The Witcher 3 Nex-Gen Experiences - yours and mine

An open thread for anyone playing The Witcher 3 Nex-Gen and your experiences, as well as my own, gameplaywise or technical.

So far (and I've only played about 6 hours at this point), I've had no severe technical issues, like CTDs or constant stuttering. I have had visible slowdowns in FPS in interior sections with multiple NPCs, but that's due to me setting my graphical options a bit too high for my current hardware. Briefly, my current specs are an RTX 3080, I9-9900K CPU, Memory 32GB Corsair 3000MHZ., 60Hz 4K 43" Phillips monitor. Nothing top-of-the-line in 2022-23, but probably above average.

And there are a lot of graphic options, with 6 presets from "Low" to "RT Ultra" (I'm assuming that "RT" stands for Raytracing).


I really think that the "RT Ultra" setting is for the RTX 400 series of cards which maxes out every setting. But the good thing is, you can choose any base setting and then tweak any individual setting up or down. Which is great because there's probably a graphical setting for almost any hardware setup. My only wish, is that there could be "rollover" information as to what each setting does (or how it varies from another setting) when you hover your mouse cursor over each setting option. Some settings are obvious as to what they do, but others don't give me any information on what the differences are.

Like the "Number of background characters" option. What's the difference between the settings of Ultra+, Ultra, and so on. Obviously, the number of NPCs increases, but by how many and how does it affect FPS? A bit more information would be welcome, as well as a recommended graphics card.


There are 4 adjustable options for Raytracing and I hope to keep those on, as the reflections are such a difference on water and shiny surfaces. The "Global Illuminations" and "Ambient Occlusion" options I'm not sure what exactly those are, as well as the differences between "DLSS Quality" over "FSR Quality", so I'm slowly tweaking various graphic options as I play.



There are also many UI options allowing you to choose what shows on the game screen.


There are many other additions such as the Photo Mode, new quests, and new weapons & armor, you can even pat your horse Roach:
You can now pet Geralt's horse in The Witcher 3, and it's about time | PC Gamer
 
In my ongoing quest to find a balance between graphic settings and FPS, I made 2 adjustments yesterday that noticeably bumped up my FPS and eliminated the slowdown & the occasional stutter I would get in interiors with multiple NPCs (like taverns).

I lowered Texture Quality from Ultra+ down a notch to Ultra, and I switched the Anti-aliasing setting from DLSS to FSR2, and I didn't notice any visible (to me) graphical degradation, but there was a noticeable improvement to the smoothness of the framerate. I don't know if the textures were changed from 8k to 4k, or 4k to 2k (hence my desire for rollover info for each setting), and I'm admittedly somewhat ignorant on the differences in the Anti-Aliasing settings as to which is better.

So I'm letting those settings ride for now, though I'm only in the first area, White Orchard, so I'm sure I'll need to eventually make further adjustments as I get closer to Novigrad. But game stability is fine, and I have to wonder if some of those negative Steam reviews are from players trying to run the game at higher settings than their hardware is capable of, and instead of making adjustments, they just blame it on the game itself.

One odd thing I've noticed, is that the F12 Steam Screenshot key doesn't work in game, but it's not really an issue as the Photo Mode is easy to use, just pressing "U" at any time, even during cutscenes or combat.


inhales

GOTY 2022
That's my opinion also, even though it's not a new release game, it feels like a new game to me with all the enhancements and additions.

exhales
 
You know, I was hoping this update would fix my technical problems with the game, but unfortunately that has not been the case. For well over a year now I just get very invasive stuttering all over the place and the update has not changed that. I have no idea why this would be a persistent problem. It's not a performance thing because I'm running a 3080 at 1440p, and I played the game for 70 hours in the past and did not have such problems. I may just try reinstalling the game entirely.
 
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Sarafan

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For well over a year now I just get very invasive stuttering all over the place and the update has not changed that.
RTX off, I presume? Did you try to launch the DirectX 11 version? There should be an appropriate .exe after the update.

As for the game itself, ray tracing settings are beyond my hardware capabilities, so I haven't tried it yet. I might wait for a new hardware, but I doubt it'll happen earlier than in two years. Basically almost everything that I run these days still works smooth as a butter on my current machine. So I have a little dilemma whether to start the game one more time. Ray tracing is the main feature of the new version, so playing without it for the third time is a little pointless.
 
RTX off, I presume? Did you try to launch the DirectX 11 version? There should be an appropriate .exe after the update.

As for the game itself, ray tracing settings are beyond my hardware capabilities, so I haven't tried it yet. I might wait for a new hardware, but I doubt it'll happen earlier than in two years. Basically almost everything that I run these days still works smooth as a butter on my current machine. So I have a little dilemma whether to start the game one more time. Ray tracing is the main feature of the new version, so playing without it for the third time is a little pointless.
I had the problem both before and after the update, so it persists regardless of RT being on or off. I can give DX11 a shot though as I haven't tried it.

Also, I haven't looked into it too much, but my understanding is that the next-gen version is impossible to run at max settings on pretty much all hardware. But CDPR also has a history of having the max settings on PC being future-looking, which I'm fine with.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
I'm reluctant to play simply because the stories in the game were so good. When I see those pretty graphics, I also remember the things that happened in those places - and I remember them remarkably well. It was so memorable that I don't see why I should play again!

(And then I look at all my DVDs and Blu-rays, bought specifically so I can watch them over and over. And all the books I've got, specifically so I can re-read them if I want. ) OK, so I'm not consistent. I'm not even 60 years old yet, what do you expect?? Give me another 100 and I'll try to even it out.
 
Do I need to play this game?

Iow, pray tell exactly what does said key open?
Your guess is as good as mine, I haven't actually played the third game yet.
Yenn's key is found on top of a book now, as opposed to in a vase (I think that's where it used to be), and you have to use Geralt's "Witcher Senses" (hold right MB) to find it. The key is necessary to unlock Yenn's room to progress, otherwise you'd be locked in with a scantily clad Yennifer for the rest of the game (I suppose there's worse fates than that).

I just get very invasive stuttering all over the place and the update has not changed that. I have no idea why this would be a persistent problem. It's not a performance thing because I'm running a 3080 at 1440p, and I played the game for 70 hours in the past and did not have such problems.
RTX off, I presume? Did you try to launch the DirectX 11 version? There should be an appropriate .exe after the update.
There's been a lot of technical and performance issues reported in various articles like these:
The Witcher 3's free next-gen update is out now, but some players report performance issues | PC Gamer
The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt's Next-Gen Update Causing Major Performance Issues for Some PC Players - IGN

It's strange to me how some players have them, while others don't, even when running similar PC hardware, and my technical knowledge is limited, but we're both using the same graphics card (RTX 3080) and you're having issues while I'm not.

I'm using DX12, the latest Nvidia Driver 527.56 (supposedly optimized for W3), all raytracing options on, most graphical settings at Ultra or Ultra+, and I even have a HairWorks on at a low setting; and my FPS is smooth with no noticeable slowdowns or stuttering. I did lower a couple of settings as I mentioned above, and may have to lower more when I get to more densely populated areas, but even in combat everything is smooth for me.

I'm also using a 4K monitor, which admittedly is a 60hz monitor so my framerate is automatically capped at 60 FPS (which is fine for my tastes in gaming). I'm wondering if you capped your framerate to say 60 FPS is that would make a difference? Again, I'm not overflowing with technical knowledge, but it seems like something that could be tried.
 

Sarafan

Community Contributor
Jan 14, 2020
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There's been a lot of technical and performance issues reported in various articles like these:
I know about the issues. Some people are reporting that even use of DX 11 gives lower fps values than before the update, which is strange given the fact that the DX 11 version is pretty much the same as before, if you don't use Ultra+ settings. Although we have to take into account that it's more possible that someone will shout over the internet if something isn't working, than when everything works fine. So I presume the majority of people don't have meaningful issues. Some of the more active critics probably forgot to turn ray tracing off... Anyway, as I said, playing the game with ray tracing on RTX 2070 Super is probably pointless, so I'll wait for an upgrade.
 
Another small hotfix (2.2 GB) was released today, although it didn't change the version number of the game. Featuring further stability improvements, fixes to photo mode (though I hadn't noticed any problems with it to begin with), and Steam Deck improvements.

I should also mention that the previous hotfix fixed issues with the Steam Overlay so that the "F12" key now will take screenshots, though in my opinion it's really not needed with the excellent photo mode that you can access at anytime by pressing the "U" key.

I ran into some stuttering in White Orchard when walking through town near sunset, which created a lot of long shadows, coupled with the fact that there were about 15 NPCs, 6-8 geese, and 2 cows all moving around. I turned down shadow quality and number of background characters from Ultra to High and my framerate smoothed out.

It's a gradual tweaking process for me, and I know the "gut-check" will be once I hit Novigrad where there is so much activity, detailed structures, shadows, and reflections; but that's at least 200 hours away at the pace I'm playing. I'm determined (at this point) to keep all Ray Tracing elements enabled.

No issues during combat, outside of the fact that I really suck, I just need to get to a point where my reactions with the combat controls are automatic. I forgot how fast the combat can be at times. Though I think I'm getting better as I got the Butcher of Blaviken achievement yesterday (kill 5 enemies in under 10 seconds).


I want to take some combat screenshots, but I can't quite spaz my keyboard hand over to the "U" key during combat, as it's hard enough for me to remember the keys for dodge, roll, parry, strong attack, fast attack, and casting signs (spells). As an alternative I may start taking a few short video/clips of some combat situations.
 
I took a short video, with Nvidia Overlay, of a battle with some Drowners, but the problem is that when recording a video it also noticeably affects my FPS, so it's not really an accurate representation. It's playable, but I think trying to record video and keep the graphical settings as highs as possible is just too much for my PC.

View: https://youtu.be/Ft2tEZOeW3s


I'm also attempting to hit that photo mode key during combat, which is hectic, but probably a better option for me.
 
hit that photo mode key during combat
Dunno if it would be better for non-customizable shots, but you can bind your Print Screen key to the Windows 10 Snip Tool:
Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard > Print Screen shortcut

short video … photo mode
Anyone else feel we've unleashed a monster?
You Witcher fans get the job of re-caging!
 
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Dunno if it would be better for non-customizable shots, but you can bind your Print Screen key to the Windows 10 Snip Tool:
Settings > Ease of Access > Keyboard > Print Screen shortcut
It just wouldn't be the same. By hitting that "U" key, you freeze the game (even combat & cutscenes) and it also removes all UI elements. From there you manipulate that scene by changing camera angle, focal length, saturation, and various other controls, achieving screenshots you can't get any other way. It's just a matter of training the hand-eye coordination of my keyboard hand to include the "U" key in the combat controls.

That shot above started from behind Geralt looking into the sun, washed out highlights and no clear view of the Drowner, but using the photo mode controls I was able to make it into a better-looking screenshot.

Anyone else feel we've unleashed a monster?
You Witcher fans get the job of re-caging!
Ha!:). Yeah, I'm a bit overenthusiastic, as the visuals in this game are just amazing to me, but I'll try to reign myself in from saturating the forum with screenshots.

That's an excellent screenshot! But yeah, the framerate is killing the video.
Thanks, but it was also mostly luck, as combat is so fast that it's kind of a crap shoot as to what you'll see when you hit the photo mode key. And I'm going to have to abandon taking gameplay footage unless I drastically reduce my graphics settings and/or CD Projekt releases a major performance boost patch. I don't actively monitor framerate, but I did look at the performance tab when I had the Nvidia Overlay open.

GPU utilization was at 99% and CPU utilization was at 19%, so the game is definitely GPU dependent at this point. I'm not tech-minded enough to know if something can be done to balance that out or not when it comes to patching or updating the game.
 

Zloth

Community Contributor
GPU utilization was at 99% and CPU utilization was at 19%, so the game is definitely GPU dependent at this point. I'm not tech-minded enough to know if something can be done to balance that out or not when it comes to patching or updating the game.
I think that's pretty much your fault. If you had gotten a weaker CPU, it wouldn't be so unbalanced! ;)

P.S. Keep posting pics! Actually, maybe we could try something...

This shot of having supper in the forest is from fairly early in the game. Maybe you could take a similar shot when that scene shows up in the game to compare with? (Hopefully, it wasn't one where I pulled the camera away with a mod.)
 

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