Next Monday, Ubisoft and Crytek will release the 1.2 update for their best-selling PC shooter Far Cry. The update, which can be reserved now via GameSpot DLX, will implement numerous gameplay tweaks and bug fixes, a complete changelog can been seen on the official Far Cry Web site.
The new patch also enables Shader Model 3.0 for the Nvidia GeForce 6800 series graphics cards, currently the only cards that feature hardware support for the new SM 3.0 functions. The new functions do not offer any improved visual effects, but they do enable more efficient graphics rendering techniques that increase framerate performance.
Far Cry developer CryTek has enabled geometry instancing which allows the game engine to modify and create multiple versions of a single model sent to the graphics hardware. The engine would be able to draw an entire field working from a single grass model for example. The SM 3.0 patch also allows the game engine to take advantage of graphics hardware and create complex lighting effects in a single rendering pass. The same lighting effects would normally require multiple passes using less powerful graphics hardware.
Internal benchmark testing revealed inconsistent performance increases that depend heavily on which particular levels are used for benchmark testing. Levels such as "Regulator" and "Training" showed little or no performance improvement while tests on the "Research" and "Volcano" levels showed framerate increases of 10 to 15 percent.
To enable SM 3.0, users will need to install Microsoft DirectX 9.0c which is currently only available with Windows XP Service Pack 2, Release Candidate 2. However, Far Cry's SM 3.0 mode will not be available to GeForce 6800 owners until Nvidia releases an official driver set based on the unreleased 61.45 drivers or a newer build. Quoted by Gamespot -- Exact Facts.
News source: gamespot