The latest AMD driver update 23.10.1, released earlier this week, brought forward a host of enhancements and support for several games. These improvements included:
- Fixing stuttering and crash issues in Counter-Strike 2 (CS2).
- Driver support for Assassin’s Creed Mirage, Forza Motorsport, and The Lords of the Fallen.
- Introduction of CS2 support for Anti-Lag+, AMD’s answer to Nvidia Reflex, a technology designed to reduce input latency.
However, this update has inadvertently caused some CS2 players to receive VAC (Valve Anti-Cheat) bans. The main culprit behind these bans has been identified as the Anti-Lag+ feature.
Community Uproar and Official Statements
Following a wave of player complaints on Reddit, the official CS2 account, formerly on Twitter, confirmed the issue. They issued a clear warning to the CS2 community: “If you are an AMD customer and play CS2, DO NOT ENABLE ANTI-LAG/+; any tampering with CS code will result in a VAC ban.” The post further assured players that once AMD releases a solution, Valve will reverse the bans for those affected.
In essence, the Anti-Lag+ feature works by “applying frame alignment within the game code itself,” as described on the AMD website. This process provides a more synchronized frame rate, resulting in reduced latency and a smoother gaming experience. The catch is in the implementation. The manner in which Anti-Lag+ interacts with the game’s code, particularly “detouring engine dll functions,” is seen by VAC as unauthorized tampering, which activates the ban.
To further detail the problem, the driver’s Anti-Lag+ feature involves intercepting and redirecting Dynamic Link Library (DLL) functions, a move VAC perceives as a potential cheat. In the gaming world, DLL rerouting can often be associated with cheating mechanisms, leading to the automated bans issued by the VAC system.
Immediate Impacts and Recommendations
The impact of this driver update isn’t limited to CS2. Reports have emerged that players of other titles like Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2, CoD: Warzone 2, and Apex Legends are experiencing either game crashes or bans when they use the Anti-Lag+ feature.
For the immediate resolution of this problem:
- Counter-Strike 2 developers have strongly advised players to disable the AMD’s Anti-Lag feature for CS2.
- Users can easily toggle this feature off by pressing the Alt+L hotkey. This assignment can be confirmed or customized within the AMD Radeon Software by navigating to the gear icon > Hotkeys.
Engadget, along with several other outlets, has reached out to AMD for an official statement on the matter. At present, AMD has not provided a timeline for a potential update, though it is anticipated that this issue will be addressed as a high priority given its widespread impact.
About Counter-Strike 2
Launched in September, Counter-Strike 2 has been a subject of great excitement and anticipation. Replacing its predecessor, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive on Steam, CS2 boasts enhanced graphics, new maps, and more realistic in-game effects like smoke. It employs Valve’s Source 2 engine, which offers improved lighting, crisper textures, and updated geometry. To enjoy this game in its full glory, players are required to have a reasonably updated Windows machine, as Valve has announced no intentions of releasing the sequel for macOS or older PCs.
Looking Ahead: The Intersection of Hardware and Software
This incident serves as a poignant reminder of the intricate balance between hardware advancements and game software. As technology companies continue to push the envelope with new features designed to optimize gaming experiences, it’s essential for these innovations to undergo rigorous testing in real-world scenarios. Such proactive measures can prevent unforeseen conflicts and ensure smoother integrations with established gaming platforms.
The introduction of innovative features like Anti-Lag+ showcases the ongoing efforts by companies like AMD to enhance the gaming experience. However, it’s crucial for these updates to be compatible with existing systems and security measures. While the situation remains unresolved, players are advised to stay informed and follow official recommendations to ensure a seamless gaming experience. Both AMD and Valve are undoubtedly working diligently to rectify the situation, with the shared goal of ensuring that all players can enjoy their favorite games without fear of undue penalties or technical difficulties.