AMD is claiming that competitor Nvidia purposefully sabotaged the performance of The Witcher 3 on its hardware.
The accusations stem from the inclusion of Nvidia's HairWorks technology in the game. HairWorks is a part of Nvidia’s GameWorks software suite, a collection of propriety technologies that the company offers to developers that allows for effects like realistic hair, shadows, and more.
However, these technologies are optimised to run on Nvidia hardware, which has led some to allege that the company is playing dirty by effectively crippling software performance on non-Nvidia hardware. GameWorks features can be switched off, but at the expense of some visual fidelity.
Speaking with Ars Technica, AMD chief gaming scientist Richard Huddy said that Nvidia’s HairWorks tech caused the RPG to run horribly on AMD technology.
"We've been working with [The Witcher 3 developer] CD Projeckt Red from the beginning," said Huddy.
"We've been giving them detailed feedback all the way through. Around two months before release, or thereabouts, the GameWorks code arrived with HairWorks, and it completely sabotaged our performance as far as we're concerned.
“We were running well before that... it's wrecked our performance, almost as if it was put in to achieve that goal."
Huddy said that when AMD asked CD Projekt Red to include AMD's own hair-rendering technology (TressFX) in the game, the developer said it was too late.
He also said that contrary to Nvidia's claims, CD Projekt Red could not access the HairWorks source code – something he reckons could have solved AMD’s problems with the software.
In response, Nvidia GameWorks' Brian Burke told PC Perspective that GameWorks does not impair performance on competing hardware.
"We are not asking game developers do anything unethical," he said.
"GameWorks source code is provided to developers that request it under license, but they can’t redistribute our source code to anyone who does not have a license.
“Most of the time we optimise games based on binary builds, not source code... I believe it is a resource issue. Nvidia spent a lot of artist and engineering resources to help make Witcher 3 better.
“I would assume that AMD could have done the same thing because our agreements with developers don’t prevent them from working with other IHVs [independent hardware vendors]."
This is far from the first time AMD and Nvidia have clashed over the effects of the latter’s GameWorks technology.