Take a guess at why AMD cards are having problems running Project CARS

Earlier today, Kotaku released their benchmark and analysis for the PC version of Project CARS, a game that has pushed our tiny site into viral territory with our scathing review of the hype and marketing tactics surrounding the unofficial-yet-official third entry in the Need for Speed Shift franchise.

Both Slightly Mad Studios and Kotaku place the poor performance of AMD hardware during benchmark tests solely in the hands of AMD themselves, saying they hadn’t bothered to work hand-in-hand with Slightly Mad Studios to optimize the game for AMD cards.


You know why I don’t buy any of that? Here’s one of the splash screens you see upon booting up Project CARS:

pCARS 2015-05-11 18-11-33-33

And here are some examples of trackside advertisements, the full gallery of which can be found here:

B2kBliU fOPVPLs L5E7p8C nBnxnaz Nfej9mU wtZl517 YbsOKF4 Ykgl5cN Zh4Ya2G

Yeah I wonder why it doesn’t perform very well, or at all on PC’s running AMD hardware…

pcars_c_1920hOne user on an Australian PC hardware forum seems to have some answers as to why this huge performance gap exists, but unfortunately I’m not a tech guy so I have no idea if he knows what he’s talking about or not.


14 thoughts on “Take a guess at why AMD cards are having problems running Project CARS

  1. Actually, it’s both a little more simple and complicated than that.

    Firstly, I clearly recall reading a statement from one of the developers that PhysX does not handle any actual important physics besides when the car is in flight and not in contact with the ground plane. According to their statements, no part of the ‘contact patch’ physics (which is mostly bullshit, their tire model isn’t nearly as advanced as they attempt to portray) is handled by PhysX. As far as I’m aware, these PhysX calculations are generally only handling the leaves, goat shit/’rubber’ and bits of trash from the cars. Needless the say, these are essentially particle effects with very little in the way of accuracy. In support of my understanding, there’s no native support for PhysX on either console. It’s a senseless shortcut that would make zero sense for GCN hardware that complies with standardized APIs. All the current consoles are comprised of AMD hardware, nvidia has absolutely zero hardware implemented.

    As for the driver optimization…. SMS tied their engine into NVidia gameworks about as intrinsically as possible.

    It’s absolutely impossible for AMD effectively optimize around pre-compiled binaries that cannot be bypassed in the rendering pipeline. AMD already clearly explained the situation when other titles pulled the exact same BS (ubisoft is one of the worst offenders).

    Essentially, SMS developed entirely around a GPU software suite intended for mass-produced generic re-skin titles, a suite that is only useful for pushing out the latest cash-grab as quickly and shoddily as possible.

    Then, when the inevitable performance issues appear that all informed and non-corrupt developers knew would exist, they are asking AMD to magically de-obfuscate NVidia’s closed, pre-compiled libraries. This is a giant problem for shader optimization and other similar, very basic optimization routines. Yes, with a vast amount of work and attention, the optimization can be improved. However, the relative performance is intrinsically harmed and nothing besides vastly more powerful hardware can overcome such deeply integrated roadblocks.

    Lastly, there’s absolutely nothing that SMS has implemented that could not have been done with Direct Compute, the STANDARDIZED cross-vendor compute API.

    Frankly, I think AMD should tell SMS, Ian Bell and anyone that decided this was a reasonable modern developer practice to go **** themselves. They should issue a public warning to their customers instructing them to immediately request a refund.

    The amount of pure lies coming from SMS is truly astounding.

    LikeLiked by 1 person

    1. OH, I nearly forgot….

      Since everyone is suddenly concerned about WHQL drivers (even though AMD’s beta drivers are almost always very stable and have any resultant regressions clearly disclosed), let’s ask exactly why SMS finalized the minimum and recommended specifications for this title when they definitely had a clear driver to target their estimations on.

      Kotaku is entirely comprised of ignorant shills that cannot even handle basic logic.

      LikeLiked by 1 person

    2. aww crap. I am seeing so much of this information too late! I really thought this game would be passable. Now it looks like you can never get this running well on AMD hardware! How the heck did I miss this?!


      1. That seems to have been their plan all along.

        Anyways, it’s not as if the game entirely unplayable. It’s just comparatively very poor performance. Until we see actual frame-time analysis, it will be difficult to accurately compare performance. Some of the issues that would normally appear to be performance related (such as replay camera jitter during certain camera animations) are actually present on all systems, it’s just shoddy developers ignoring problems.

        AMD can work around the problems to some degree and will likely get a decent performance uplift, even though It will take magnitudes of effort above and beyond standard optimization. Since they have already been forced to deal with these libraries before and probably have some sort of gameworks optimization routine prepared, perhaps it won’t be quite as difficult as it was previously

        Really though, I think they need to take a stand by fighting back against developers that pull this sort of nonsense. Way too apologetic and nice about the situation.

        I can just see SMS contacting AMD; “Hey, we made this game specifically for NVidia hardware and utilized closed libraries that we don’t even understand, now you need to fix it.” No matter how they worded it, that was the reality of the situation. AMD had every right to ignore them.

        Anyone remember shift 2 and the ‘future-proof’ development? It just was and still is badly optimized.

        The fact that SLI does not scale at all in pcars is another excellent example of just how inept SMS actually is. They can’t even get proper support going for a single vendor.


  2. Kinda unrelated to this particular post, but, I’ve been wondering what your opinion is on Wreckfest (nextcargame)? I know it’s not a sim but the handling and physics seems right up there, if not better than Project Cars. PC’s crash physics and damage model are terrible IMHO, especially for the supposed ‘be all and end all’ of PC car sims.


    1. I don’t think there’s any real comparison. Bugbear clearly knows what their doing and has a pretty excellent engine/IP. I haven’t had a chance to test it in a good number of months, but the basic necessities already had a pretty impressive level of polish.

      It was also already incredibly well optimized. Bugbear understands the correct order for development. Make sure the base is sound and efficient before building further and don’t hire a team that is 99% asset artists and UI people that do not understand any other aspect of the game.


    1. Not sure if you’re trying to make a point with that comment, or just passing along information.

      Anyways, notice that the ‘article’ or whatever this is says that grid 2 topped the retail charts in 2013.

      “becoming the first racing game to take first place since GRID 2 in 2013.”

      Secondly, I don’t see any citations or indication of how those metrics were generated. Was that for one day? A week? However the data was collected, I wouldn’t be surprised if project cars managed to place at the top of a list that contains no actual recent releases. Project Cars managed to slip out during a convenient lull in releases.

      Never heard of that website, either. Could easily be a complete fabrication.


      1. (wish I could edit comments)

        Also, “triple-screen compatibility”.

        Nope. Triple-screen is functionally broken. Clearly whoever wrote that little announcement didn’t do any research.


  3. What part of the triple screen isnt working correctly? Mine is fine? Cant say the same for my FPS though!! (280x card)


  4. The argument about Project CARS being gimped on AMD hardware is completely nullified by the game being completely optimized for AMD hardware on both consoles. So yes, driver it is.


  5. I love AMD. NVidia is an evil anti consumer anti dev company. With driver magic AMD.can fix this. Hell my 290x managed to run all the nvidia “exclusive” effects in far cry 4 just fine with no performance hit. 1080p/60fps so its just gonna take time.

    AMD makes better hardware which is why nvidia has GameWorks and tries to.screw AMD over…and gamers. If AMD can’t fix this its because slightly mad doesn’t want them to because its easily possible.

    Hell alien isolation with a modified config to enhance graphics and also with nVidia features turned on running at 4k can hit 120frames per second on my 290x so there is zero excuse aside from.SMS being lying lazy idiots.

    If they dont fix it I’ll report to the BBB and never buy their games again and since all my friends ask me what games to buy I’ll say not this or any others. I buy multiple games per week and invest tons of money in of hardware so they would do well to keep enthusiasts on their side


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