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Beyond DirectX 10 - A glance at DirectX 10.1 236

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the one-percent-more dept.
Hanners1979 writes "Although we still appear to be some way away from the release of Windows Vista, and with it DirectX 10, specifications for the first point release of the 3D graphics API, DirectX 10.1, have already been finalised and largely made public. Elite Bastards looks at what's new and what will be changing in this release, set to become available not all that long after DirectX 10 — There's more to it than you might imagine."
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Beyond DirectX 10 - A glance at DirectX 10.1

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  • by cos(x) (677938) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:21PM (#15900063)
    GPU shader processors certainly are Turing complete and there are plenty of people (ab-)using them for general purpose calculations. See for example http://www.gpgpu.org/ [gpgpu.org]. For some types of calculations, GPUs are much faster than CPUs due to their massively parallel processing. In fact, I have written my thesis on that very topic, comparing CPU and GPU based implementations of some algorithms.
  • Article Text (Score:5, Informative)

    by insane_machine (952012) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:22PM (#15900067)
    Just by reading this article title, it may seem rather like we're getting ahead of ourselves here - After all, we still have another handful of DirectX 9 boards to come from ATI, never mind being a fair few months away from the launch of Windows Vista, and with it the latest iteration of the DirectX API, DirectX 10.

    Nonetheless, despite all this, DirectX 10 is likely to see a number of point revisions during its lifespan and the first of these, imaginatively titled DirectX 10.1, will be the first of these. It may surprise some of you reading this, but the features which will be added by DirectX 10.1 have already been decided upon and information made available about them, so in this article we'll be taking a look through what we can expect to see in DirectX 10.1 compliant hardware.

    I would imagine this goes without saying, but before tackling this article I'd well and truly recommend beginning by reading our look at what DirectX 10 has to offer in our article entitled "ATI on the possibilities of DirectX 10" to get yourself up to speed on everything that this major inflection point in 3D graphics rendering entails, from geometry shaders through to (more importantly for this article) the WDDM driver model. So, if you feel that you know all you need to know about DirectX 10, let's move onwards to the future world of DirectX 10.1.

    Introduction

    Before we begin outright, we should remind ourselves briefly as to exactly why the API will be seeing point releases as of DirectX 10. The main reason for this move is the removal of cap (or capability) bits in the API. In the past, cap bits allowed for graphics vendors to basically pick and choose what features their hardware would support (albeit within some fairly strict guidelines to ensure compliancy to particular DirectX and Shader Model revisions). Although this left the likes of NVIDIA and ATI with plenty of room to develop and tout features that the other didn't have, it also had the side effect of creating development Hell for any game developers working on titles, leaving them to sort through a myriad of cap bits for different GPUs and configurations to ensure that they were supporting the right features for the right boards - More often than not, this simply meant that advanced features that only one graphics vendor supported were left out of the vast majority of titles altogether (Truform anyone?). The removal of this labyrinth was one of the main things developers were screaming out for when it came to discussing what was required of DirectX 10, and so it came to pass.

    Of course, this removal of cap bits had to be offset against the ever changing and progressing world of GPU development, so the graphics vendors still needed a way to push the technology forward and allow new technologies to find their way into games. Thus, DirectX 10 will be seeing point releases, one of the main facets of which will be to facilitate the inclusion of new funtionality for compliant graphics hardware to make use of. This makes life easier both for developers (who can target DirectX 10, 10.1 etc rather than individual features) and consumers - How do you explain to the man on the street that yes, a Radeon X800 and GeForce 6800 are both DirectX 9 parts, but both support different Shader Models in their respective architectures. It isn't much fun, trust me. As DirectX 10 and its point releases will also have very little in the way of features that are only optional in the API, buying a graphics board compliant with a particular DirectX 10 version will ensure that it does everything it needs to do to satisfy game titles that use that level of technology. No more Vertex Texture Fetch-esque confusions this time around then.

    The other question to answer (or not answer, such is the way these things work) before we start is - When will DirectX 10.1 be released? From what we've heard thus far, it appears that it may well become available not all that long after DirectX 10 itself. What isn't so likely however, is that we'll be seeing DirectX 10.1
  • by MBCook (132727) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:28PM (#15900092) Homepage
    It's just like the rest of Win32. There is nothing magical. But as you implement it new versions will come out and you'll be in constant catch-up. On top of that, DirectX is used for games so you need to have it perform well. This combination makes it hard. CodeWeavers and Cedega are both trying.
  • Re:WHOM (Score:3, Informative)

    by SpottedKuh (855161) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:51PM (#15900161)
    Indeed, you are correct that "whom," as opposed to "who," should have been used. However, I believe the term "accusative" does not apply to the distinction between "who" and "whom" in English. I believe the terms that should be used are "subjective" (who) or "objective" (whom).

    In modern English, the accusative and dative cases that existed in Old English (and are still used in modern languages such as German) collapsed into a single objective usage. That is, "whom" can be used either as a direct object pronoun, corresponding to an accusative usage in other languages ("Whom did you hit?"); or, it can be used as an indirect object pronoun, corresponding to a dative usage in other languages ("To whom did you give the apple?"). There's a much better explanation here [wikipedia.org].
  • by Tolleman (606762) <jens@toll[ ]en.se ['ofs' in gap]> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @09:20PM (#15900257) Homepage
    nVidia has always had excellent support for OpenGL. And concidering that alot of the guys at nVidia is former SGI employees, SGI being the ones that made OpenGL, they've always been OpenGL fans. So basicly, is anything you wrote correct?
  • by EvilMerlin (32498) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @09:51PM (#15900354) Homepage
    For the LAST time, DirectX != OpenGL.

    Direct3D is more like OpenGL, DirectX includes a whole boat load of stuff OpenGL can't even think about touching, stuff like DirectPlay and DirectSound for starters.

    People, especially those who love the anti-Microsoft FUD, shoult better educate themselves before attempting to speak about Microsoft...
  • Insightful? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday August 14, 2006 @12:33AM (#15900811)
    More like wishful innacurate zealot rambling. nVidia isn't betting on OpenGL, nVidia has ALWAYS supported OpenGL to the same level as they have DriectX, which is to say excellently. Ever since their fumbling first attempt with a proprietary API they decalred their cards native APIs were DirectX and OpenGL. They supported both as native, and no others. You'll find that with games that support both, their speed is equal. To this day, I've never seen them slack on their GL support.

    And yes, DirectX IS a standard. It's not an open standard, but it's a standard. Look up "standard" in the dictionary. A standard is just something that's regularly and widely used. There doesn't even have to be an offical document on it or anything, so long as a bunch of people do it a certian way, it's a standard.

    DirectX is the predominant standard in PC gaming graphics, sound, input, and so on. You look at game titles, better than 90% of them require DirectX. Yes it's MS exclusive, but it's still the standard for gaming.

    Unless OpenGL really gets it's shit together and starts keeping up to date with graphics hardwre developments, then no, I don't think there's any chance of DirectX going anywhere. GL support lags behind hardware which means to implement a GL game using the latest, greatest features you've got to implement them multiple times to deal with the different extensions form different vendors.
  • by nighthawk127127 (848761) on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:02AM (#15900970) Journal
    we won't be seeing any games that use DirectX10 for at least 2 years
    Hmm... like, for example, Crysis? Or UT2K7? Or Halo 2 (PC obviously)? Or Flight Simulator X? Come on out from under your rock, buddy... these are all games that use DX10 and they'll be out well within 2 years.
  • by Khyber (864651) <techkitsune@gmail.com> on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:36AM (#15901020) Homepage Journal
    Running games and graphics apps in OpenGL was better and faster than D3D - why? Simple! D3D had to go thru the OS first. OpenGL was direct to hardware. That was one less step to do (from what I'm understanding reading the OpenGL website,) which usually resulted in better performance, and the general reason was that games running D3D needed more CPU/GPU power and RAM to run as smoothly (Anyone recall Unreal Tournament 2003's requirements? Remember the hidden OpenGL renderer which gave you an extra 10 or so FPS, just like the OpenGL renderer in the original Unreal Tournament?) Having less layers of code to go through will almost always, with the exception of poor programming, outdo going through a separate API. With the lovely novelty of universal drivers, games can easily be written to directly address the hardware. In steps OpenGL, and out steps D3D. Hello Linux, OSX, and Windows gaming, all in a wonderful harmony. As long as everyone plays by OpenGLs standard, all should be well in theory. This is only a thought, and a theory.
  • by ichigo 2.0 (900288) on Monday August 14, 2006 @06:55AM (#15901570)
    As the other poster already pointed out, DX8 is the first version that supported shaders. Also, using more advanced shaders do not grow the size of the game by "too many gigs of space", shaders are quite tiny, usually under a few kbytes in size. In fact, if a game uses some of the more advanced procedural shaders that become a realistic possibility with DX10, the size of the game will decrease as some of the art is generated at runtime instead of being handcrafted and stored in the game data. Otherwise agreeable.

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