All those monkeys banging away on their keyboards and you picked the wrong one



  •  I've been making an OpenGL video game as a hobby lately but I had put it aside due to the work I do that actually gets paid. Yesterday I felt like messing around with it and launched only to have the screen freeze, turn off and then turn back on with a message informing me that the display driver of my ATI vid card had stopped responding. So I tried it again (don't we always?) and the same thing happened. I started to isolate parts of the program and tracked it down to the line that first creates the OpenGL window. Turns out creating a window in which to show OpenGL graphics is a no-no these days.

    wat.

    I figured I got left behind in the software update race and made sure I was up to date on everything, video driver, Java, relevant libraries, Windows updates, fresh underwear, it was all good. Still no joy. I tried launching Minecraft which also uses OpenGL and got the exact same thing.  So after some searching on the web I finally tracked down the culprit.

    Recently a new game called Rage came out which had some serious issues on ATI cards. So ATI came up with a patch which I installed. Said patch made it impossible to open an OpenGL window. As in no more OpenGL at all. Rolling back my vid driver fixed the issue.

    Now I have to ask... how many times must you have landed on your head as a child to release a patch like that? Seriously, wtf is going on over at ATI?

    Amusingly enough Rage still has problems even with the patch. 



  • @DOA said:

    made sure I was up to date on everything, video driver, Java, relevant libraries, Windows updates, fresh underwear, it was all good.
    You forgot clean socks.  @DOA said:
    Seriously, wtf is going on over at ATI?
    I haven't used an ATI video card in a few years but my last experience with them was even worse than yours.   It woud appear that it's business as usual.

     

     



  • Well thats a pretty huge bug for it not to be catched in unit tests (assuming they have those)

    But again who cares about OpenGL since it's cross-platform (according to microsoft)



  • Yeah, Rage is aptly named for the emotions it creates.

    I had the infamous problem of severe texture pop-up. Which, I was told, would be fixed by the first update and the newest ATi-Driver.

    After updating, I still have the texture pop-up. Coupled with a five second freeze, followed by one second of play, followed by a five second freeze... you get the picture.
    Reason given for that one: Happens to users with an ATi card coupled with an AMD multicore processor.

    I still can't wrap my head around how two QA departments missed something like that. It's not as if that combination is so outlandish, isn't it?



  •  Thanks for the heads up, I suppose. :)



  • @Rhywden said:

    Yeah, Rage is aptly named for the emotions it creates.

    And yet you didn't retweet my hilarious joke.



  • ATi's GL support is abysmal. Always has been. Though I'm not primarily a programmer, I did once as a project try writing a full game. Here's an abridged list of what I discovered testing it on some ATi machines:

    While nVidia cards will assume not setting the pixel colour means black, ATi cards will make purple and orange noise.
    nVidia let you read the colour of the pixel you're about to overwrite, useful for doing custom blend modes. ATi do not.
    At the time I was using the now very deprecated system of GLSL listens to standard GL commands, and for some reason on the ATi side it would not expose the diffuse colour properly, sometimes mixing up the RGBA channels, sometimes not.
    Whereas on the nVidia side there was free bilinear filtering of shadow maps if you asked for it, on the ATi side you just had unfiltered blocky shadows and if you wanted filtering you had to do it manually in a shader and it usually looked pants and devoured pixel cycles.
    The return value of glReadPixels seemed to be using anti-aliasing on object edges even if anti-aliasing was turned off.

    Although a long time ago, it's clear that even now they can't be bothered to keep the GL side of things well tuned and up to date: [url]http://www.g-truc.net/post-0424.html#menu[/url]

    Of course, there always was the hilarious Fallout New Vegas head spinning glitch if you had AA on. That was on DX though.

    Things aren't all 100% rosy on the nV side, but usually when you're doing stupid things. If you upload a vertex batch straight from RAM without using on-card storage and it's more than a set number of vertices on newer cards (512 on my 450GTS) the driver will choke a core and your application's memory usage skids about all over the place.



  • @DOA said:

    Recently a new game called Rage came out which had some serious issues on ATI cards. So ATI came up with a patch which I installed. Said patch made it impossible to open an OpenGL window. As in no more OpenGL at all. Rolling back my vid driver fixed the issue.
     

    ever since i first heard about the game, i was wondering why it's called how it's called.

    Now i know.



  • @DOA said:

    Said patch made it impossible to open an OpenGL window.

    Was your program using GLUT/freeglut by any chance?

     

    @Rhywden said:

    I had the infamous problem of severe texture pop-up.

     

    Check out this review of Rage (scroll down) :D


     



  • Awesome!



  • @dr spock said:

    Was your program using GLUT/freeglut by any chance?
    I'm using LWJGL in Java



  • @nexekho said:

    nVidia let you read the colour of the pixel you're about to overwrite, useful for doing custom blend modes. ATi do not.

    Hmm, wondering about this one. The only "legal" way of doing this is AFAIK with a nvidia-specific extension, which only exists on the tegra (2? can't remember) chips.

    If you're doing this by reading from a texture that you're also rendering to, then the OpenGL specs state you should expect undefined behaviour. On nvidia, this means that it seems to work sort-of, but you're going to run into problems, like not always seeing the most recent fragment color due to texture caches and whatnot.

    Other than that, I don't really disagree with the main point here - which is that ATIs OpenGL drivers mostly suck.



  • Yeah, it isn't something you should be doing. I was working in the screen buffer here. It seemed to work on the 6200 I had at the time.



  • @dr spock said:

    Check out this review of Rage (scroll down) :D

    WTF? Why would you even do that?



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @dr spock said:

    Check out this review of Rage (scroll down) :D

    WTF? Why would you even do that?

    This video of Rage gameplay should explain the joke, for people who don't follow gaming news.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    This video of Rage gameplay should explain the joke, for people who don't follow gaming news.

    Ahh.

    I didn't even know that CSS had a "blur text beyond recognition" feature. I'd check out more sites using Firebug if it didn't horribly exacerbate Firefox's garbage collection spikes.





  • @DOA said:

    Now I have to ask... how many times must you have landed on your head as a child to release a patch like that? Seriously, wtf is going on over at ATI?



  • ATI, in my experience, has the worst drivers in the world. I haven't owned an ATI card since around 1998 so I assumed all that "ATI haz h0rribl3 driv3r5" talk on the net was from stupid fanboys, until last week when I actually had to work with some ATI cards. The short story is it's literally impossible to have multiple GPUs in a system unless they're identical if one of them is an ATI card. Would have saved me three hours if their Catalyst driver had just said "Hey, it looks like you're trying to use multiple graphics cards. This is not supported unless they are identical models" instead of randomly shutting screens off, throwing up message boxes with cryptic error messages, BSOD's, funky colors, and the like.

    Most of our workstations have NVIDIA cards. And in our experience you can have any combination of NVIDIA cards and It Just Works­™. Needless to say, while I was considering getting an ATI/AMD GPU for my next upgrade on my home computer, now I will be sticking with NVIDIA in the forseeable future.



  • From everything I hear from all directions, it's odd that I have historically had more trouble with nVidia than with ATI. Especially on Linux. Of course, at least on Linux, this has largely been related to the way I want a four-monitor desktop to work.

    However, what I really find entertaining is ATI having so much trouble with a game called Rage, considering that they used to have video cards called that. Can't remember what their contemporaries were...maybe the TNT cards?



  • @kilroo said:

    However, what I really find entertaining is ATI having so much trouble with a game called Rage, considering that they used to have video cards called that.

    That is airtight logic!

    @kilroo said:

    Can't remember what their contemporaries were...maybe the TNT cards?

    Dude, my 3DFX Voodoo III can whomp your Rage II's ass. Plus it does both 2D and 3D, so you don't need to use the crappy memory-mapped motherboard video chip. Nothing played Starsiege: Tribes like a Voodoo III! (And Tribes is the only game that matters.)



  • @mott555 said:

    ATI, in my experience, has the worst drivers in the world.
     

    Maybe they have outsourced the driver development to India Adobe?!

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Dude, my 3DFX Voodoo III can whomp your Rage II's ass.

    Actually, the Voodoo 3 (didn't use the Roman numerals, either) was the point where the company changed captalization from 3Dfx to 3dfx. I have a 16MB Voodoo 3 still, and that's the spelling used by both the firmware and the printout on the chip.



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    Filed under: [url=http://forums.thedailywtf.com/tags/am+I+doing+this+pedantic+dickweedery+thing+right_3F00_/default.aspx]am I doing this pedantic dickweedery thing right?[/url]

    Yes.



  • @bannedfromcoding said:

    @blakeyrat said:
    Dude, my 3DFX Voodoo III can whomp your Rage II's ass.

    Actually, the Voodoo 3 (didn't use the Roman numerals, either) was the point where the company changed captalization from 3Dfx to 3dfx. I have a 16MB Voodoo 3 still, and that's the spelling used by both the firmware and the printout on the chip.
     

    You should have stated "I still have a 16 MB Voodoo 3" instead of "I have a 16 MB Voodoo 3 still" since putting "still" at the end turns it into a noun altered by the adjective phrase "16 MB Voodoo". In that case, you have one of the following (taken from Wiktionary) which is apparently branded as or styled to look like a Voodoo 3:

    • A period of calm or silence.
    • A non-moving photograph.
    • A resident of the Falkland Islands.
    • A device for distilling liquids.
    • A large water boiler used to make tea and coffee.
    • The area in a restaurant used to make tea and coffee separate from the main kitchen.
    You also mis-spelled "capitalization".

    PDTPDPFY.



  •  



  • That gave me the best laugh I've had today.

    Thanks, guys :)



  •  as long as you have money to buy grass your life is not pathetic, believe me



  • I don't smoke... and the tag refers to the lawn variety.



  • Now that we're on the Ati bashing course, anyone know why this machine won't detect my second monitor on every boot, but apparently it's there and detected perfectly fine and Catalyst simply isn't extending the desktop to it or something?

    They're on a video card with DVI and HDMI out, and the HDMI is linked to the monitor with a HDMI-DVI converter cable.

     



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Rage

    IMSMR the first computer I bought with my own money was an AMD K6-2-300 which had some sort of Rage "video card": it had its own RAM separate from the system but it was soldered onto the motherboard. I remember being really happy when I found an OpenGL driver for it: I could finally play Quake 2 properly, previously I could only play in software rendering mode. Someone suggested buying a Voodoo 3 card (I seem to remember borrowing one for a few weeks, maybe its owner went out of town for a while or something), but eventually ended up upgrading the entire thing to a Duron 650 with a Geforce 2 MX card: it was the fastest combination in my LAN group at the time! (Timedemo benchmarks, until someone else upgraded to a real GeForce 2 a week later, bastard).

    Wasn't the Voodoo 3 limited to 16 bit colour modes?



  • @dhromed said:

    Now that we're on the Ati bashing course, anyone know why this machine won't detect my second monitor on every boot, but apparently it's there and detected perfectly fine and Catalyst simply isn't extending the desktop to it or something?

    They're on a video card with DVI and HDMI out, and the HDMI is linked to the monitor with a HDMI-DVI converter cable.

     

     

    Tried doing it via the Windows panels instead?  They actually work usually.

     



  • @nexekho said:

    @dhromed said:

    Now that we're on the Ati bashing course, anyone know why this machine won't detect my second monitor on every boot, but apparently it's there and detected perfectly fine and Catalyst simply isn't extending the desktop to it or something?

    They're on a video card with DVI and HDMI out, and the HDMI is linked to the monitor with a HDMI-DVI converter cable.

    Tried doing it via the Windows panels instead? They actually work usually.

    Knock it up a notch. Remove the Catalyst manager app (or whatever it's called) completely, and update the driver to the version in Microsoft's repository. Unless you need to do something really funky, like rotate a monitor 90 degrees or have two monitors pretend to be one, you don't need the Catalyst thing at all.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Unless you need to do something really funky, like rotate a monitor 90 degrees
     

    WHOOPS.

    I have 1 rotated monitor because it's better. Why is it "funky"?

     

    I used to have, unbeknownst to me, the standard MS driver for my previous computer/video card, and games performance was total shit until I wisened up and installed catalyst and its driver. But maybe the standard MS driver for this one has improved. Who knows.



  • @dhromed said:

    I have 1 rotated monitor because it's better. Why is it "funky"?

    Any configuration used by <1% of the population is funky. Using it is fine, but just realize: it's funky. You might have issues. Get up, get on up. Be on the scene. Like a sex machine.



  •  I should play that song.



  • @El_Heffe said:

    @DOA said:

    made sure I was up to date on everything, video driver, Java, relevant libraries, Windows updates, fresh underwear, it was all good.
    You forgot clean socks.  @DOA said:
    Seriously, wtf is going on over at ATI?
    I haven't used an ATI video card in a few years but my last experience with them was even worse than yours.   It woud appear that it's business as usual.


     

    at least when ATI's video drivers break you know it immediately.   FreeSpace 2 open had something like... 50 bugs under video issues all logged because of driver issues.  not a single one of those driver issues were ATI.  nVidia cannot implement the standards to save their own hind ends.



  • @Zemm said:

    Wasn't the Voodoo 3 limited to 16 bit colour modes?

    Yuuup. Quoted as one of the biggest shots-in-the-foot of the company's. Second being the fact that some kind of postprocessing has been offloaded to the output chip, which meant the screenshots taken from the framebuffer shown lower quality graphics than you really saw on the screen.



  • I've never had a problem with ATI drivers or catalyst, despite using several generations of their cards (back from iirc an X1600 Pro in 2006). Consensus used to be that nvidia had "better" drivers back in the day, but from what I've heard that has changed over the last several years.

    Iirc, for 2 or 3 years, Nvidia couldn't even do hardware color space conversion correctly when playing back video using video overlay (ie hardware accelerated). For some stupid reason, YUV (etc) => RGB conversions were mapped into the (analog) "TV" output range of 16-235, instead of the normal 0-255 range used for monitors (be they CRT or LCD, and over VGA or DVI), resulting it "washed out" movie playback etc (white appears as light grey, and black as dark grey) - and it happened irrespective of the actual video output being used.

    Oh look I dug up an nvidia forum post I responded to 3 years ago, so I dont have to repeat the rant.

    Iirc, Nvidia finally corrected it in their 2xx series drivers, with a colour space setting in their display control panel, I think they added the setting in the late 1xx drivers but it didnt actually work.



  • @Kazan said:

    not a single one of those driver issues were ATI.

    That's because FSO is OpenGL-only, so they gave up on testing (and trying to play on) ATI long ago. ;)



  • @dr spock said:

    I've never had a problem with ATI drivers or catalyst, despite using several generations of their cards (back from iirc an X1600 Pro in 2006).

    From very fresh experience I can assure you that at least up until X800, just about anything OpenGL meant program crashes at best, and more often bluescreens. I have a computer with an X800 right here in this room, used daily by someone who plays games a lot.
    Yes, I've tried swapping drivers all over the version ladder. Yes, the hardware is good. Yes, the bluescreens are in ATI OpenGL driver.
    Myself? My old GF6800 quietly killed its cooler, and then cooked itself over the course of next few days. I've moved the plug back to the i915 integrated, and don't care the slightest. No time for games since a year now. :(



  • There are two types of people in this world:

    1) "ATI drivers have always been crap, nVidia stuff works pretty well and always has" people, and
    2) "nVidia drivers have always been crap, ATI stuff works pretty well and always has" people

    They can't both be correct. So I just split the difference, assume that both ATI and nVidia suck, and attribute the rest to placebo effect/lack of familiarity.



  • The general case: All hardware sucks as much as all those enterprise software packages we always rant about, and drivers aren't actually interface layers: in truth they're the set of known patches and fixes you need to get the thing running at all, but nobody ever tells you that.

    DX and OpenGL are, in fact, a big heap of Decorators, nullwrappers and trycatchers.

     



  • Hmm, even John Carmack thinks that TRWTF is OpenGL now (or at least that DX is better)...



  • @dhromed said:

    DX and OpenGL are, in fact, a big heap of Decorators, nullwrappers and trycatchers.



  • @dhromed said:

    Now that we're on the Ati bashing course, anyone know why this machine won't detect my second monitor on every boot, but apparently it's there and detected perfectly fine and Catalyst simply isn't extending the desktop to it or something?

    They're on a video card with DVI and HDMI out, and the HDMI is linked to the monitor with a HDMI-DVI converter cable.

     

    Curious. I just put an ASUS 3450 Radeon AGP card (if that's not thread-killing suckage, I do not know what is) in my poor old PC, with my main screen on DVI1 at long last. I've put the Mac's screen on VGA (its also connected to the Mac on DVI) and I notice that the Radeon detects the second display (make and model, maximum resolution etc) and will send a signal to it when I extend my display onto it, but the picture is blank (LED is blue, backlight is on). If I lower the resolution, the screen chastises me for not giving it 1280×1024, implying that it's normally getting its desired display rates. Stupid thing. However, ATI's OpenGL bugs are far, far fewer than those in the blindingly craptastic Intel GMA drivers of yore.

    1 I didn't realise how truly awful DVI is until moving to it at home and at work, and now finding that I get random judders, random weird rectangles for a single frame, batches of blank frames and brief white and green lines across the display. This is with ATI's "make DVI not suck" options both on, and off. And yes that includes the LP2065, of which I now have two. I can't switch from DVI to VGA on the fly with a Radeon HX 2400 XT, so I need to find time to work in some reboots to test going back to analogue on a display with only DVI-I inputs (it looks like the DVI to VGA doohickeys don't let you convert VGA out into a DVI-I in, even though it should be the same thing – just isolating the analogue lines)



  • @blakeyrat said:

    There are two types of people in this world:

    1) "ATI drivers have always been crap, nVidia stuff works pretty well and always has" people, and
    2) "nVidia drivers have always been crap, ATI stuff works pretty well and always has" people

    They can't both be correct. So I just split the difference, assume that both ATI and nVidia suck, and attribute the rest to placebo effect/lack of familiarity.

    Don't forget attributing stuff to the driver that is really the fault of the hardware.



  • @blakeyrat said:

    Knock it up a notch. Remove the Catalyst manager app (or whatever it's called) completely, and update the driver to the version in Microsoft's repository. Unless you need to do something really funky, like rotate a monitor 90 degrees or have two monitors pretend to be one, you don't need the Catalyst thing at all.

    QFT. Blakey's spot on here. The [i]Catalyst Control Center[/i] management app is a complete piece of trash. Nine out of ten times it doesn't install correctly or boot up correctly, which results in Windows event logs being hammered with error entries continuously. If you have an ATI card and have noticed that something is continuously accessing your harddrive, then uninstall CCC and enjoy the blisfull silence thereafter.

    Unless you are a control freak who wants to tune everything you really don't need CCC for anything. The important stuff can all be configured from Windows' own control panel. Atleast with installing the Catalyst driver through Windows Update you'll get a WHQL-certified driver that ATI had to ship to Microsoft for review. Stands within reason those will have been given a more critical review than the flavor of the week ATI directly puts out on the web. (Oh; and you won't have to deal with yet another 'auto-updater-packaged-into-PoS-customized-installer'.)



  • In the bad old days of Windows 2000 when I ran Matrox AGP cards, Microsoft's supplied drivers were stupendous garbage, and would frequently corrupt the display then hang the system. Only by using the proper Matrox drivers did I get a working video card.

    With ATI, I always install the drivers first, and then .NET, to block CCC from installing. I notice that, at long last, CCC is optional! Hooray!

    I installed CCC on my work PC to get the "pretty please make DVI work" checkboxes, but those don't do anything, so it looks like back to analogue for me. Otherwise, for serious purposes, e.g. dual displays on a work PC, CCC is beyond pointless. At least in XP it doesn't keep blanking the display like the current GMA drivers (blegh).

    Now, what I want to know is when Windows 7 will actually remember your video gamma settings ..... ;-)



  • @dr spock said:

    Filed under: TRWTF is why anyone would want the 16-235 range at all

    Speaking of things nobody needs: The Catalyst Control Center installs a shell context menu handler so that when you right click say a directory in Explorer, the first item is "Start ATI Catalyst Control Center". Because that's what you usually want to do when browsing the file system.

     


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