AMD Catalyst 11.3 Kills Bad Company 2

So after all the hassle I went through to finally get Bad Company 2 working properly AMD have gone and done it again, they spoilt my game!

I had it all tweaked out and running smoothly, the last big hurdle for me was the screen going black during game-play which obviously, totally kills things as you can’t see what you’re doing. Yesterday I upgraded to the new 11.3 AMD Catalyst drivers. What a disaster. The game will no longer load at my 1920×1200 60Hz resolution. Instead it keeps forcing itself into 59Hz mode. No biggie on its own but for some reason when the level starts loading the screen starts to shake. It makes the game totally unplayable.

I spent a few hours testing out various setting combinations to find something that works and as usual, I thought I’d post my findings here for others to check out.

The screen shaking and 59Hz issues only seem to happen when the game is set to DX10 mode. My AMD 4870 X2 does not support DX11 mode so I dropped down to DX9. Instantly I can go back to picking native 60Hz resolutions and the screen shaking is gone. Something else I noticed was that levels load well quicker. Prior to this, in multiplayer mode I would be left on the level loading screen whilst my squad mates would already be capturing the first flag. Now I tend to be in the game before they are thanks to DX9 mode.

DX9 mode does bring one big drawback in that BC2 only supports 1X Anti-aliasing via the in-game settings. Pants! I went back to the drawing board and started trying lots of different combinations via the in-game settings and the Catalyst Control Center panel. I won’t get into the well boring details but here are the cover notes:

  • AA Edge Detect mode is totally unusable with this game. It makes black blocks appear all over the show.
  • Using the Anisotropic Filtering on the CCC panel led to increasing levels of tearing in the game.
  • CCC Adaptive Anti-Aliasing made no noticeable FPS difference so I left it on Quality.
  • Changing the fabled “Render Ahead Limit” in the game settings seemed to make no noticeable FPS difference. I tried 0, 2, 3 and 10. In the end I just set it back to the default of 2.
  • Turning the in-game Bloom setting off didn’t result in any noticeable performance difference. This could of been due to the level I used for testing “No one gets left behind”.
  • Dropping in-game Shadows from High to Medium had no performance impact.
  • DX9 mode does cause a rather bad delay the first time you zoom in with a weapon once the level loads. After the first time the delay is not there or at least it’s so small you don’t notice it.
  • There was no constant difference between the lowest AA setting and the highest via the CCC so I’ve left it on the maximum 16X with Box filtering.

These are the settings I’ve settled on:

Catalyst Control Center

  • AA – 16X Box
  • AF – Use application settings
  • Catalyst A.I. – Advanced
  • Mipmap Detail Level – High Quality
  • Wait for vertical refresh – Off, unless application specifies
  • Adaptive Anti-Aliasing – Quality

In-game

  • V-Sync Off
  • DX9
  • AA – 1X (locked)
  • AF – 16X

I used Gossamer’s Bad Company 2 Launcher v3.00 to tweak my in-game settings. I also use the D3DOverrider utility although I’m sure I still saw screen tearing with the DX9 mode which makes me thing the util is not working properly. The final tweak I do is to add the multi CPU switch +fullproc to the games short cut.

Comments: 2

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  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    It has now been a month since I switched the game over to DX9 mode. During that time I “upgraded” to the 11.5 Catalyst drivers and still can’t get DX10 mode to work anymore. Either way, I have not had the black screen problem at all whilst playing Bad Company 2. I don’t even get the glitchy ground effect that would sometimes appear instead of the black screen issue.

    The trade off is that I have to remember to zoom in with my weapon each time a new level loads, before I run into any enemies. After the first time it settles down and zooms at normal speed. The temporary freeze is a killer ^_^

  • Anonymous
    Anonymous

    To clarify on the 11.5 DX10 issue, it no longer makes the screen shake but it refuses to load at 60 FPS, defaulting to 59.9 which I personally don’t care about. What I did care about was that within a few minutes of the level loading the ground went all jittery and I then ended up with a black screen again. Totally unplayable.

    On the other hand, whilst DX9 does allow me to play without the wobbly ground effect and black screen it does seem to give me a well high ping for the first 30 seconds of the game. The problem here is that if I spawn into a heavy action area then I sometimes get kicked for having an excessive ping. It does go down to normal levels after about 30 seconds so it’s just something that I have to remember when joining a new server.

Come with me if you want to live!

— Kyle Reese