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Nvidia hits back at AMD’s Gameworks allegations

Company reps flat out deny AMD’s claims, dismissing most as simply lies.


For the past few months AMD and Nvidia have had a public spar over claims that Nvidia’s Gameworks middleware is crippling the performance of Ubisoft’s recently released Watchdogs on AMD hardware. Now, Nvidia has hit back hard at some of AMD’s most controversial claims about Nvidia’s practices with Gameworks with a series of flat-out denials on a recent episode of Maximum PC’s podcast.

In late June Richard Huddy, a gaming scientist in residence at AMD, went on Maximum PC’s podcast and in a wide ranging interview claimed, amongst other things, that Nvidia had contractually prohibited some game developers from working with AMD, and Nvidia’s Gameworks was a “black box” enigma that even partners couldn’t access.

In response to Huddy’s allegations, Nvidia naturally had a lot to say.

“There’s been lots of allegations thrown around, and confusion about the whole source code thing. One of the things that’s been said is that we don’t provide source code to game developers for our Gameworks libraries,” Rev Lebaradian, Nvidia’s Senior Director of Engineering said on the podcast. “That’s just false. We have source code licensing, and with close partners we’ve always shared source code and they can do whatever they want with it. Optimize for any platform they like.”

“Game developers are free to work with anyone else to optimize their game for another platform. There’s no limitations that we impose,” he continued.

Lebaradian dismissed Huddy’s black box claim as,  “false, and a pure lie.”

“There’s nothing about the contract that Nvidia does that prevents a developer for optimizing for anybody. Nobody would agree to that kind of stuff,” Nvidia’s Tom Petersen, one of the company’s Distinguished Engineers, added during the interview.

Directly addressing allegations from AMD in a piece by Jason Evangelho in Forbes,  Lebaradian said: “I’d love to see any proof of that.”

He claimed that the only Gameworks technology that would potentially have a negative differential in performance on AMD hardware was HBAO+. This piece of code, according to Nvidia, improves upon existing Ambient Occlusion techniques to add richer, more detailed, more realistic shadows around objects that occlude rays of light.  Lebaradian says that it doesn’t perform “that differently” on Nvidia vs. AMD, it just performs better on Nvidia.

During Huddy’s earlier interview with Maximum PC, Huddy challenged Nvidia to “show the contract” as a way to prove once and for all that what AMD was claiming was untrue. Nvidia refused to do this during the interview, as both representatives said that doing so unilaterally would undermine trust with its partners.

But in the end, the truth is likely somewhere in the middle. If AMD’s claims were completely as untrue as Nvidia says they are, there would be a case to be made in court for trade libel. But, that would require these claims to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt in court.

Source: Maximum PC

For more on Mantle, Gameworks and why the push towards development silos is bad read VR-Zone’s earlier coverage of the Gameworks-WatchDogs controversy here.

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