A fair day, fine fans of Final Fantasy XV. If you happen to own one of Nvidia's RTX graphics cards, you're in for a treat. The company's GeForce 417.35 drivers add support for DLSS (deep-learning super-sampling) to Square Enix's magnum opus.
If you're wondering what all the hubbub is about, Nvidia DLSS lets RTX graphics cards render a game at a lower-than-native resolution before using a trained neural network to upscale the image to what it "thinks" the final image should look like. That work is based on ultra-high-quality input frames fed to the DLSS model on a per-game basis in Nvidia's data centers. The technology could net gamers significant speed and smoothness boosts compared to native-res rendering, namely for 4K gaming.
We took a look at the tech a while back and were pretty darn impressed with the potential performance gains by turning on DLSS in the FFXV canned benchmark. Nvidia thinks that you'll be too, and it's published a video showing off portions of the full game in a 4K side-by-side comparison. The video shows output from a GTX 1080 Ti using temporal anti-aliasing (TAA) versus that from a RTX 2080 Ti using DLSS. A quick Mark I Eyeball estimate suggests the newer card is consistently faster by well over 50%, sometimes by close to twice as much. The video only shows an FPS counter, but our previous testing showed that frame times had a corresponding drop, too.
The game itself apparently has an incoming update to enable DLSS via Steam, an odd development after news in early November saying that DLCs for the title would be canceled and that the head director had left Square Enix. There's no word on just when the update will come out, but given how the release of game-specific driver optimizations tend to coincide with the releases they optimize for, our best guess is "pretty soon."
Other than DLSS support in FFXV, the 417.35 driver offers a handful of fixes. Rocket League players should no longer see their game crash after a white screen, and texture corruption in Hitman 2 should no longer appear. Those using Nvidia cards on notebooks might have been bit by a now-dead bug where frame rates in 3D games would drop to under 30 FPS. Nvidia Ansel controls should work properly in Battlefield V, and owners of Titan Xp cards in SLI should no longer see that feature disabled by default.