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the Witcher 3 arrives with an extra free key for a BTR community member!
We have an extra key as our first giveaway for a BTR Community member tonight.  We purchased a discounted GOG the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt key from GreenManGaming on Friday so that we could preload the game, and we also received a reviewer's key from Nvidia yesterday which we will keep for ourselves!witcher3 2015-05-19 08-28-17-02

We just finished downloading the PC game at 5AM today.  The game looks spectacular and it appears to be an improvement in every way over the earlier two games of the Witcher series.  With an expanded universe offering over 100 hours of gameplay, and with a somewhat redesigned combat system, the third installment is the largest and most detailed Witcher yet, continuing Geralt of Rivia's adventures with the Wild Hunt.  Capable of destroying entire settlements overnight, the Wild Hunt is an enemy deadlier than anything the Witcher has faced previously.

The Witcher 3 uses the RedEngine 3 to produce upgraded visuals in an open world game, combining it with the choices of an RPG that have consequences.  We are playing the game now, mostly on ultra settings using a TITAN X, and it is very demanding.  The game uses Nvidia's GameWorks, including HairWorks, HBAO+, and Nvidia PhysX (Clothing and Destruction) for more realism.witcher3 2015-05-19 08-50-03-64

Previous techniques used polygon strips and alpha masks resulting in less realism.  HairWorks can draw the many thousands of individually styled hairs on Geralt and also on many creatures and monsters simultaneously. HairWorks uses DirectX 11 tessellation to renders high volumes of hair when it is needed in a scene, and reduces the number of rendered hairs when characters are further from the camera to allow for a seamless transition.

[caption id="attachment_1206" align="aligncenter" width="600"]witcher3 2015-05-19 08-43-09-75 Our hero looks much the same .. yet different[/caption]

HairWorks is compatible with both Nvidia and AMD GPUs through Direct Compute which allows for a direct comparison of performance. HairWorks will perform best on GPUs with good DX11 tessellation capabilities. And please note that Maxwell GPUs will have an easier time with HairWorks as their tessellation engines are up to three times more capable than Kepler and older generation Nvidia GPUs.

HBAO+ (Horizon Based Ambient Occlusion) adds realistic Ambient Occlusion shadowing and shading around objects and surfaces that occlude light with a considerably-higher degree of precision than previous AO techniques. This helps scenes look more realistic.  Best of all, HBAO+ is a very efficient method of modelling occlusion shadows, and the performance hit is negligible when compared to other existing implementations. In contrast to HBAO+, SSAO suffers from halo-type artifacts, and SSAO also tends to be muddier than HBAO+ as it loses detail in shadowed regions.

Since there is a full day/night cycle in the Witcher 3, proper shadowing and lighting make for a better playing experience.  Since there are many indoor areas lit by ambient lighting sources, HBAO+ enhances candle and torch lighting in the Witcher 3 in a more realistic manner.

Finally, PhysX Clothing and PhysX Destruction are used in the Witcher 3 to provide realistic physics simulation. These effects are built in to the engine of the game and are enabled on all GPU configurations on the PC.

witcher3 2015-05-19 08-31-13-22We are just scratching the surface of the Witcher 3.  We are going to be playing the game with an eye on image quality (IQ) and performance by using several competing video cards from AMD and Nvidia.  The Witcher 3 is going to be BTR's latest (now 34th) benchmark.  And it is becoming very clear that we will not be playing with Ultra/maxed-out details at 4K as frame rates drop into the 20s with a TITAN X!  Our best suggestion is to use the GeForce Experience if you want to set best playable options.

Best of all, one of BTR's Community members will win a free the Witcher 3 Wild Hunt GOG key today!  Watch this thread for an announcement there before 10:30 PM PDT tonight and, you may also be playing the Witcher 3 tomorrow - for free!!

May 20, UPDATE

Congratulations to our winner, SickBeast!!

Happy Gaming & Good Luck!

Patch 1.03 is out 555MB - it just came out and my bandwidth is getting hammered
(no worries, I am due a free 'reset' this month :P )

And here is an interview with the devs about the supposed "downgrade" in visuals
I have a good benchmark and can proceed with benching for my next (not tW3) evaluation.

I played past it, but the best place to bench that I found is very early on and it is extremely repeatable.  Just follow Vesemir closely through the ruined village and steer your horse by only using the A/S keys.  It is a well-rendered outdoor scene with a lot detail and a great sky box and atmosphere.

But it is VERY demanding.  Using a Titan X and playing with every setting completely maxed out (including HairWorks which I assume is the most demanding, but I'll probably leave it on), it averages about 28fps at 4K. It will be a nice goal to aim for, fluid play at 4K with all settings maxed out.

But it does look very very nice for an open world game.  Next gen for sure.  Ignore the Advocates' sour grapes.

(he he)

Breaking news. You can shorten the benchmark AND make it completely AUTOMATED (full: Disclosure, semi-automated) by just holding down the shift key. The horse finds its own path!!!


It is slightly more demanding but within about 3% as the horse runs through the weeds and you see its mane more.
Wow, this looks like a really impressive game. I was intrigued by the first Witcher game, having played about 1-2 hours into it, but just couldn't tolerate the awkward combat system - especially when fighting with fists. It was just outlandishly clumsy and awkward to have to deal with until you figure out the catch-22 to it. I mean, it's like having to read a textbook just to learn how to do the most basic 1-2 step tango move.

One of my older sons might really like the game, so I'm thinking of getting it, unless it's Mature-rated with nudity...?
Ok with science that the big bang theory requires that fundamental scientific laws do not exist for the first few minutes, but not ok for the creator to defy these laws...  Rolleyes
It's very Mature rated with Nudity. Combat is way better so you might consider it for yourself.

(What's wrong with nudity that killing isn't so bad?)

Forbes rips on AMD (for a change) for their extreme laziness with drivers and their reliance on badmouthing Nvidia instead

How long does it take to get a GD driver out for tW3. Clear Huddy is lying again about being "blindsided by Nvidia".

Quote:Huddy claims that when AMD noticed the terrible HairWorks performance on their hardware two months prior to release, that’s when they “specifically asked” CD Projekt Red if they wanted to incorporate TressFX. The developer said “it was too late.”

Well, of course it was too late. Nvidia and CD Projekt Red spent two years optimizing HairWorks for The Witcher 3. But here’s the bottom line: The developer had HairWorks code for nearly two years. The entire world knew this. If AMD had been working with the developer “since the beginning” how on earth could they have been blindsided by this code only 2 months prior to release? None of it adds up, and it points to a larger problem.
The bigger problem is AMD is running out of resources and slowly going out of business. All they have left is their destructive Advocates to piss on our tech forums to do hard-selling for them.

It's pretty clear their drivers of late are pretty bad and CF is not working well again. If they even bother to release a driver. Instead of throwing their money away on garbage (Mantle), they could have done something useful like optimizing for DX 11 games.

What a disaster of a company the management have made out of a once quality company that used to have integrity and vision. R300 won't do anything for them if history teaches us anything. Their marketing is broken and they are relying on lies and amateurs to sell their products.
The omega driver is working perfectly for me in the game even with Hairworks enabled.
Awesome. What frame rates are you getting? Did you try my benchmark?
I haven't been able to run the benchmark yet. I can only play the game when my kids are in bed and I have been very tired this week. I am generally getting about 50fps in the game on high settings with Hairworks fully enabled at 1080p resolution.
So if you are in the tutorial getting 50fps, you will probably be getting high 40s in the open world.  Not bad for a 7970 and a budget dual core! . . . And a free game

High settings look very good; and HairWorks performance hit can be limited in your CP by lowering tessellation settings to 64x, I believe

Sleep? What's that?

I am almost done benching the comparison of Nvidia's latest WHQL which I'll publish this morning comparing the GTX 980 and TITAN X again. I dropped Splinter Cell Blacklist and added tW3. Radeon treatment is next, soon as their new driver is out

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