendor's drivers don't work too well.

        Of course, AMD needs to do a GameWorks thing of their own, and to do so they need to know their drivers inside and out and cards inside and out to do it so the code flow through the driver are optimized.

        They already do, it's called TressFX and is the reason the hair in Tomb Raider looked so realistic and ran so well on AMD cards but so poorly on nVidia ones.

        • TressFX actually is open source though.

          Mantle is the interesting one, we don't actually know if NVIDIA can see the source code of the EA games which support it (and for AAA games source code access is a lot more common than NVIDIA pretends, the big games get onsite devrel which doesn't make a whole lot of sense without source code access). You would think NVIDIA would be using it as an argument if they couldn't ...

          • by exomondo (1725132)

            TressFX actually is open source though.

            The SDK is available but I haven't seen the source for TressFX.

            Mantle is the interesting one, we don't actually know if NVIDIA can see the source code of the EA games which support it (and for AAA games source code access is a lot more common than NVIDIA pretends, the big games get onsite devrel which doesn't make a whole lot of sense without source code access). You would think NVIDIA would be using it as an argument if they couldn't ...

            They probably can see the source of the games that support it just not source for Mantle itself, which is the same as for GameWorks.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      nah this is more like AMD(/ATI) pulling their usual whiney bitch stunt.

      Let's see:
      AMD/ATI
      1. Low staffing levels check
      2. Shitty drivers check
      3. Possibly borked hardware (too hard to tell because of (2))
      4. Going lowball check
      5. Can't compete so we whine check

      nVidia
      1. Adequate staffing levels check
      2. Decent drivers check
      3. Hardware works check
      4. Charging what the market will bear check
      5. Pats AMD on the head check

      Seems pretty cut and dried to me...

  • What's a bit of vendor lock-in, proprietary technology and anti-competitive behavior among friends?

  • they pull shit like this world's greatest virtual concrete slab:

    http://techreport.com/review/2... [techreport.com]

    or this
    http://www.bit-tech.net/news/h... [bit-tech.net]

    >improvement was to the tune of 20 percent as a result of DirectX 10.1 on ATI cards.
    >there was some co-marketing between Nvidia and Ubisoft

    All just to make AMD look slower.

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