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DirectX 12 revealed, coming in late 2015

20 Mar 2014  by   Peter Parrish
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microsoft directx 12

Then join us again, again for the first DirectX 12 games in late 2015.

Who’s ready for some hot and heavy graphics API (application programming interface) news? Great, because Microsoft has just spent the past few hours at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) taking about DirectX 12.

I almost understood some of what was said, so allow me now to relate it to you. First up, don’t expect to be playing DirectX 12 driven games any time soon. Microsoft says it expects the first of these to be showing up around late 2015. It’s said to be compatible with “all Microsoft platforms” – though not necessarily all Windows software – and higher-ish end contemporary graphics cards will be able to make use of it once it’s released.

So, if you have a pretty decent GPU right now, chances are it’ll work with DirectX 12 in future. I don’t think the specifics of what counts as a “modern” GPU have been outlined by Microsoft yet, but they do say that “over 80% of gamer PCs currently being sold” have compatible cards. If you have one that supports DirectX 11 right now, you’ll probably be fine.

Windows is another matter entirely. Since the benefits of DirectX 12 won’t even be seen until almost two years from now, it may be wise to speculate that Windows 7 support will not be forthcoming. The latest versions of DirectX 11 have already been restricted to Windows 8.1, so although Microsoft haven’t confirmed this yet, we can probably expect DirectX 12 to be exclusive to Windows 8/9.

DirectX 12 itself is sounding rather like AMD’s Mantle, but for all types of graphics hardware (rather than just AMD stuff.) Microsoft claims it can show major CPU performance increases thanks to fixed threading and altered data-structures. Whatever that means. Basically, the claim is that you’ll see decent frame-rate boosts on weaker CPUs. 50% lower CPU overhead was the statistic being chucked around.

Microsoft also made a big deal about how easy it is to port games with DirectX 12. They showed a tech demo version of Forza 5 running at 60fps on Nvidia hardware (important, as the Xbox One GPU is AMD-made) on PC. I wouldn’t get too excited for an actual Forza 5 port though, as this was probably just there to demonstrate what could be achieved in “four man months” of work with DirectX 12.

You can read more about the latest iteration of Microsoft’s graphics API at the company’s blog post about the announcement.

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  1. Shredderman
    +1

    AMD’s Mantle API is open, it’s just that no one else has chosen to adopt it yet.

    March 21, 2014 at 4:40 am
    1. That is true and a good point, but it’s “open” in a way that means Nvidia is pretty unlikely to ever touch it.

      March 21, 2014 at 5:56 pm
    2. +1

      Mantle is Open API AMD not Open Source, which means AMD could switch it to closed any time they like, which they almost certainly would enough people were reliant on it, and if they could damage NVidia, Which means Nvida will never adopt it, and wouldn’t even if it was open source since it would be a major PR victory for AMD, and untill both GPU firms, adopt it it will never rival DirectX, even though its better.

      March 21, 2014 at 8:20 pm

  2. Sparky Lawrence
    +1

    DirectX XII is great news for PC gamers and Xbox One too and I’m actually quite optimistic about it all. This will have come just in time for AAA developers who are just about to embark on a new game project so that’s good news for them.

    By contrast, AMD’s Mantle really is a fantastic API but if only it could have been created by a non-GPU manufacturer third party for the good of all devices. It’s all good for AMD to tease NVidia by offering to allow them to use it but in reality I see very little prospect of NVidia surrendering that much strategic power to their main competitor especially when DirectX is so readily available as an alternative. But we’ll see, time will tell on this one.

    March 21, 2014 at 2:36 pm

  3. DavidTheSlayer
    +1

    It will be good to see graphic card manufacturers and game developers work together to improve textures in the games rather than raw pixel pushing power on graphics cards as I think they’re making some good effeciencies processing/transisitor wise. DirectX or Mantle should push this forward. Reduced power and cooling would also be nice :).

    March 21, 2014 at 9:52 pm
  4. indeed Im glad to see AMD invovating and putting pressure on MS and Nvidia

    March 22, 2014 at 9:29 pm

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