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Rage patched on PC, Carmack comments on botched launch


Blurry textures acted as a clear indicator of a botched game launch for id Software's Rage last week. Plagued by serious technical problems, the PC version angered customers with driver issues, texture pop-in and a surprising dearth of graphical options. A patch has since addressed several of these shortcomings, and id co-founder John Carmack has commented on the graphics driver issues -- what he calls a "cluster!@#$" -- that prevented some players from making it past the intro.

Speaking to Kotaku, Carmack pins some of the blame on incorrect drivers issued by graphics card vendors. "When launch day came around and the wrong driver got released, half of our PC customers got a product that basically didn't work." And though he admits that problems with old and exotic setups are to be expected, "we were not happy with the experience on what should be prime platforms."

Of course, product launches such as these reinforce the belief that publishers consider every system a "prime platform." It's just that some are more prime than others. "You can choose to design a game around the specs of a high-end PC and make console versions that fail to hit the design point, or design around the specs of the consoles and have a high-end PC provide incremental quality improvements," Carmack says. "We chose the latter."

It's an appropriate stance in the big business of multiplatform games, but even those incremental quality improvements were hard to find on launch day. We can confirm that the latest PC patch introduces several graphical settings which had already been snuck in through user-made configuration files, including anisotropic filtering, texture cache size and V-sync, which also has a "smart" option that allows tearing only when framerate drops below 60.

(Note: We had trouble getting the V-sync option to stick, since the Nvidia profile for Rage defaults to "Force Off." To correct this, set it to "3D application controlled.")

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