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XCOM 2 tested on R7 370 with Crimson and RadeonSI

Posted by , 5 February 2016 at 2:48 pm UTC / 7784 views
You have seen Liam's port report of XCOM 2 on Nvidia hardware and it's time for me to take a look at the AMD performance. So, let's take the R7 370 on a spin with both the open and the proprietary drivers!

For testing purposes we are using the latest Crimson driver (version 15.12) and Mesa 11.2-git built against LLVM 3.9. The testing rig is using Xubuntu 15.10 with kernel 4.2.0.

You might be already aware of the fact that XCOM 2 didn't ship in a perfect condition. Especially the performance isn't quite there even on extremely powerful hardware. As you might expect, that problem also carries over to AMD's side. On Minimal and Low settings both drivers can render the game at around 30 FPS with occasional jumps up to 40s and even 50s. If you increase the settings above Low the game will start to run a little too slowly for a smooth experience. Changing the resolution from 720p to 1080p didn't yield noticeable performance loss or gain.

Now, that performance would be playable considering XCOM 2 is a turn-based strategy game but there is another issue that can quite effectively ruin your fun. The game often drops the framerate to single digits. On Crimson these drops seemed less frequent but especially RadeonSI was suffering from nearly constant stuttering and the framerate would only remain stable if you did absolutely nothing. Moving the camera around will cause stuttering, moving your units around will cause stuttering, even the in-engine cinematics often turned into slideshows.

Visually the game looks better on Mesa than it does on Crimson. I was warned about graphical glitches but the bugs I saw were quite minor and none of them affected the gameplay in any way. Some lights are positioned slightly wrong but all the textures and models appeared to be in good condition. Even on higher graphical settings the game seemed to render the game just fine, though a lot slower than is desirable.

Below you can see a screenshot of the game running on Mesa on Low to Minimal settings.

image

On Crimson there were more visible graphical glitches. Once again they were quite minor but they are visible nonetheless. In addition to the small lighting glitches seen on Mesa, the soldiers seem to have some weird red colour on them which is not normally present.

You can see the odd colouring on the leftmost soldier's weapon in the screenshot below.

image

XCOM 2 is quite obviously not perfect on AMD hardware but it's not the huge disaster some predicted it to be when they saw that XCOM 2 wouldn't support AMD hardware. On open source drivers the stuttering is really bad though and Crimson doesn't render the game quite right but the Crimson performance seems to be good enough to be acceptable if not particularly enjoyable. The game does require some heavy optimizations though on both major GPU vendors and I would personally recommend especially the AMD users to wait for some of the issues to be resolved before picking the game up. If you absolutely have to play the game on AMD rigs I recommend using the Crimson driver for a more stable performance.
Comments on this article are now closed.
Ser Eduardo Mogambro commented on 5 February 2016 at 3:23 pm UTC

Thank you very much for your report! I'll be buying as soon as this runs acceptable with the open source drivers.


Perkeleen_Vittupää commented on 5 February 2016 at 3:43 pm UTC

I wonder how swiftly will Feral react to these problems? It's very important to make this much more playable and soon as it's one of those day 1 titles for Linux gaming. I suppose it's not the drivers, but the game itself as other platforms also suffer the same way..


PublicNuisance commented on 5 February 2016 at 3:46 pm UTC
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This is part of the reason I don't buy games at launch. I give them at least 3 months to be patched. Hopefully Xcom 2 is in better shape then.


edddeduck_feral commented on 5 February 2016 at 5:08 pm UTC

PerkeleenVittupI wonder how swiftly will Feral react to these problems? It's very important to make this much more playable and soon as it's one of those day 1 titles for Linux gaming. I suppose it's not the drivers, but the game itself as other platforms also suffer the same way..

Any rendering issues in the game are usually down to the drivers, we worked on AMD support (and Intel) throughout development but by release some driver issues still remained for AMD hardware. As the drivers are improved (or workarounds for driver bugs are found) then we can add official support.

The reason the game renders as well as it does on AMD right now with both the Crimson and Mesa drivers is down to the work completed during development by our developers and testers, however there are still issues outstanding preventing support.

As with all our other games we'll keep you all updated if/when AMD support is announced in the future as the issues above are closed off.


Slackdog commented on 5 February 2016 at 6:54 pm UTC

And thisis why the next Feral game I buy will be from their site.


oldrocker99 commented on 5 February 2016 at 6:57 pm UTC
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I'll get it once I finish the first; I'm not the best at tactical games


AnxiousInfusion commented on 5 February 2016 at 6:59 pm UTC

edddeduckferalThe reason the game renders as well as it does on AMD right now with both the Crimson and Mesa drivers is down to the work completed during development by our developers and testers, however there are still issues outstanding preventing support.

As with all our other games we'll keep you all updated if/when AMD support is announced in the future as the issues above are closed off.

Do you see AMD GPUopen initiative influencing this stance in the future? Or is this simply a manpower issue?


etonbears commented on 6 February 2016 at 11:08 pm UTC

edddeduckferal
PerkeleenVittupI wonder how swiftly will Feral react to these problems? It's very important to make this much more playable and soon as it's one of those day 1 titles for Linux gaming. I suppose it's not the drivers, but the game itself as other platforms also suffer the same way..

Any rendering issues in the game are usually down to the drivers, we worked on AMD support (and Intel) throughout development but by release some driver issues still remained for AMD hardware. As the drivers are improved (or workarounds for driver bugs are found) then we can add official support.

The reason the game renders as well as it does on AMD right now with both the Crimson and Mesa drivers is down to the work completed during development by our developers and testers, however there are still issues outstanding preventing support.

As with all our other games we'll keep you all updated if/when AMD support is announced in the future as the issues above are closed off.

While I'm sure there are cases where driver implementations are at odds with the specifications, or where edge and corner cases in the myriad driver code paths have not been found before, I don't think it fair so much is blamed on the drivers.

Today's high-end GPUs can process data at > 300 GBytes/sec while the PCIe bus and the single CPU core feeding commands and data to/from the GPU can only process about 6GBytes/sec. Conversely, Intel graphics, AMD APUs ( and the current console generation ) don't have to suffer the PCIe bus at all, and all CPU and GPU cores process data in the same memory. These massively different hardware environments actually require an application/game to use an adaptive design depending on the hardware present, but not all do.

Traditional game engine design has the CPU ( preferably using cores other than the one feeding OpenGL ) responsible for processing global game activity, game AI, collision detection etc for each frame, and only once the "state" of a frame is determined does the engine use the GPU to render that state as an image in the framebuffer, transferring additional data to the GPU as needed. This sort of design still works OK for Intel graphics and AMD APU because there the GPU shares CPU memory directly; but modern discrete GPUs are often heavily under-used with such a design, and can suffer significant stalling while waiting for the CPU to complete its tasks or PCIe to transfer data.

Recognition of this problem is why we have OpenGL 4.x, which is designed to allow developers to treat the GPU as a much more general purpose processor, performing tasks that would otherwise be carried out on the CPU. The more of a game's tasks that can be run on a discrete GPU, the less likely that GPU is to be restricted by waiting on the CPU and PCIe bus. However, if you don't adapt the game for the OpenGL 4 model and confinue to use the OpenGL 3.x model ( to cater for those installations that only have OpenGL 3, for example ), then you are almost certain to have unexpectedly poor performance with newer GPUs.

One of Ferel's other ports, Shadow of Mordor, is a good example of a demanding game that works very well. If the AMD drivers were "bad" and "buggy" as a lot of people seem to think, this game would be a disaster. In fact, ( sample of one ) it worked flawlessly. Frame rates were consistent, load times low, rendering seemed perfect. I struggled to understand why Feral said AMD was not supported.

As far as I understand it, the reason why drivers are being continually updated is to add bespoke code paths for the actual way a given game or application uses the driver, as opposed to the way they were supposed to use it. You could argue as to who is at fault here. It should be crystal clear from the specification how a developer should use it, and how a driver will behave, but I.m not sure it always is.

What does seem to be true is that NVidia do a better job at updating their driver suite to provide per game optimised driver configurations. But, whether this is because they have a better mechanism for this in their drivers, or just because they dedicate more resources to the task I don't know.

Just as I don't think it reasonable to always blame the drivers, I think that blaming Feral ( as some people are ) is also unreasonable. Ultimately, they are porting an existing design, with all it's faults and limitations, often also using engines or middle-ware from third parties. The quality of what comes out of Feral's process is certainly no worse than the PC game industry norm; it is a separate question as to whether you consider that norm acceptable.


Last edited by etonbears at 6 February 2016 at 11:10 pm UTC


edddeduck_feral commented on 26 February 2016 at 4:17 pm UTC

We’re happy to report that the 1.0.1 hot fix update for XCOM 2 (Mac/Linux) is now available. This update will automatically install when starting the Steam client. If it doesn’t automatically, restart Steam. This update includes all the fixes contained in the Windows hotfix released last week. Details of all the fixes are listed below.

Mac/Linux Fixes
* Player is unable to progress to scan in the Geoscape after completing the Resistance Communications research via Tutorial - This will fix previously affected saves.
* Unable to load saves with a Chryssalid Cocoon – This will fix the issue, and for previously affected saves.
* Using the preview voice button for a modded voice pack will no longer crash the game when in the armoury.
* Improvements to frame rate and in level hitching.
* Fixed issues with Mods not enabling on some machines
* Improved “Refresh” button behaviour in modding panel
* Fixed issue with Shen’s leg flickering
* Fixed issue when switching from Japanese to other languages.
* Various minor improvements.

Linux Specific Fixes
* Fixed rare corruption caused by LC_ALL flag in users .bashrc file
* Fixed discoloured pink/blue smoke on some Nvidia hardware
* Updated warnings for users using unsupported Nvidia drivers
* Fixed Red Lights above units in level on some Nvidia hardware
* Fixed conflict between depth of field and bloom on some Nvidia hardware
* Fixed crash on launch when VPN or other virtual networks are enabled.
* Fixed Fountains out of game area not correctly fogged

We will continue our patch support over the coming months with additional fixes and performance updates. If you have any issues or questions with the Mac/Linux hotfix please contact our support team via email xcom2support@feralinteractive.com or go to our website http://support.feralinteractive.com


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