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  ATI re-develops their not-so-good OpenGL drivers  (Read 1936 times)
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Offline Bombadil

Senior Member





« Posted 2004-07-30 12:18:15 »

Since first benchmarks of Doom3 did run better on Nvidia cards compared to ATI's there's some pressure now to ATI. I don't think their OpenGL drivers are good (JOGL users will know well). So this OpenGL related pressure is a good thing AFAIK.
Interestingly ATI told a magazine these days that they're completely re-writing their OpenGL drivers currently. Which can only be a good thing because they can't get worse, can they?

The magazine article (german Golem.de) basically says this (sorry for my weird translation):
Quote
Doom3 benchmarked so well on Nvidia cards in the HardOCP benchmark. Thus ATI Germany told Golem that ID boss John Carmack didn't give any recommendation for 3d cards, instead he said that all modern cards would be good for Doom3 and that benchmarks should not be the main reason to buy a certain 3d card. Despite all this ATI would want to optimize their OpenGL drivers, because they've been treating their OpenGL drivers in a stepmotherly fashion for about a year (*). Quoting ATI Germany: "We work on a re-development of our OpenGL drivers. Because it's a complete re-development it will last some time, naturally. Of course we're going to look close at Doom3's performance spots and integrate any performance improvements (..)".




(*) Actually they've been even worse some years ago what's conerning OpenGL.

Offline darkprophet

Senior Member




Go Go Gadget Arms


« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-07-30 14:40:57 »

Ive never had any troubles with the ATI opengl drivers. They have always given me a more crisp image than nVidia's. This is very noticable when you run a Vertex Program Cartoon shader at low res (640x480).

But it is good to hear that they are improving it. It wouldn't hurt anyone, and it would certinetly gain a few loyal customers.

DP

Friends don't let friends make MMORPGs.

Blog | Volatile-Engine
Offline Bombadil

Senior Member





« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-07-30 15:14:34 »

Quote
Ive never had any troubles with the ATI opengl drivers.

Do you run a lot of different OpenGL apps & games? Please don't forget that most of the current fullprice games using OpenGL actually use the very same OpenGL engine: ID's Quake3 engine. ATI tuned their OpenGL driver so it runs this engine well. But nothing more.
Some fullprice games which aren't DX only have got an option to use the OpenGL or DX API but tend to set DX as default because of OpenGL driver problems (I would think ATI ones, not Nvidia ones). :-(

If you look around in this forum, you'll notice many ATI users with very different ATI models have a lot of OpenGL problems. For example two of the forum's top "projects" (Wurm and Megacorps) don't run properly on ATI hardware, at least not on mine.
I've seen ATI carded PCs which can't run Alienflux at all, some with trouble. On some of these boxes the very (!) newest ATI driver fixed the problem, on others it didn't. My own hobby Jogl and Xith project run fine on allNvidia carded PCs I've tested with, but just on some ATI carded PCs, which is a pain.
Even Carmack stated during his Doom3 development that Nvidia's OpenGL drivers have got gold status for him, but no other drivers.

Quote
They have always given me a more crisp image than nVidia's. This is very noticable when you run a Vertex Program Cartoon shader at low res (640x480).

Well Hardware is another issue. Personally I like ATI hardware (and I use such a card for my home PC), but their OpenGL drivers just aren't OK, and in case this won't change I'll never again buy an ATI card.

Quote
But it is good to hear that they are improving it. It wouldn't hurt anyone, and it would certinetly gain a few loyal customers.

Well I'm going to believe it when I see it. ATI is known to be M$' DX friend so actually I don't really think they care OpenGL seriously (there have been comments floating around the Net from ATI driver developers who stated that in their opinion OpenGL was a very bad thing - so who wonders if such people won't care if their OpenGL hacks do a good job?), etc. It's just now that Doom3 has arrived ATI have got some public relation problems. I hope we'll see tons of good games using the new ID Doom3 engine because it'll help OpenGL and all OpenGL users!


PS: Don't get me wrong - I am no Nvidia apologet.
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Offline Spasi
« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-07-30 15:16:43 »

Although I agree that it's great they are improving their driver, as they indeed have certain problems and weaknesses, I find hard to believe what I've read around the internet these days...

1. "They've forgotten the opengl driver for >1 year": Just have a look at their GLSL implementation. Or try running 3DLabs' Parser Test on an nvidia...

2. "The opengl driver sucks": Just compare any R3XX with any NV3X on fragment shader speed & quality (and consistency on these two). What's the point of all these "great" optimizations NV does in each driver release, when their hardware just sucks.

3. "Doom3 is slow on ATI because of #2": What about NV's dedicated hardware on stencil pass? Or hand-optimized shaders? We want consistent power, not specializations for a single certain game. Of course NV is faster, but not because of #2.

Sorry for the rant, but it's getting silly sometimes. By the way, I've never owned or used (other than testing our engine) an ATI. I'm an nv fun, I still think that the 6800 is absolutely marvelous and better than the X800, but we should be fair here.
Offline Bombadil

Senior Member





« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-07-30 17:49:07 »

Quote
By the way, I've never owned or used (other than testing our engine) an ATI. I'm an nv fun

If you've never used an ATI 3d card I'm not sure if you know ATI's OpenGL driver problems.
I absolutely don't mind benchmarks here and I don't defend Nvidia. As said I like ATI's hardware.
However their lousy OpenGL driver is more than a pain in the back: in case your software development depended on OpenGL you can ruin your business - in case you're not John Carmack that is. Imagine how many dev studios will ditch OpenGL because of that?
It's known that ATI's OpenGL drivers have been improved during the years (the statement ATI forgot about their OpenGL driver for about a year isn't a rumour but a statement from a local ATI branch).

Let's see if their re-development brings solid and stable OpenGL drivers to the ATI world. Let's hope.
Offline darkprophet

Senior Member




Go Go Gadget Arms


« Reply #5 - Posted 2004-07-30 23:42:22 »

I tend not to run the most up-to-date hardware mainly cause of financial difficulties at the moment. But my Radeon 9200 with 256Mb vRam (£40 btw from computer world..UK) has served me very well. Never an app crashed because of driver issues. But then again, I dont even have fragment programs, so there isn't much there anyway to go wrong.

Bombadil, perhaps you could describe whats going on with your drivers? Do they crash you when you play certain games? Are they just too slow? Or do you have another problem with them?

DP

Friends don't let friends make MMORPGs.

Blog | Volatile-Engine
Offline Bombadil

Senior Member





« Reply #6 - Posted 2004-07-31 06:11:02 »

Quote
Bombadil, perhaps you could describe whats going on with your drivers? Do they crash you when you play certain games? Are they just too slow? Or do you have another problem with them?

I think the fact that ATI completely re-develops their OpenGL drivers shows what's the problem.
It is not unusual to hear in the gaming industry many doubts about OpenGL - to my experience stability problems are one of the main points. Frankly, with Nvidia cards I've hardly ever experienced OpenGL troubles, with ATI ones I've seen a lot. I'm sure Nvidia's OpenGL drivers aren't the reasons for the bad reputation of OpenGL in the gaming industry. It's known however that ATI's OpenGL drivers have been even worse some years ago compared to their today's status.

Well why talk a lot about it. ATI now re-develop their OpenGL drivers which has been the reason for this posting. Let's wait and see and hope they do it right this time. Not because of ATI but because of the OpenGL world which includes us Java 3d fans.


PS: On the mentioned OCP-Benchmark Nvidia's high end 3d card runs about  20% - 25% faster than ATI's high end model (GeForce 6800 vs Radeon X800). Albeit Carmack optimized in his usual genius way for both cards. It's very probable that the re-develop of ATI's OpenGL drivers won't gain much in terms of Doom3 performance. However if this way we get solid OpenGL drivers, it's going to be a real good thing.
Offline DanK

Junior Member




Javver games rock yawel!


« Reply #7 - Posted 2004-07-31 09:19:48 »

I bougt an ATI card a few years ago and I've pretty much regretted it ever since, my old nvidia card was a Riva TNT2 with 16mb of ram or something and the new one was a 7500 radeon with 128mb, sadly for a long time the tnt card ran as fast as the radeon card, and I had far less crash issues in games. This was mostly because the ati drivers sucked horribly. The ATI drivers are probably 5 times better than when I bought the card, but they probably still suck at least a little.

The drivers could get worse than they are now, they could be like they were a few years ago, but I seriously doubt that'll be the case.

Offline Spasi
« Reply #8 - Posted 2004-07-31 10:15:06 »

Quote

If you've never used an ATI 3d card I'm not sure if you know ATI's OpenGL driver problems.


That's because every time I've tested our engine on an ATI everything worked fine. We've never had any issues that needed "special" developing. What kind of troubles have you had?

And I still believe their drivers were being developed quite actively this last year. OpenGL features that have ~just been introduced (VBOs, ARB VP & FP, GLSL),  work great on ATIs (maybe even better than NVs). There have been certain glitches, just as NV had some, but they were fixed soon.

Again, it's great to see them being more aggresive on this one and if their driver needs to be built from scratch, I'm happy with that. It's only for the best.
Offline princec

JGO Kernel


Medals: 282
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Eh? Who? What? ... Me?


« Reply #9 - Posted 2004-07-31 11:06:20 »

Even Alien Flux has special hacks and workarounds for some ATI drivers. And Matrox drivers. Gah.

Cas Smiley

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Offline Chman

Junior Member




Nothing more that... Java games are cool !


« Reply #10 - Posted 2004-07-31 16:20:30 »

Quote
Even Alien Flux has special hacks and workarounds for some ATI drivers. And Matrox drivers. Gah.

Cas Smiley


Matrox drivers is a known issue of lwjgl :-/
About ATI's one, I've tested AlienFlux and Elvis with a 9200SE and a 9800Pro using last official drivers and Omega's ones (which are more powerful) and it works very well !

Concerning this topic, I agree that OpenGL drivers of nVidia's cards are a little bit betters than ATI's ones, but those days, loosing 2 or 3 frames per second in a game is not a dram, don't you think ?

So, for ATI users, go and download the Omega drivers here... You can have a better framerate with newer games (using a 9800Pro and OmegaDrivers I get some extra fps playing PainKiller).

Chman
Offline Mithrandir

Senior Member




Cut from being on the bleeding edge too long


« Reply #11 - Posted 2004-08-03 18:45:04 »

I've only had one problem with ATI openGL drivers on their mainstream PC products, and that was dealing with Fog state changes.  That was fixed about a month ago. We do exercise the full core OpenGL spec too with our code paths.

Where ATI stuff has sucked hard for a very long time is in the notebook chip drivers. Those have, and continue to be, attrocious.

The site for 3D Graphics information http://www.j3d.org/
Aviatrix3D JOGL Scenegraph http://aviatrix3d.j3d.org/
Programming is essentially a markup language surrounding mathematical formulae and thus, should not be patentable.
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