DiRT 4 – Vulkan Performance Review


Disclosure: The developer provided us a free Steam game code for review purpose.

DiRT 4 is a rally racing game developed by Codemasters using the EGO game engine. It was originally released for Windows last June 9, 2017 then brought to Linux by Feral Interactive on March 28, 2019. DiRT 4 is
Feral Interactive’s 5th game to only use Vulkan on Linux.

Features

  • Drive 50+ powerful off-road cars including the Ford Fiesta R5, Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VI, Subaru WRX STI NR4 and Audi Sport Quattro S1 E2.
  • Race across Värmland in Sweden, Fitzroy in Australia, Tarragona in Spain, Michigan in the United States, and Powys in Wales.
  • Unique rally routes based on your choices of location and route parameters can be created using the “Your Stage” tool.
  • Adjust your set-up, from suspension to grip levels, to suit the track, the weather, and your own driving style.

Performance

DiRT 4 does not have a built-in benchmark so we tested performance using side-by-side comparison of game play. Like with other Codemasters games, DiRT 4 caters to a wide audience in terms of required hardware. Here is a quick summary:

  • Mainstream GPU’s such as AMD Radeon RX 580 8GB performs well at 2560 x 1080 resolution using High Preset with 4x MSAA. Aiming for 90 FPS or higher requires disabling anti-aliasing.
  • Game displays correctly with Mesa 18.3.3 but anti-aliasing cannot be enabled. Mesa 18.3.4 or later should be used with AMD GPU’s.
  • CPU usage on Intel Core i7 7700 is about 30% only during a rallycross race. Users of Intel Core i3 6100 need not worry about a CPU upgrade.

Supported Input Devices

Racing games such as DiRT 4 are best played using a steering wheel but a gamepad would suffice if budget is an issue. I have tested Microsoft XBox 360 wired gamepad and Logitech F710 wireless gamepad and they both work out-of-the-box. No manual configuration was needed on Ubuntu MATE 18.04.2 LTS.

Here is a list of compatible steering wheels for those wanting a more immersive driving experience.

Fanatec CSL Elite
Fanatec CSR
Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo S
Fanatec Porsche 911 Turbo
Fanatec Porsche 911 Carrera
Fanatec Porsche 911 GT2
Fanatec Porsche 911 GT3 RS
Logitech Driving Force GT
Logitech Driving Force PRO
Logitech Driving Force EX
Logitech G27
Logitech G29
Logitech G920
Logitech MOMO
Thrustmaster Modena 360

Closing Thoughts

Feral Interactive has done a great job on bringing DiRT 4 to Linux. In my 6 hours of play time, I have not encountered a game crash or system freeze. and the game displays correctly on open source driver. It’s a big win for Linux and Open Source Software. The performance of DiRT 4 on Linux shows Vulkan is not a marketing gimmick and it further strengthens Linux as a gaming platform.

There are mixed reviews on Steam regarding the game play, some say it’s not a racing simulation. I cannot give credible comment on the realism or driving physics since I have not driven a rally car in real life but I can say it’s definitely not an arcade racer because you cannot go into corners with acceleration and turning both at maximum at the same time. DiRT 4 features various racing assist settings you can tweak to match your skill level.

DiRT 4 can be purchased at Steam for PhP 1,439.95 and at The Feral Store for $59.99. Steam Play is supported which means you only buy the game once and you can play it on Linux, macOS, and Windows.

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