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ChrisRay
11-05-03, 12:23 PM
So far The list of games that disable Anti Aliasing due to shaders is increasing, Which ticks me off immensely.


Final Fantasy 11, No Anti Aliasing,
Halo, No Anti Aliasing,
Need for Speed Under ground, No Anti Aliasing With shader effects enabled
Splinter Cell.
Petes OpenGL Plugin 2 for Espxe Emulator

(Does Star Wars Galaxy work with Anti Aliasing?)

This trend makes me rather unhappy. As I care more about AA/AF than I do shaders, Is this the direction PC graphics are taking? Because if so. I might as well become a console gamer again.

Shaders are great And all. But Losing AA to use them is not something I can accept.

Dazz
11-05-03, 12:30 PM
Don't know if you remember this but DX9 games tend to have problems with FSAA enabled as it was with the stance with HalfLife 2.

saturnotaku
11-05-03, 12:32 PM
I was under the impression these problems were due to the specifications of DirectX 9, and the only ways they could be fixed were 1) DirectX 9.1 or 2) complete redesigns of graphics hardware.

Of course, I've heard a lot of theories which totally confuses me. But I agree with you CR. We finally have good enough hardware to start taking advantage of AA but now games aren't allowing it. :(

ChrisRay
11-05-03, 12:43 PM
Originally posted by Dazz
Don't know if you remember this but DX9 games tend to have problems with FSAA enabled as it was with the stance with HalfLife 2.

Well there are several reasons actually. Shaders tend to cause problem With Anti aliasing, Which really sucks, I actually turn off shaders if I can get to AA working, Because frankly. Shaders can kiss my prosterior if they going to disable AA,

Or They use odd buffer to texture tricks like using a pbuffer to offrender textures.

Hellbinder
11-05-03, 01:00 PM
Originally posted by ChrisRay
So far The list of games that disable Anti Aliasing due to shaders is increasing, Which ticks me off immensely.


Final Fantasy 11, No Anti Aliasing,
Halo, No Anti Aliasing,
Need for Speed Under ground, No Anti Aliasing With shader effects enabled
Splinter Cell.
Petes OpenGL Plugin 2 for Espxe Emulator

(Does Star Wars Galaxy work with Anti Aliasing?)

This trend makes me rather unhappy. As I care more about AA/AF than I do shaders, Is this the direction PC graphics are taking? Because if so. I might as well become a console gamer again.

Shaders are great And all. But Losing AA to use them is not something I can accept.
NFS:Underground Demo showed no AA when i tested it last night on the 9800XT. I was Thinking the Chrome MP demo was AA less also.. But Im not sure...

Fortunately PS3.0 hardware will offer a new method of AA for all compatible hardware that should resolve most if not all of these issues.

Edit: SWG Works GREAT with AA on the 9800XT.

particleman
11-05-03, 01:01 PM
I am with ChrisRay on this one. I would rather have FSAA than shaders. In Halo you can add disablerendertargets to the config.txt file to disable some effects and enable FSAA. And valve managed to fix FSAA in Halflife 2 but it involved workarounds. For nVidia cards that had to use pixel shaders to clamp textures (I hope this doesn't crush AA performance for the GFFX in HL2). And with ATi they had to access a DX 9.1 feature called centroid antialiasing or something. Since centroid antialiasing is a DX 9.1 feature, hopefully DX 9.1 games will make use of it. There is also the issue that Pete the writer of Pete's OpenGL plugins for ePSXe mentioned, some games as well as his plugins do rendering offscreen which is not AA'ed.

Paul
11-05-03, 01:05 PM
Originally posted by particleman
I am with ChrisRay on this one. I would rather have FSAA than shaders. In Halo you can add disablerendertargets to the config.txt file to disable some effects and enable FSAA. And valve managed to fix FSAA in Halflife 2 but it involved workarounds. For nVidia cards that had to use pixel shaders to clamp textures (I hope this doesn't crush AA performance for the GFFX in HL2). And with ATi they had to access a DX 9.1 feature called centroid antialiasing or something. Since centroid antialiasing is a DX 9.1 feature, hopefully DX 9.1 games will make use of it. There is also the issue that Pete the writer of Pete's OpenGL plugins for ePSXe mentioned, some games as well as his plugins do rendering offscreen which is not AA'ed.

Centroid Sampling, and it's PS3.0

ChrisRay
11-05-03, 01:06 PM
Originally posted by Hellbinder
NFS:Underground Demo showed no AA when i tested it last night on the 9800XT. I was Thinking the Chrome MP demo was AA less also.. But Im not sure...

Fortunately PS3.0 hardware will offer a new method of AA for all compatible hardware that should resolve most if not all of these issues.

Edit: SWG Works GREAT with AA on the 9800XT.

Just FYI, You can get Anti Aliasing in Need for Speed Underground Demo, It's a big pain in the butt, But Disable Lights, trailing Lights, And Motion Blue and AA will kick on.

But you basically lose the shader effects.

AnteP
11-05-03, 01:06 PM
Max Payne 2 "disables" AA when doing certain effects (liek the nightmare/dream stuff etc.)

it's especially stupid when it comes to games with heavy pixel shaders since these games tend to be fillrate/shader limited thus enabling AA with a fairly small performance hit: so this should actually be prime time for AA

ChrisRay
11-05-03, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by AnteP
Max Payne 2 "disables" AA when doing certain effects (liek the nightmare/dream stuff etc.)

it's especially stupid when it comes to games with heavy pixel shaders since these games tend to be fillrate/shader limited thus enabling AA with a fairly small performance hit: so this should actually be prime time for AA

I agree, What frustrates me the most is, W/o AA I might as well put my Geforce 4 back in.

saturnotaku
11-05-03, 01:31 PM
Originally posted by AnteP
Max Payne 2 "disables" AA when doing certain effects (liek the nightmare/dream stuff etc.)


I don't have as much of a problem with AA being disabled at certain times or on certain effects. But when AA flat out doesn't work at all without having to disable things, etc. that's a huge problem. You're right when you say it should be prime time for AA. The hardware is certainly capable of good quality AA without a terribly huge performance hit. I swear, with stuff like this it always seems like it's one step forward, two steps back.

jAkUp
11-05-03, 01:42 PM
i dont notice it too badly, since i play all games at 1600x1200, and for nfs underground, i didnt need to disable headlights to get aa working, just motion blur, and light trails.

i would rather have super visual effects than aa/and or af, cuz i could always just crank the res. i wish games were how they used to be, on the bleeding edge of technology, a la doom, quake... now we have so much power in our systems, we have to force aa and or af to use some of it... which just makes the picture cleaner, doesnt really add to the atmosphere...

however, motion blurring, fog, shadow effects, now that is what adds atmosphere to a game.

just my 2 cents

Edge
11-05-03, 01:44 PM
Yes, I have noticed that it almost seems like we're taking a step BACK as the technology is getting more advanced. I'm suprised that they haven't found an AA method that really works in any shader-enabled games. Hmm, does the Parhelia's 16x Fragment AA work in those games? Well I do hope they find SOME workaround for this issue, it's ironic that we're now forced to choose between AA and Shader effects. So basicly, either use no AA (which makes modern cards about as fast as a GF4), or disable advanced shader effects (which makes modern cards look like Geforce 2s).

Oh, and if I'm not mistaken, SSAA still works fine with shader-enabled games. So it may be worth it on Geforce FX cards to turn on 2x or 4x SSAA if you have games that aren't stressing the videocard and can't increase the resolution. Oh well, guess we'll have to see what kind of a fix they can come up with, or if we'll all have to get new videocards to use AA with shaders.

But how come it's only an issue with some shader effects? Games have been using pixel shaders for water effects since 2001, so why is this issue only cropping up in new games? It can't only be DX9 shaders that cause this, or else GF3/4/ cards wouldn't have problems with AA in games like Halo and Splinter Cell.

Skuzzy
11-05-03, 01:58 PM
This is a programming problem more than anything else. Games that flat out disable AA are not written correctly.

First and foremost, there is a pixel and vertex shader associated with every single vertex/triangle/poly on the display for all DirectX games. It is a base shader that is applied which just handles diffuse/specular/alpha/transformations (when they are defined in the vertex buffer).

There are some shaders where AA cannot be used, but it should not be noticeable by the gamer as those are effects that are usually on the screen for little time.

Anyway, the programmer can enable and disable AA when needed, but it never needs to be done for the entire screen draw, unless the developer has done a poor job of coding the pipeline and decides to take the cheap way out.
Poor job in this context meaning sending the data down the pipeline without reguard to state changes in the pipeline. They may do the proper fill sort using the Z variable, but if they do not do a subsequent state change sort, then they would have to disable AA or their performance would tank even more.
It's either lazy programming or a lack of understanding how the DX pipeline works that is the problem here.

AnteP
11-05-03, 02:05 PM
Originally posted by jAkUp
i dont notice it too badly, since i play all games at 1600x1200, and for nfs underground, i didnt need to disable headlights to get aa working, just motion blur, and light trails.

i would rather have super visual effects than aa/and or af, cuz i could always just crank the res. i wish games were how they used to be, on the bleeding edge of technology, a la doom, quake... now we have so much power in our systems, we have to force aa and or af to use some of it... which just makes the picture cleaner, doesnt really add to the atmosphere...

however, motion blurring, fog, shadow effects, now that is what adds atmosphere to a game.

just my 2 cents

your missing an important point here:
the games we talk about are primarilly shader/fillrate limited
thus AA is often cheaper to enable at 2x or 4x then upping the resolution one notch

so in the end we get tricked on both performance and visuals by this trend

fivefeet8
11-05-03, 02:30 PM
You can also add Silent Hill 3 and Chaos Legion to the list of games which currently disables FSAA for more Pixel Shader effects.

I hope the next gen cards will be able to have AA w/PS effects. NFSu uses a lot of blurs. But is it using VS/PS to do them? I think there are a few PC games which also use blurs and FSAA works fine with thme.

ChrisRay
11-05-03, 02:37 PM
Originally posted by AnteP
your missing an important point here:
the games we talk about are primarilly shader/fillrate limited
thus AA is often cheaper to enable at 2x or 4x then upping the resolution one notch

so in the end we get tricked on both performance and visuals by this trend

That and not everyone has a monitor that does such high resolutions.

ChrisRay
11-05-03, 02:42 PM
Originally posted by fivefeet8
You can also add Silent Hill 3 to the list of games which currently disables FSAA for more Pixel Shader effects.

I hope the next gen cards will be able to have AA w/PS effects. NFSu uses a lot of blurs. But is it using VS/PS to do them? I think there are a few PC games which also use blurs and FSAA works fine with thme.

Well call of duty uses some Blurring effects I noticed when I tried the Demo, But it uses shaders too and AA works fine with it..

Hellbinder
11-05-03, 03:14 PM
Originally posted by Edge
Yes, I have noticed that it almost seems like we're taking a step BACK as the technology is getting more advanced. I'm suprised that they haven't found an AA method that really works in any shader-enabled games. Hmm, does the Parhelia's 16x Fragment AA work in those games? Well I do hope they find SOME workaround for this issue, it's ironic that we're now forced to choose between AA and Shader effects. So basicly, either use no AA (which makes modern cards about as fast as a GF4), or disable advanced shader effects (which makes modern cards look like Geforce 2s).

Oh, and if I'm not mistaken, SSAA still works fine with shader-enabled games. So it may be worth it on Geforce FX cards to turn on 2x or 4x SSAA if you have games that aren't stressing the videocard and can't increase the resolution. Oh well, guess we'll have to see what kind of a fix they can come up with, or if we'll all have to get new videocards to use AA with shaders.

But how come it's only an issue with some shader effects? Games have been using pixel shaders for water effects since 2001, so why is this issue only cropping up in new games? It can't only be DX9 shaders that cause this, or else GF3/4/ cards wouldn't have problems with AA in games like Halo and Splinter Cell.
As i said above. There is a better form of AA comming that is Shader Friendly. Its actually part of the PS3.0 Specification (i think). When teh R420 and Nv40 hit these kinds of issues will go away.

Actually the Radeons are capable of running the new AA method on their Current hardware. I am not sure the performacne hit or other associated issues though.

saturnotaku
11-05-03, 03:21 PM
Originally posted by Skuzzy
It's either lazy programming or a lack of understanding how the DX pipeline works that is the problem here.

I don't think it's so much a lack of understading of DirectX so much as, "We're writing this game for the Xbox, GameCube, PS2 and PC. We gotta get all these ports out the door ASAP. Do whatever you gotta do to make sure the game runs and get it on the shelves."

I'll give devs the benefit of the doubt in term of laziness. I think it's more due to the fact that they're under the gun to get games out the door for all platforms. This is especially true this time of year with the Christmas shopping season fast approaching.

You'll notice that the vast majority of these games with broken AA are console ports and/or are available on a console. With HL2, which obviously is being developed for the PC first, the developers have acknowledged the problem and are taking the time to fix it as best they can.

Sledge
11-05-03, 03:45 PM
Originally posted by Hellbinder
As i said above. There is a better form of AA comming that is Shader Friendly. Its actually part of the PS3.0 Specification (i think). When teh R420 and Nv40 hit these kinds of issues will go away.

That is all well and good but people would like to use AA right now rather than wait 4-6 months and pay several hundred dollars for a next-gen card. What is the point of adding these features only to have bad/inexperienced programmers not let you use them?

Personally I don't care much for AA as I play all games (except Halo) at 1600x1200.

AnteP
11-05-03, 05:17 PM
Originally posted by Hellbinder
As i said above. There is a better form of AA comming that is Shader Friendly. Its actually part of the PS3.0 Specification (i think). When teh R420 and Nv40 hit these kinds of issues will go away.

Actually the Radeons are capable of running the new AA method on their Current hardware. I am not sure the performacne hit or other associated issues though.

You're not referring to the fact that ATi supports centroid sampling right? Because that's not really a fix for this at all. It's rather just a fix for artifacting along polygon boundaries caused by the usage of (excessive) lightmaps and MSAA.

ChrisRay
11-05-03, 08:35 PM
Ya, I just tried the two modes of 2x Super Sampling Anti aliasing, and the 3 Modes of 4x Super Sampling. And it's still not working. Theoeretically. Super Sampling would not have the issues Hellbinder describes.

So I believe they are just disabling AA rather than actually working on it for the desired effect.

Edge
11-06-03, 12:55 AM
Oh, in reference to the person who asked if any games simply disable AA for a limited time when it uses certain effects like bluring, the answer is yes. I've seen quite a few games that work fine with AA, and then when they use a motion blur or similar effect, AA is disabled. I'm not sure if they intentionally disable it or if it's just a side-effect of the motion blur, but I know that games like Soul Reaver 2 work fine with AA and do use motion blur effects in some areas. Though in Soul Reaver 2 the option for AA is grayed out when full-screen effects are on, and vice-versa, but if you force it through the control panel it works fine.

However, I'm almost sure that motion blur is not a shader effect, as I remember seeing the same effect with Black and White on my Voodoo 3 card. But it's odd that PS2 game ports use enough shader effects to make AA unusable, the PS2 doesn't have ANY shaders, what effects would require the use of pixel shaders in PC hardware?

bloodbob
11-06-03, 03:58 AM
Okay here is the problem
1. FF is poorly coded it has no mipmaping WTF thats just stuiped.
2. Nearly Everything including some degree of FF
3. Some other games do things that are very AA unfriendly and basicly nothing but your V5/V6 can do AA on it.


Such things as reflection are done by rendering what a mirror would see this is then stored into a texture. ( mirror isn't the only example but generally it was sutff that didn't need ultra sharp quality )

Now what the hardware manufactors have done atleast in the drivers is whenever something is rendered a image instead of the screen they disabled AA and AF to increase preformance its pretty damn valid because you don't need super accurate reflections generally they aren't even rendered at a pretty low resolution.

This is where the problem comes in to do some special effects the developer has to render the whole screen to a texture and then do some 2D effects on the screen but of course because its rendered to a image AA and AF automatically get disabled.

Now I'm not sure if this is a DX limitation or a driver or a hardware one but in the future developers will be able to direct the card to render to a image WITH AF and AA which will fix these problems.

There is a alternate tempory solution is which A DEVELOPER could render a scene at a higher resolution and down sample to do SSAA but its gonna cost ALOT in preformance.