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Conflict On Graphic Standards Hurting PC Gaming?

simoniker posted about 11 years ago | from the ati-vs-nvidia-plus-alpha dept.

Graphics 39

Thanks to GameSpot for their editorial discussing graphics card manufacturers, and how their race for revenue could harm PC gaming. The piece discusses the days when "3dfx's Glide standard was the only thing going", and "3dfx even secured deals with retailers to create separate sections for 3dfx-compatible games." However, the author laments: "I thought hardware-specific games were a thing of the past. Then I booted up the demo for Bridge It", an Nvidia-sponsored title which "will not run unless you have an Nvidia GeForce 4 Ti or GeForce FX graphics card installed." The article ends with a hope that "clearer heads will prevail and PC gaming can take new steps toward improving ease-of-use, not balkanizing the platform for business reasons."

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That's obsurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7321135)

Any developer willing to agree with this kind of needless BS and lock out a whole section of users because they don't have the "preferred hardware", doesn't deserve to have thier crap game played in the first place.

Re:That's obsurd (1)

ccarter (15555) | about 11 years ago | (#7321183)

Maybe the choice was nVidia only or not at all. Perhaps that was the only way to get the backing to do the project.

Re:That's obsurd (4, Insightful)

the Man in Black (102634) | about 11 years ago | (#7321306)

Any developer willing to agree with this kind of needless BS and lock out a whole section of users because they don't have the "preferred hardware", doesn't deserve to have thier crap game played in the first place.

You mean like developers that won't produce games for the Mac?

Re:That's obsurd (1)

techstar25 (556988) | about 11 years ago | (#7322698)

"You mean like developers that won't produce games for the Mac?".
... or the Gamecube.

Re:That's obsurd (1)

Recoil_42 (665710) | about 11 years ago | (#7323974)

flawed logic. macs have what, 10% market penetration in the industry? pc over mac is simply majority rule, whereas with ATI vs Nvidia, we're talking 50/50 or 40/60. if macs had more users, more games would come out for that platform -- and yes, i know its a vicious cycle -- more users means more games means more users etc. but thats just the way it is. by not developing for mac, developers only lose a very small amount of revenue, whereas in contrast, not supporting ATI cards means you are out by 50% sales. ouch.

Re:That's obsurd (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7326166)

Comments from grandparents aside, there is a big difference between programming for an operating system and programming for graphics.

Re:That's obsurd (1)

Hes Nikke (237581) | about 11 years ago | (#7326329)

ah, but on the other side of the coin you have 10% - 15% of the overall market (not new sales in the past years) who is starved for games. that means that you are practically garnered to sell the game to 5-10% (you have to face facts - you won't sell a copy to every mac user) of the market if you sell it for the mac. if you sell it for windows, there is so choice that your game probably won't be noticed. it's all signal to noise. the mac has very little noise, windows has a ton. (linux has even less noise!)

yes there have been nose dives for the mac (deer hunter anyone?) but there have also been some huge successes (Quake III, the Myst series, any Bungie title, any PopCap title)

RTFA (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7321328)

See subject.

From the BridgeIT FAQ (4, Informative)

GoRK (10018) | about 11 years ago | (#7321168)


Q: Why does Bridge It only run on NVIDIA video cards?

A: Bridge It is a collaboration of three great companies - NVIDIA, Auran and Chronic Logic. As much fun as Bridge It is to play, it was also developed as a great technology showcase for NVIDIA and Auran. Bridge It was designed to utilize NVIDIA hardware and the Auran Jet software to achieve its outstanding visual quality. We would like Bridge It to work on all cards (obviously), but Bridge It was specifically designed as graphics demo to show off NVIDIA graphics cards. Bridge It is based on Chronic Logic's game Bridge Construction Set. Bridge Construction Set has very similar game play as Bridge It and supports all brands of OpenGL video cards, you can check it out here.

Q: What role did NVIDIA, Auran and Chronic Logic each play in the development of Bridge It?

A: Bridge It is the brainchild of Chronic Logic. Bridge It's design is based on Chronic Logic's game Bridge Construction Set. Auran's artists and programmers, armed with the Auran Jet software engine, consulted with Chronic Logic to transform the original Bridge Construction Set into a new gaming experience. NVIDIA joined these two companies together and provided its 3D graphics expertise, as well as moral support, and turned Bridge It into one of the most compelling 3D games on the market today.

Q: How is Bridge It different from Bridge Construction Set?

A: Bridge It is a much more graphic-intense version of BCS. While the gameplay in Bridge It and BCS is similar, the intended audiences for the two games are slightly different. Bridge It was designed with casual gamers in mind and is designed for gamers of all skill levels. BCS is slightly more flexible and challenging and is geared towards the more experienced gamer. Hence, the change of name of BCS to Bridge It (and not BCS 2). See below for more information.

Q: Will your future games require NVIDIA cards?

A: No, Bridge It's graphics are based on technology developed by Auran and NVIDIA. Our current projects are all OpenGL based and will run on all brands of OpenGL cards. They will also support Linux and OSX. However our current projects will look great on NVIDIA cards, because of their excellent developer support.

Q: I understand that Chronic Logic was not involved in the decision to develop Bridge It for NVIDIA cards only. I understand that Chronic Logic did not sell their souls. I understand that without NVIDIA's participation Bridge It would not exist. I understand that serious problems face this world such as wars, nuclear proliferation, world hunger, and Ben and J-Lo's wedding. However I still want to write Chronic Logic and complain about Bridge It (a game developed for NVIDIA) only working on NVIDIA cards. I also want to tell them I will no longer support them by purchasing their products even if I never did (if you have purchased games from Chronic Logic, we appreciate your support very much and feel free to send us your comments). I understand that everyday I purchase products from huge corporations that exploit other humans worldwide while destroying the environment, but I think Chronic Logic is worse and deserves my personal attention. I want to tell Chronic Logic I am so pissed off I won't even support them by pirating their games anymore, what can I do?

A: Then please send your comments to

It's really unfair... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7321175)

I just had to return a game becuse it wouldn't run on anything but an XBox thing. Where's that at?

DirectX (2, Insightful)

CowboyMeal (614487) | about 11 years ago | (#7321186)

Isn't this the whole reason DirectX came along? I remember trying to get games to work in the DOS days, is that what we're reverting to?

Re:DirectX (1)

buffer-overflowed (588867) | about 11 years ago | (#7322123)

Umm, no DirectX was not the first. I'm pretty sure it was SGI's OpenGL, but it may have been WinG or WinToon instead. (It's been a while)

DirectX!? If you want it to only work on windows, then yea, go for it. Otherwise use OpenGL.

Sound is a little trickier, but DirectSound isn't exactly all that and a bag of biscuits. Doesn't Creative Labs pretty much dominate the SoundCard industry?

Reversion? No, we already see diverging codepaths, for instance D3 has different codepaths depending upon the card. Only way to tweak the most performance out of hardware.

Re:DirectX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7326530)

Doesn't Creative Labs pretty much dominate the SoundCard industry?
Not so much as they used to. Because they suck.

Re:DirectX (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7327361)

" Doesn't Creative Labs pretty much dominate the SoundCard industry?"

Thank god, no.

This is wrong on so many levels... (1)

Vaevictis666 (680137) | about 11 years ago | (#7321200)

I mean honestly, if some of the prettier features get turned off on the GF4Ti (because they don't have the extras in the FX) how many lines of code need to be changed to get it to run in low-quality mode on a Radeon?

This is a "marketing alliance" at its best, and just rubs me the wrong way.

Re:This is wrong on so many levels... (1)

Synic (14430) | about 11 years ago | (#7321525)

The Radeon would use standard HLSL code, whereas I'm sure the FX code is all nvidia specific custom stuff. So, while it would be more effort than just replace a few lines I believe most of the Radeon cards have all the rendering extensions the FX line has anyway.

The game was developed as an NVIDIA demo. (5, Informative)

gauauu (649169) | about 11 years ago | (#7321284)

This whole story should be modded as -1, RTFFAQ.

The game was made primarly as a graphics demo for NVIDIA cards. It makes sense, then, that it should be for NVIDIA cards, no?

From the Bridge It FAQ [] :
Bridge It was specifically designed as graphics demo to show off NVIDIA graphics cards.

Re:The game was developed as an NVIDIA demo. (2, Insightful)

srmalloy (263556) | about 11 years ago | (#7321742)

The game was made primarly as a graphics demo for NVIDIA cards. It makes sense, then, that it should be for NVIDIA cards, no?

Given that nVidia has tweaked its drivers [] specifically to make the drivers aware of when the computer was running 3DMark 2003, in order to use specially-optimized code specific to the 3DMark tests to boost its cards' benchmark scores, I'm not surprised that nVidia decided to bankroll development of software to show off its cards... certainly the benchmarks don't show them in a particularly good light...

Ummm... (2, Insightful)

Violet Null (452694) | about 11 years ago | (#7321325)

It's a game that wouldn't exist without NVidia's financing. That is, and I'll speak slowly, it was paid for by NVidia. It's basically an advertisement for them, disguised as a game. What's the big deal?

NVidia can (and obviously will) do this. ATI can do this. But, really, will any game manufacturer who is not taking money from either ATI or NVidia do this? No. And even if they [] are taking money from one side, they still won't chop themselves off at the knees in terms of units sold if they've got a marketable game.

Re:Ummm... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7321388)

There are already several sites that have analyzed the HL2 source code what was leaked and determined that the nvidia code was intentionally sabotaged. I'm surprised the story hasn't made slashdot yet. This is why doom3 is a hell of a lot faster on the FX chipset than it is on the ATI stuff.

Re:Ummm... (2, Informative)

Synic (14430) | about 11 years ago | (#7321505)

AFAIK - when the nVidia cards use the standard rendering path in Doom3 they are much slower than the ATI cards. They have to use a custom path with stupid tricks that make the game look slightly worse in order to get back up to the same level of speed.

That's what I seem to remember from Carmack's comments here in his .plan file.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7321521)

Probably because your alleged "sources" are full of shit and can't read C++ code.

Doom3 isn't a "hell of a lot faster" on FX than ATI. It's barely faster, and does so by sacrificing visual quality. Even Carmack has stated that the FX line of cards requires more tweaking to get performance than ATI does.

And if the FX line isn't inherently inferior, why does it keep getting poor results on every other DX9 enabled game? Heck, ATI even beats nVidia in Tomb Raider:AOD which is an nVidia sponsored game title!

Maybe the NV40 core will be worthwhile, but the NV35 core has been proven to be a poor choice for the time being.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7321838)

You could also argue that ATI isn't properly supporting the OpenGL 1.4 standard.

Re:Ummm... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7321990)

You might, but you'd be wrong.

ATI runs D3 faster than nVidia in the standard ARB2 codepath. In order for D3 to be faster on nVidia hardware Carmack has had to optimize the hell out of the nVidia specific codepath.

If it was anyone but nVidia they'd be screwed -- why the hell should I, as a programmer, spend far more time optimizing a codepath for one specific group of cards? Especially a codepath that diverges from the standard? Well, obviously if ~50% of your target audience may be using that path it makes sense. But given that no such tricks had to be done for ATI utilizing the standard ARB2 path, you can hardly say that ATI isn't supporting the standard.

Re:Ummm... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7321818)

If by sabotage you mean use DX9 as MS made it then I guess you're right. NV made the mistake of not optimizing for DX9, and assumed game makers would just do it their way. Stupid reallly stupid.

But hey, it helps the consumer so I'm all for corporate idiocy. Just recently NV said they're going to cut back on driver updates to once or twice a year!

Ummm, yeah that's what made ATI teh suck in the first place. But hey, history repeats itself.

Re:Ummm... (0)

obeythefist (719316) | about 11 years ago | (#7325302)

Of course the most amusing part is that Microsoft is to blame for this whole mess. nVidia were a long way down the development path for their "DX9" parts when ATI, in bed with Bill at the time, rejiggered the specifications so that DX9 fit their development model instead of nVidia's.

Just like what nVidia did by developing DX8 for the Xbox. DX10 is going to be purely ATI optimised because of ATI's involvement with Xbox 2.

Re:Ummm... (1)

Matchstick (94940) | about 11 years ago | (#7322125)

Without NVidia's financing, it would be called "Bridge Construction Set", and be available through Chronic Logic's web site.

Re:Ummm... Yeah! (and it's a good game) (1)

key45 (706152) | about 11 years ago | (#7323942)

Yeah, I don't see the issue either. From the standpoint of this particular small, independend shareware developer this kind of marketing deal makes perfect sense.

And if any of you fellow engineering geeks do have Nvidia cards, I highly recommend this game, and the rest of the series of bridge building [] games that ChronicLogic produced. Definitely a neat concept for a puzzle game.

(I am not affiliated with Chronic Logic in any way)

DUH (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7321537)

Just download "Bridge Construction Set" instead, you cry babies!


Let them hurt (0)

E1v!$ (267945) | about 11 years ago | (#7321551)

A company that creates games only for one card deserves to go bankrupt. Let them hurt I say.

Valve is an example of an excellent company that codes for more than one platform, and FIRST coded along a non-optimized path. Changes to the graphics engine came AFTER they wrote the game.

DOOM III is supposed to be OGL 2. That's just about as non-hardware specific as you can get.

Re:Let them hurt (1)

Repugnant_Shit (263651) | about 11 years ago | (#7322334)

Valve is only coding HL2 for DirectX. The code that matters, the client, will only be available on Windows.

Re:Let them hurt (1)

E1v!$ (267945) | about 11 years ago | (#7323394)

Ok, so it's not 'perfect'. I'm a little annoyed with that myself, but @ least you get to pick your card.

Re:Let them hurt (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 11 years ago | (#7322536)

DOOM III is supposed to be OGL 2. That's just about as non-hardware specific as you can get.

Uhhh... no. OpenGL 2.0 does not exist at this point in time, primarily because no graphics hardware in existance can support it. Doom III will use some of the most advanced shaders to date, but it will not be using the OpenGL Shading Language.

ATI Wrapper (4, Informative)

aliens (90441) | about 11 years ago | (#7321640)

There are wrappers to run NVidia's vaunted demos out there on ATI cards (Better too)

The D3D wrapper might make this game playable with few tweaks.

How is this any different (2, Insightful)

Gizzmonic (412910) | about 11 years ago | (#7322000)

from someone developing their game in DirectX, thereby making it Windows-only?

Let's let gamers decide which game runs for what they did with 3dfx. No need to whine about it here.

hack? (1)

Datasage (214357) | about 11 years ago | (#7322086)

I think someone did this with the dawn demo and hacked it to work on ATI cards. Is anyone hacking bridge it?

As far as the whole ati vs. nvida thing. Im not suprised that nvidia did this, but if thats the case, bridge it should be reguarded as only an ad and nothing else.

Even more, i've owned cards from both companies. I have found that ati cards although faster, tend to be less stable and more buggy than nvida cards. Other people may have other opinions, thats my experience.

And the outrage is over....what now? (1)

wolf- (54587) | about 11 years ago | (#7322666)

Having visited the company's website...
Having downloaded the Video and watched it...
Having downloaded the demo and played it...

All I can say is...... *yawn*

The real enemy for PC gaming? (0)

obeythefist (719316) | about 11 years ago | (#7325367)

Graphics standards aren't hurting PC gaming. The two big standards we have are OpenGL (yay) and DirectX. Both reasonably open, certainly open enough to allow development. See how many PC games there are?

What's doing the real damage is console gaming. So many games are "released" for PC's that are just mangled console games with terrible quality models, textures, and interfaces.

The latest technologies in graphics adapters should be giving us the best games ever in the history of PC gaming, but instead, never have there been so many poor quality, average games released for PC's, all sourced from kludgy blocky consoles.
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