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Introduction

Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint was released in October of 2019.  In the last six months, this game has been very popular among gamers.  Ghost Recon Breakpoint is an online tactical shooter video game developed by Ubisoft Paris and published by Ubisoft.  This game is the eleventh game in the Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon franchise and is a sequel to the 2017 Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Wildlands.  Since its release, this game has had consistent patch updates and new content releases.  Just recently, it received a big update which gave the game an entirely new API path to run under. 

Game Engine

Let’s talk a little about the gaming engine first, and then we’ll go into what the new patch brought so we can then test its performance.  The gaming engine this game uses is the AnvilNext 2.0 game engine which is based on DX11.  The AnvilNext gaming engine was developed by Ubisoft Montreal for varied platforms, including what we are testing today, the PC version of the game.  Other games that use this same engine are the Assassin’s Creed games from Unity to Odyssey, Ghost Recon Wildlands, Rainbow Six Siege and of course Ghost Recon Breakpoint. 

Some notable features include Global Illumination with Volumetric technology, Physically Based Rendering, larger landmasses, more objects, bigger buildings, improved AI.  One notable inclusion is the use of AMD FidelityFX Sharpening in Ghost Recon Breakpoint.  This is a new AMD technology that can improve image quality at little to no cost.  It can sharpen textures that get blurred by the use of temporal AA methods.  The newest feature to the game, which was just launched in patch Title Update 2.0.0 on March 24th is support for the Vulkan API!  This is where the fun really begins.

Title Update 2.0.0 – Vulkan API on PC

When Ghost Recon Breakpoint released in October of 2019 it only supported the DX11 API.  There was no DX12 or other API support.  However, we were all pleasantly surprised when it was announced the game would be getting an upgrade.  After five months of the game already being out, Title Update 2.0.0 added support for the much more modern and advanced Vulkan API.  It is interesting they chose Vulkan and not DX12.  This update was released on March 24th, only two weeks ago.

Ghost Recon Breakpoint API Selection

Please read the article here about Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon Breakpoint Vulkan API on PC for the full information about this new API inclusion.  They also give you a choice, you can still fire the game up in DX11 if you want, or you can choose to launch the game in Vulkan mode instead.  We love that the choice is there still.


Vulkan API Improvements

The developers state: “APIs such as Vulkan offers more flexibility and the ability to work more closely with the hardware’s capabilities, therefore requiring less CPU usage.”  And they go on to say: “Despite DirectX 11 API being more than 10 years old, it still delivers excellent performance but at the cost of high CPU processing.” They also say: “Vulkan offers benefits that will reduce both CPU and GPU cost while enabling us to utilize more modern GPU features that will bring exciting new things in the future.”

This sounds great, it’s a way to improve performance, remove CPU bottlenecks, and provide a platform for adding even more modern graphics features in the future.  Talk about really improving a game over its lifetime with such flexibility.  It is great they are going there, and not just leave it as is, but actually giving the game new improved life over the course of its life.

Some of the specific things the Vulkan API will be improving are things like improved texture streaming, dynamic buffer cache, and Async Compute support.  Improved texture streaming uses dedicated transfer hardware in your GPU and should allow improved smoothness at high-quality texture settings.  Dynamic buffer cache dynamic data is now heavily optimized for multi-threaded usage which boosts CPU frame times while reducing memory fragmentation.  Async Compute, of course, allows more graphical work in parallel reducing GPU frame times. 

The PC system requirements for the game also do not change, the same GPUs that worked before should still work.  Though you want to check for new drivers because both AMD and NVIDIA updated their drivers recently with Ghost Recon Breakpoint Vulkan API support.

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7 Comments

  1. Awesome developers! Really pushed their engine for some great gains!

    This is another very interesting article which once again I wonder how the 5500XT does with PCIe3 vs PCIe4, I do believe the 5500XT is PCIe 8x and not 16x.

    Vulkan just seems more efficient/effective over DX12 plus I like it since Vulkan games usually can play great on Linux, which gives folks more options.

    Really think any 4gb card is a waste of money, it would be better to go to the previous generation like the 1060 Ti or Rx 580 then waste money on a new 4gb card. Definitely ignore any 3gb cards from any generation.

    Great read, flow and conclusions.

  2. I actually play this quite a bit in what little I have that passes for free time. In any case, Vulkan performance is considerably better than DirectX is. I ran this benchmark on my test bench and found that the averages were actually quite similar, but the minimums and maximum FPS were much better running with Vulkan. More importantly, frame times were noticeably better.

    It makes for a smoother experience for sure. It’s actually playable at 4K on an RTX 2080 Super at Very High settings. This wasn’t the case under DirectX. That’s been my experience with it anyway.

  3. Very interesting article. I’ve actually been playing with the Breakpoint benchmark lately going between Vulkan and DX11 with my 2070 and have found similar, ~20% improvement.

    At 1080p and a 2070 I’ve set Textures to Ultimate, all Shadow settings to Medium and everything else to High and I’m getting 120+ fps pretty much all the time with image quality that honestly looks no different than with everything set to Ultimate at least during game play.

    I’ve actually had fun playing with the settings and trying to find the best combination of image quality and frame rates. First game in a while that I’ve played where you have enough options to dial up a really good performing and good looking game.

    I have had a few crashed on Vulkan tho and I’m not sure why. My most recent theory is its FRAPS that might be causing it. The times it’s crashed, I’ve had it running even tho it doesn’t work for Vulkan. I know in some games FRAPS can cause crashes so maybe that’s the culprit. I played a few hours last night on Vulkan making sure FRAPS was turned off and had no issues so hopefully that it.

  4. Very interesting article. I’ve actually been playing with the Breakpoint benchmark lately going between Vulkan and DX11 with my 2070 and have found similar, ~20% improvement.

    At 1080p and a 2070 I’ve set Textures to Ultimate, all Shadow settings to Medium and everything else to High and I’m getting 120+ fps pretty much all the time with image quality that honestly looks no different than with everything set to Ultimate at least during game play.

    I’ve actually had fun playing with the settings and trying to find the best combination of image quality and frame rates. First game in a while that I’ve played where you have enough options to dial up a really good performing and good looking game.

    I have had a few crashed on Vulkan tho and I’m not sure why. My most recent theory is its FRAPS that might be causing it. The times it’s crashed, I’ve had it running even tho it doesn’t work for Vulkan. I know in some games FRAPS can cause crashes so maybe that’s the culprit. I played a few hours last night on Vulkan making sure FRAPS was turned off and had no issues so hopefully that it.

    I’ve had so much trouble out of FRAPS in recent years that I’ve basically abandoned using it as a tool for anything.

  5. FRAPS died a long time ago. I use Mirillis Action, been using it since DX12 came out. Never had a problem.

    https://mirillis.com/en/products/action.html

    Supports Vulkan/DX12 just fine.

    Thanks, I’ll give that a try. FRAPS was just so easy to use that I never stopped. This is the first time I think it’s given me problems. Still running Vulkan just fine on Breakpoint so I guess it was FRAPS after all the was causing the issue.

  6. Thanks for the article and the testing you did Brent! THIS is exactly what I love to see – the devs added in a new ****ing renderer well after the game came out, boosting performance. Talk about post-game support. Glad they went with Vulkan and not D3D12. I also love to see the kinds of gains Vulkan and D3D12 can give us over D3D11 and OpenGL 4.5. Just makes me feel good inside.

    I’ve had so much trouble out of FRAPS in recent years that I’ve basically abandoned using it as a tool for anything.

    I usually prefer to use MSI Afterburner+RivaTuner (and before that, eVGA Precision+RivaTuner, before the dude who makes RivaTuner and EVGA had a falling out). I have the OSD up on the game screen, and the graph up on my second monitor (which comes in handy when the OSD doesn’t work, like when I play Doom Eternal). FRAPS always used to cause me issues way back in the day, and used to lower game performance a bit too. Steam FPS counter also causes issues from time to time, and it was useless to me cuz I need to see a lot more information than just the framerate.

    FRAPS died a long time ago. I use Mirillis Action, been using it since DX12 came out. Never had a problem.

    https://mirillis.com/en/products/action.html

    Supports Vulkan/DX12 just fine.

    I have never heard of this. I shall have to check it out at some point. MSI Afterburner+RivaTuner has almost always gotten the job done, so I never felt the need to use anything else, or to even look into using anything else.

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