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Project Cars dev responds to AMD performance accusations

Slightly Mad Studios, the developer behind recently released racing sim, Project Cars, has responded to accusations that it has purposefully sabotaged the game’s performance for those using AMD graphics cards. The rumors began to spread once a post on Reddit claimed that the entire Project Cars engine was built around Nvidia technology.

The lengthy Reddit post claimed that the author’s R9 290X was getting the same frame rate as an Nvidia GTX 760, despite being much more powerful. The author believed that PhysX was the culprit: “The entire Project Cars engine itself is built around a version of PhysX that simply does not work on AMD cards.”


The Reddit thread has since been labelled as ‘misleading’ and Slightly Mad Studios has responded, stating that it didn’t favor Nvidia over AMD for this game and maintained that it has a good relationship with both graphics companies.

“For the past few days, erroneous information posted on Reddit and other websites has spread misinformation with regards to Project Cars’ performance on systems using AMD GPUs”, the statement reads. The developer then gives a lengthy list of rebuttals, which you can read below:

  • “NVidia are not “sponsors” of the project. The company has not received, and would not expect, financial assistance from third-party hardware companies.
  • The Madness engine runs PhysX at only 50Hz and not at 600Hz as mentioned in several articles
  • The Madness engine uses PhysX for collision detection and dynamic objects, which is a small part of the overall physics systems
  • The Madness engine does not use PhysX for the SETA tyre model or for the chassis constraint solver (our two most expensive physics sub-systems)
  • The Madness engine does not use PhysX for the AI systems or for raycasting, we use a bespoke optimized solution for those
  • The physics systems run completely independently of the rendering and main game threads and utilizes 2 cores at 600Hz
  • The physics threading does not interact with the rendering, it is a push system sending updated positional information to the render bridge at 600Hz
  • Any performance difference with PhysX would not be reflected with differences in comparing rendering frame rates. There is no interaction between PhysX and the rendering
  • Overall, PhysX uses less than 10% of all physics thread CPU on PC. It is a very small part of the physics system so would not make a visual difference if run on the CPU or GPU
  • Direct involvement with both Nvidia and AMD has been fruitful in assisting with the game performance at various stages of development. Both AMD and nVidia have had access to working builds of the game throughout development, and they have both tested builds and reported their results and offered suggestions for performance improvements.
  • Testing of the game with different driver versions has produced a variety of performance results on both Nvidia and AMD hardware. This is entirely to be expected as driver changes cannot always be tested on every game and every card, and this is the reason why both companies produce game-specific driver profiles, to ensure that they can get the best out of the game.
  • Project Cars does not use Nvidia specific particle technology–the system we use is a modified version of the same technology we used on the Need for Speed: Shift and Shift Unleashed games, and was entirely developed in-house. The reason the performance drops when there are a lot of particles on screen is simply because processing a large number of particles is very expensive.”

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KitGuru Says: As you can see, Slightly Mad Studios don’t seem very happy about these accusations, after all, they could hurt the company’s reputation. Do any of you own Project Cars? How has the performance been?

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