Next week (we are hearing July 5th), Ubisoft will release their second patch to CryTek's FarCry. This is the game that shows off the beautiful CryEngine renderer that CryTek has put together. The images and scenery is truly beautiful, and with the new patch comes a much needed update to run speed (~15%) and run duration (~30%). These new features make the game an even more enjoyable experience.

But that's not the major update that we are here to talk about. The FarCry 1.2 will feature a new rendering path based on Shader Model 3.0 (Vertex and Pixel Shader 3.0), which is currently only supported by NVIDIA's 6800 series cards and not by ATI's X800 line of cards.

We are here today to test out the new patch on six different levels in FarCry and see if the new methods, which CryTek were able to include in their new path, offer any kind of advantage. As the game play experience is meant to be the same no matter what card we're using, we'll clear the air before we start, and say that there will be no new eye candy available through the SM3.0 path. The game should be rendered exactly the same way it was under SM2.0, and we will take a look at IQ as we go through our tests just to make sure that we keep on track. This is a very important point to take away as it means that regardless of whether you buy an ATI X800 or an NVIDIA 6800, the game will still look and play the same.

Well, if there are no new bells and whistles, why should the end user care? Because there are some performance increases that CryTek was able to squeeze out of the engine with their new render path. How much, we're about to find out, but first, let's take a look at what exactly has changed.

UPDATE: It has recently come to our attention that our 4xAA/8xAF benchmark numbers for NVIDIA 6800 series cards were incorrect when this article was first published. The control panel was used to set the antialiasing level, which doesn't work with FarCry unless set specifically in the FarCry profile (which was not done here). We appologize for the error, and have updated our graphs and analysis accordingly.

For a more positive update, after a discussion with CryTek about the new rendering path, we have learned that the lighting model implimented in the SM3.0 Path is exactly the same as was used in the SM2.0 Path. The only exception is that they used the conditional rendering (branching in the pixel shader) to emulate multipass lighting in a single pixel shader. The performance gains we see actually indicate that PS3.0 branching does not have as significant a performance hit as previously thought (and proves to be more efficient than using multiple pixel shaders in a scene).

What's New in 1.2?


View All Comments

  • misnad - Monday, December 20, 2004 - link

    Hey guys, when playing an adrenaline pumping game like far cry or doom 3, how on earth does one take the time to notice the minute details??? True enough you need decent quality, but what's required the most is a decent framerate!!! Or else, we'll end up with a slideshow of hi-res pictures! My 2 cents. Reply
  • misnad - Monday, December 20, 2004 - link

  • KJ1a - Thursday, July 8, 2004 - link

    I noticed a difference in the comparison pictures.
    I lloks like Nvidia is rendering less and in lot of the areas the quality is lower and bumpmapping is a little less pronounced as well.
    I have owned ATI and Nvidia cards and I can honestly say my games allways look better on the ATI cards.
    Look at the detials in the pictures.
    Thats my 2 cents.
  • bangbilo - Saturday, July 3, 2004 - link

    I once was a really happy ATI customer, until i bought my 9600 ( this was before the XT ) and i liked the card at the time it was kicking the crap out of any game out there. Then one day i decided to have some fun with a thing called Linux. I started out with the Suse 9.0 distro and i quickly noticed i did not have 3D support. After a week of my life slaved over forums and people saying that this works and ATI's drivers not i decided my next card was going to be a NVidia. Ati has always had crappy support issues with there drivers in my opinion and if they would just get that fixed i would be buying me a X800 XT not a 6800 Ultra (Ordered that baby today) I love ati they have allowed me to be a somewhat descent gamer for 4 years not its time to try out the other guy. If i'm not satisfied with them and ati figures out a few things that the customers have been wanting for years. Then i might be buying me an XI800 XT ULTRA PLATNUM EDITION with CHROME HUBCAPS.... yes i said it HUBCAPS... :) thats my 2 cents

    "pain is weakness leaving the body"
  • Staples - Saturday, July 3, 2004 - link

    In some of those first few screens, you may want to fix the gamma in an image editor. They are dark in the game but not that dark, at least they shouldn't be unless you are playing at default settings. Reply
  • DerekWilson - Saturday, July 3, 2004 - link

    I could use those burgers ...

    Thanks again, Pete :-)
  • Pete - Saturday, July 3, 2004 - link

    Craziness! Nice to see that you're on top of things, Derek. Now that you've averted an aliased crisis, head out to the grill and set some burgers to medium. :) Reply
  • Dasterdly - Saturday, July 3, 2004 - link

    Then you gotta get the Ultra Hyper (Kung Fu) Fighting Edition.
    Or dont forget the Ultra Extreme XT Platinum Edition or the GT2 Pro Turbo Extra-Special Edition.
  • bearxor - Friday, July 2, 2004 - link

    Wow, that little change with the AA really changed the look of those benchmarks.

    The ATi X800 XT PE Alpha 3 Pro Turbo doesn't look so bad now.
  • nordlaw - Friday, July 2, 2004 - link

    9800 Pro's referred to as 'Older' video cards - Moore's Law is being smashed open, lately by GPUs.

    CPUs, not so, of course.

    I need a slightly better CPU so I can keep up with GPUs. ;)

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