AMD Gaming Scientist Carpet Bombs 'Tragic' And 'Damaging' NVIDIA GameWorks

The increasingly bitter war between Nvidia and AMD just hit a new low, with AMD Gaming Scientist Richard Huddy yet again going on the offensive and slinging accusations at Team Green over its proprietary GameWorks technology. Huddy calls it "tragic" and "unhealthy for PC gaming."

Richard Huddy

If you're even remotely entrenched in either company's graphics card ecosystem, you're likely aware of the mud-slinging over Nvidia's GameWorks, specifically surrounding more recent titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt. Only a couple months ago, AMD's Huddy accused Nvidia of not only deliberately sabotaging the game's performance on Radeon hardware -- but also of handicapping their own GeForce GTX video cards. 

The back and forth on that particular story was dizzying, but for me there were two interesting takeaways: First, a Reddit user did more to improve performance on Radeon cards than apparently AMD could. Second, TressFX wasn't in The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and Nvidia's HairWorks was. I bring that up because I'd love to see AMD spend more of their energy being proactive about their own gaming tech, working aggressively to have it included in AAA games, rather than sending Huddy on his endless anti-GameWorks crusade. 

Let's get back to Huddy's new statements. In a forthcoming interview with PCR, he says "Nvidia Gameworks typically damages the performance on Nvidia hardware as well, which is a bit tragic really. It certainly feels like it’s about reducing the performance, even on high-end graphics cards, so that people have to buy something new." There are probably volumes of data to both prove and disprove this theory (this concept of "planned obsolescence" is also something Apple is frequently accused of) so let's just leave that on the table. 

gameworks effects

Huddy also cites things like the tessellation of unseen water in Crysis 2, which is now a four year old game. AMD's gaming scientist really reaches when he says the following: "If you look through the Metacritic scores of the games that Nvidia works with, they’re often quite damaged by the Gameworks inclusion, or at least the games themselves don’t score as well as you’d hope. So I think it’s unhealthy for PC gaming."

I'm 100% certain that games are scored primarily on important things like gameplay, story, characters, voice acting, and combat mechanics, not the level of tessellation a wolf's mane has in The Witcher 3 or how well executed the PhysX system is or isn't in the latest Batman game. To even suggest that Nvidia is to blame for a low Metacritic score is downright shameful. Conversely, I didn't see the 23% performance boost in Thief that was enabled by Mantle help the game rise above "mixed or average" scores in Metacritic. Was that damaging to the PC industry, or is it more likely that Thief just wasn't a great game? 

Huddy continues, pushing for Nvidia to "go back to the way everyone else develops their SDKs -- give it a source code [...] and let us take the industry as a whole forward."

I've always respected AMD's enthusiasm for open-source initiatives, but I question why a company like Nvidia -- who's accountable to millions of consumers and shareholders -- should hand years of research and development away to the competition. 

Speaking on this matter, Nvidia PR man Brian Burke told WCCFTech: "We used to just give out code samples for effects, and we still do. But as effects became increasingly more complex, just giving away code samples was not effective. It took too long to get the effects in to games and created work for developers. So we turned our library of special effects into a middleware solution.  It makes integration easier and allows effects to be adopted by more developers more quickly, accelerating the pace of innovation in games."

I'll close with this: 13 months ago Richard Huddy started evangelizing the concept of "OpenWorks," a set of graphics libraries that would be an open source competitor to Nvidia's GameWorks. More than a year later and we've heard further about it. Instead, AMD allows Huddy to continuously bash its competition without being proactive, without working toward their own solution. 

This is especially troubling when you consider just how exciting AMD has become in the graphics card space over the last month. Their Fury and high-end Radeon 300 series cards are challenging and frequently defeating Nvidia's similarly-priced (and sometimes more expensive) competitors. I'm not here to prove or disprove Huddy's accusations about GameWorks, but I'd love to see Team Red channel some of their creative energies into developing more of their own graphics libraries and being more assertive about getting them included in our favorite games. 

What do you think about Huddy's anti-GameWorks crusade? Let us know by voicing your opinion in the comments.