For years, AMD has been talking about the positive impact that 64-bit will have on games. Honestly, we never bought it; games are still a couple of years away from breaking the 2GB process limitation under present day 32-bit Windows. Despite our lack of belief, AMD still did their best to convey the message that gamers would be given a better experience in a 64-bit environment.

AMD has been demoing 64-bit versions of the Unreal engine as well as Far Cry for quite some time now, but neither were ever made public. Originally, we heard talk of 20% increases in performance due to decreased register pressure when running in 64-bit mode. We desperately wanted to see a game recompiled with 64-bit support, but alas, we needed a 64-bit OS. Last month's release of Windows XP x64 Edition fulfilled the latter requirement, but we still lacked any games to test the hype.

The Chronicles of Riddick: Escape from Butcher Bay actually shipped with a 64-bit binary out of the box. Unfortunately, we saw absolutely no performance improvement from using the 64-bit binary vs. the 32-bit binary in our extensive evaluation of the x64 edition OS. If performance under Riddick was any indication, 64-bit wasn't going to be much of a performance sell for gamers.

Today, however, AMD and Ubisoft are announcing public availability of the first 64-bit patch and content update to Far Cry. As we just implied, the 64-bit add-ons to Far Cry come in two separate packages. First, there's the actual 64-bit patch that installs and enables a native 64-bit binary to run under x64 edition. The second package is the AMD64 Exclusive Content Update that improves the actual content in the game.

AMD listed the changes to the 64-bit version of Far Cry as follows:
All Levels
  • Improved terrain textures
  • Increased view distance
  • Offset bump mapping added for rock and stone objects
  • More insects and birds
On the Pier Level
  • New beach road with additional vehicle
  • Barrel storage camp
  • Opened more space to explore
Pier and Boat
  • New terrain textures with shader
Two New 64-bit only Multiplayer levels
  • Stronghold
  • Gorge
As you can probably already tell, none of the additions or enhancements have anything to do with 64-bit memory addressability. In fact, a fast GPU is all you really need to take advantage of most of these features - not a 64-bit CPU. The patched version of Far Cry doesn't even eat up more than 512MB of memory during normal gameplay, and supporting more insects and birds doesn't really depend on more architecture registers provided by AMD64 either. It's no surprise that none of the enhancements offered by the 64-bit patch have anything to do with a 64-bit CPU at all, but you have to add value somehow and this is how Ubisoft and AMD decided to do it.


Far Cry doesn't use more than 512MB of memory, even with the 64-bit patches.

Both patches are scheduled to be available to gamers starting today, free of charge, but of course, you must already have a copy of Far Cry to utilize them. The patch and the exclusive content update will only install under Windows XP Professional x64 Edition, so 32-bit XP Professional users will not be able to even install the additional content patch. Despite being very tightly associated with AMD, the new Far Cry patches will work on Intel EM64T enabled systems as well.


Despite the wording of the error message, the patches will work on Intel EM64T enabled systems - just not on 32-bit processors.

The patches themselves are huge, totaling over 1.5GB in size, so be prepared for a hefty download. Even after applying the patches, you can still run the 32-bit Far Cry executable, but doing so will not give you access to the additional features or new multiplayer levels.

The Far Cry patch also acts as a no-CD crack, it appears, as we no longer had to have our play disc in the drive to play the game after applying the 64-bit patch.

64-bit Far Cry Performance
POST A COMMENT

59 Comments

View All Comments

  • ViRGE - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    #16: Taken from the article "As we just implied, the 64-bit add-ons to Far Cry come in two separate packages. First, there's the actual 64-bit patch that installs and enables a native 64-bit binary to run under x64 edition. The second package is the AMD64 Exclusive Content Update that improves the actual content in the game."

    So AT only installed the 64-bit patch, which was the executable only, the test was not done with the content patch, and as a result the test was apples-to-apples.
    Reply
  • dougSF30 - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    There may not be "extra content", but is the draw-distance increased?

    Other problems with this article, if one is looking to measure code speed improvement 32b vs. 64b:

    1) Should be run in low-detail, 640 x 480. Just like in CPU shoot-outs.

    2) Single-core CPUs should have been used.

    But again, the biggest *potential* issue is with any changes between 32b and 64b versions that do not fall into the "exclusive content" patch. Draw-distance is not content. What about other "all-level" changes? Are they affected by the first patch, or the second?
    Reply
  • Icehawk - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    It would be interesting to see if the added content did make a change to the FPS #s though. Reply
  • smn198 - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    #14 Glad it was clear for you. Where does it say in the article which changes are in the 64-bit patch and which are in the Exclusive Content Update?

    Reading this I was lead to believe that running the 64-bit patch changed textures, view distances, etc for everything in the 64-bit version.

    "AMD listed the changes to the 64-bit version of Far Cry as follows:

    All Levels

    * Improved terrain textures
    * Increased view distance
    * Offset bump mapping added for rock and stone objects
    * More insects and birds"
    Reply
  • jediknight - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    I wonder if the video card drivers for XP64 are at par with their 32 bit counterparts.. I wonder if the performance advantage you get by going 64bit is negated by performance disadvantages in 64bit video drivers. Reply
  • mlittl3 - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    #6, #10

    I wish you people would read the article. This is an apples to apples comparison. Please read the f*cking article.

    The article clearly states,

    "We used our standard Far Cry demo that we've used in all other reviews, and in order to isolate the performance differences from the extra content, we only looked at performance changes with the first 64-bit patch installed - not the Exclusive Content Update."

    The benchmarks are not including the extra content. Damn, and I thought PC enthusiasts could read. Read the article next time.
    Reply
  • saechaka - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    did anyone see the difference between intel and amd? thats why i bought a amd64, and whatever benefits i get elsewhere is a perk Reply
  • Lord Zado - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    #11, you don't need to justify your 64 bit processor because it likely allows all 32 bit games to run faster than on a 32 bit *cough* Intel *cough* processor. Now if you made the switch to 64 bit Windows already... Reply
  • L3p3rM355i4h - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    #10, exactly! It made a good looking game that much better, IMHO, better than Doom3. And it still runs better. Granted, the engine has been matured, but its possible they could have tweaked the AI also to take advantage of the 64 bit power.

    But maybe i'm just trying to justify my 64 proc after all ;)
    Reply
  • smn198 - Tuesday, May 10, 2005 - link

    #3,5,8
    I am impressed. If I understood correctly this is not comparing apples to apples. There are performance gains whilst having higher detail. That is great!
    Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now