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What Game Developers Think about DirectX 10 115

mikemuch writes "In the last of his series of interviews with the stakeholders in Microsofts upcoming DirectX graphics API, Jason Cross speaks with the developers of Hellgate, Crysis, Flight Simulator X, and Age of Conan. They seem pretty stoked about the new technology's ability to get visual detail to a much higher level of realism, and to offload physics and AI to the CPU." From the article: "Without hardware, it is hard to evaluate which features will really make the biggest performance impact. The geometry shader looks pretty full of potential. So does the fact that you can write to buffers from any shader and then read them into another shader. Texture arrays look like they will make a big dent our batch count, which should lead to much better frame rates. At this point I feel like I'm looking at a shiny new toy through a shop window: I can't wait to get my hands on it and play with it, but I don't really know what it can do."
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What Game Developers Think about DirectX 10

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  • How is this news? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by andrewman327 ( 635952 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @11:32AM (#15743619) Homepage Journal
    From the writeup: "I don't really know what it can do."


    I think that says it all. All we have now are lofty marketing claims and unfounded speculation. I am as excited as anyone to see what it can do (I admit to being a fan of flight sims) but this does not really help me understand any better. Since this is /. I'm sure we will see this story several more times before DirectX 10 is launched.

    • Re:How is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Tackhead ( 54550 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @11:34AM (#15743635)
      > From the writeup: "I don't really know what it can do."

      From reality: It will require Vista. That's all Microsoft needs it to do.

      • Re:How is this news? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Sosigenes ( 950988 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @11:56AM (#15743826)
        "From reality: It will require Vista. That's all Microsoft needs it to do."

        From what I've read, technically it doesn't. I was reading an interesting article in PC Format (UK Magazine) today, and them trying to find out why DX10 will be restricted to Vista - the best answer they were able to come up is that the structure in Vista (eg. usermode rather than kernal mode) is slightly different and therefore it would require modifications to make it work with XP.

        In fact, the article states that ATI are working with DirectX 10 under windows XP (with a few modifications to make it fit Vista). So the question is - if they can, and it's obviously possible, why can't we we?

        If anyone has a better explanation as to why it's Vista limited, I'd be very interested in hearing it (as would many others, from the impression I've got - even ATI, Nvidia and Microsoft, who PC Format contacted, were unable to provide much of an answer.)
        • the article states that ATI are working with DirectX 10 under windows XP (with a few modifications to make it fit Vista). So the question is - if they can, and it's obviously possible, why can't we we?

          Because we don't develop graphics hardware. A new version of DirectX is pretty useless without hardware that supports the changes. Vista is a beta platform making it a poor choice to develop things on right now, you would never know if a problem is because of what you did or because of Vistas beta code.

          So rat

          • they created a developers preview to allow ATI and nVidia to begin to work on supporting the new features

            The point is, if they can create a version that works in XP for ATI then they can create a version that works in XP for everyone else, too. Which just brings us back to the conclusion that DirectX 10 is yet another damned Microsoft forced upgrade.

            • The point is, if they can create a version that works in XP for ATI then they can create a version that works in XP for everyone else, too. Which just brings us back to the conclusion that DirectX 10 is yet another damned Microsoft forced upgrade.

              I predict that one day the word "forced" is going to be used on Slashdot correctly, and that the massive shockwave caused will shut down the entire internet for a whole day...

              • [I should probably not post right now, because my ability to write coherently seems to be damped by my sleepiness, but this is Slashdot...]

                Something tells me that you misunderstand the nature of "force". Tell me, if somebody puts a gun to your head and says, "Install Vista", and you do, could you say you were "forced" to do so?

                It's about gaining compliance through coersion. In both cases, somebody is doing something that they don't want to do, but are doing anyway because the drawbacks of non-complian

                • [I should probably not post right now, because my ability to write coherently seems to be damped by my sleepiness, but this is Slashdot...]

                  I doubt it's your sleepiness that is affecting your coherence on this topic.

                  Something tells me that you misunderstand the nature of "force".

                  No, something tells me a hell of a lot of people on Slashdot say "force" when they really mean "justify a purchase in a socially acceptable way".

                  Tell me, if somebody puts a gun to your head and says, "Install Vista", and you do

                  • I disagree, but this argument is completely missing the point. If the word "forces" is so dear to you, we can drop it. The problem remains: Microsoft uses its market position to gain additional sales, from unhappy customers, that would never occur in a perfectly competitive market, and this practice is draining resources from the economy that would otherwise be invested in developing better technology that would benefit consumers.

                    This phenomenon is often summarized as "Microsoft is forcing me to buy XYZ

                    • I disagree, but this argument is completely missing the point.

                      No, it's not.

                      If the word "forces" is so dear to you, we can drop it.

                      It's got nothing to do with the word, it's the (incorrect and irrational) implication behind its use.

                      The problem remains: Microsoft uses its market position to gain additional sales, from unhappy customers, that would never occur in a perfectly competitive market, and this practice is draining resources from the economy that would otherwise be invested in developing better

          • If they are developing on windows XP, that means that DirectX10 works on windows XP. Pretty hard to develop for it if it didn't.

            Therefore, if they have it working well enough for the developers, what reason (besides forcing gamers/etc to switch to Vista) could they have for not allowing it to work for consumers on XP as opposed to just Vista?
            • If I remember correctly, Quake was originally developed on either a Linux or an SGI box. That doesn't mean consumers had access to the *nix version of Quake when the original DOS version was released.

              Or maybe that was Doom.

              • This would have been a decision by the developers of the game not to release the 'nix/SGI code. If they don't want to support the market, fine.

                However, this isn't a case of ATI etc not releasing directX10 for WinXP (it's not their product). Rather, directX is made by Microsoft, windows is made by Microsoft, and getting a newer DirectX looks like it's going to require you buy a newer Microsoft OS (Vista).

                If this was the case of ID software /w Doom or Quake, it wouldn't be that they profited from operatin
                • However, this isn't a case of ATI etc not releasing directX10 for WinXP (it's not their product). Rather, directX is made by Microsoft, windows is made by Microsoft, and getting a newer DirectX looks like it's going to require you buy a newer Microsoft OS (Vista).

                  That's my point. Some other people have been arguing that there is little technical reason why DirectX 10 don't run on Windows XP, since it's being developed on WinXP. My argument is that just because somebody can run a development verion of D

        • Selling point

          Or why'd you get Vista?
        • by Corngood ( 736783 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @12:40PM (#15744199)
          In Vista, GPU resources are virtualised by the operating system; it's similar to the transition between real and protected mode operating systems on x86. It's kind of like asking for DirectX 9 on Windows 3.1. You could argue that it's just a different driver model, like 98->XP, but I would imagine that adding virtualisation would make the transition much more difficult than that.
        • In fact, the article states that ATI are working with DirectX 10 under windows XP (with a few modifications to make it fit Vista). So the question is - if they can, and it's obviously possible, why can't we we?

          Microsoft simply doesn't have much incentive for DX10 to be available on Windows XP, even though it might be very easy to port it. They want to do everything they can to get people to buy Vista. If you want to run a DX10 game, you either have to buy Vista or an XBox360 --- either of which is a goo

        • There's technically no reason why it couldn't be done, it's just MS needs a way to force an upgrade.
          • There's technically no reason why it couldn't be done, it's just MS needs a way to force an upgrade.

            And why not? Nobody complained when Apple failed to backport Quartz 2D Extreme to Panther.

            There's technically no reason why Microsoft couldn't give away free copies of Vista to everyone in the world. That doesn't mean you're entitled to it.
            • Because quartz extreme is an interface improvement, the lack of it doesn't prevent you from running any third party apps.
              So by not backporting it, Apple provide incentive to upgrade to the latest version, but they aren't blackmailing you by intentionally making new apps incompatible with the old version.
        • I dont buy that.

          Mainly because when I recieved NT4 for free when getting my MCSE many years ago. Directx3 was available and you could download directx5 beta for it. THen Microsoft decided it would be better to force me to upgrade to Windows2000 instead or have my downgrade to Windows98 (shudder). That pissed me off and I began looking at Linux as a result.

          What platform do you think the directX team uses? Its not Vista. Its too unstable right now for real production use. They use WindowsXP and backporting di
          • What platform do you think the directX team uses? Its not Vista. Its too unstable right now for real production use. They use WindowsXP and backporting directX10 beta's to Vista and then claiming they can't do it to save PR.

            That's a mighty big assumption given how famous Microsoft is for "eating their own dog food".

            • Microsoft did use SCO Openserver as late as 1997 until Exchange server stopped sucking enough. Ask any MS employee from then? MS tries to eat its own dogfood but does not every time. For examle they also used OS/2 and not Windows 3.0 and perhaps didn't use Windows 3.1 either. They finally stopped using os/2 when Windows95 came out.
    • Yeah this is the most 'vapourware' article i've read in a long time...asking a bunch of people that really have no idea what will be possible isn't news...we could get as good of an answer by chatting with random people in the street
    • I think the news is that developers seem very eager to try it out. It sounds like they have more than unfounded speculation and lofty marketing claims, as it sounded to me like they could actually SEE the new API. And they are entitled to their opinion that certian functions look like they will make things faster / easier to code.
  • by Funk_dat69 ( 215898 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @11:38AM (#15743666)
    "Offload physics and AI to the CPU."


    Woo hoo! I hope 'offloading' MS Office to the CPU is next!

    Seriously, though, is this supposed to be a feature?
    • I'm pretty sure they mean GPU.
    • Re:Thanks DX10! (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @11:45AM (#15743739)
      No, it's a really, really bad interpretation of what the article says:

      By shifting more of the graphics processing tasks to the graphics hardware, the CPU is freed up to focus on other gameplay related tasks like better AI, more in-scene entities and deeper physics, thus enabling entirely new gameplay experiences.
      So in fact, it offloads (even) more graphics processing to the GPU; it does not offload AI and physics processing to the CPU, it reduces the CPU's load so it can focus on that sort of task.
    • The article actually talks about moving even more of the graphics work from CPU to GPU, thus freeing up more CPU time for AI/Physics/Whatever.
      However, DX10 also makes general parallel computation easier to accomplish on the GPU, so we'll likely start seeing some game devs compute physics on the GPU as well.
    • Yeah, I found this a little confusing too. Plus, I don't really see the need for a physics accelerator with the upswing of dual-core CPUs set to take over. Why dedicate a PCI card to physics when you have one or more other cores on the die just sitting there?
  • It will only be available on Vista, a lot of current hardware will have difficulties running on it, so the market will be relativly small and the hardware doesn't support it yet.

    Considering the investments represented by a game, I think it is safer to develop for DirectX 9 for the months comming.
    • Theres much bigger support for OpenGL 2.0 on pretty much all hardware and platforms. I never saw why people use DirectX when all it does is limit your application to MS platforms and is dictated by MS.
      • Shrugs. One thing I can see coming out of this and hinted at my MS in other ways are games developed for the XBOX360 that will also run on Vista. I can see that as huge market potential. Otherwise I'd agree developers will stay away from DirectX10 for a while.
        • How would that be possible, considering the vastly different PPC-based Xbox 360 and x86-based PC?

          Unless of course everything were to run in a virtual machine, but I can hardly see that happening for performance reasons.

          Some serious cross-platform thinking would be needed , and I don't think even MS could make (most) game developers think that way.
          • Thats the whole point of DirectX and an API! So the game developer doesn't have to worry about the underlying hardware. All that's required is porting DirectX itself to the Xbox OS and hardware, so most of the work is done by MS themselves.
          • How would that be possible, considering the vastly different PPC-based Xbox 360 and x86-based PC?

            How is it possible that OpenGL works on the vastly different PPC, x86, and even MIPS (sgi boxes) chips?

            Oh, right: because it's an API!

          • Simple, because both Vista and the X360 will be using the XNA framework and C#. With those in place, the game you write for Vista can be run on the X360 without any changes due to the use of the abstraction provided by XNA and .NET. The only possible downside to having to use those technologies might be the slight loss of performance due to the virtual machine, but I doubt it'll be noticible, especially on the X360 where Microsoft is 100% assured of what they're compiling to.
        • One thing I can see coming out of this and hinted at my MS in other ways are games developed for the XBOX360 that will also run on Vista. I can see that as huge market potential.

          Yes, but what you're missing is that although those games will run on the xbox and Windows, they won't run on the PS3, Wii, or Macintoshes (sans a lot of work porting them or parallel development anyway). The big players want portable code for strategic and quality reasons. It saves them money in the long run.

          Any company that

          • Ummmm a LOT of games are Xbox exclusives. It may be stupid, but its nothing new.
            • Ummmm a LOT of games are Xbox exclusives. It may be stupid, but its nothing new.

              Yeah half of those are made by companies MS purchased. The others were paid by MS to keep the games exclusive to the xBox (or greatly discounted license fees). How do you think those companies will feel about no longer getting that kickback, but still not getting to the rest of the market? How will they feel if this results in the xBox taking a huge chunk of the market and the resultant lack of kickbacks plus greatly increase

            • How many good and popular games, besides Craplo which is really only liked for the multiplayer component when all is said and done, are there for the 360 that can't be found on another console OR the PC? And of those games, how many have/will have analogues on different systems?
      • I never saw why people use DirectX when all it does is limit your application to MS platforms and is dictated by MS.

        Because that's where the market/money is. The vast majority of the audience for a PC-based game run Windows. DirectX is part of that, while OpenGL is an add-on. Sure you could have the game install OpenGL along with the game, but it is easier to just go with what is in the OS already as long as it meets your needs. For most games out there (FPS seem to be the exception) DirectX works just
        • Because that's where the market/money is.

          Actually it is about risk management. The most successful game companies not purchased by MS use OpenGL because it makes them more money (As did several of the companies MS bought until after the acquisition). Development houses that are uncertain of the success of their game, however, often make a smaller up front investment and use DirectX (easier to find cheap talent). Those that are failures lose less money that way. Those that are successful then pay to port

      • Because OpenGL is just graphics, DX handles everything. Yes, I know about SDL. Did you know that by default SDL uses DirectX [libsdl.org] drivers though for graphics on Windows? Hmm..
        • Did you know that by default SDL uses DirectX drivers though for graphics on Windows?

          Did you know that SDL tries to make the interface for GUIs the same on multiple platforms? They aren't trying to rewrite those interfaces, just to make an intermediate level for programmers so they don't have to know how to write for a particular platform. That SDL uses DirectX doesn't surprise me, nor anyone else who understands what the SDL is trying to do. DirectX is a great API. Why not use it? Put simply, beca
          • Why not use it?

            Because another layer of indirection could impact performance, and because you may not be able to use all the features that DirectX offers. It does seem odd to me though that they'd use DX over OpenGL.. after all, OpenGL is already cross-platform.
      • Theres much bigger support for OpenGL 2.0 on pretty much all hardware and platforms.

        OpenGL != DirectX.

        I never saw why people use DirectX when all it does is limit your application to MS platforms and is dictated by MS.

        Indeed. Limiting themselves to 99% of the market. Whatever could they be thinking !

        • I know OpenGL != to DirectX but they are both graphics API. When you write a game your market is not just PC its also console which guess what? All use OpenGL now but the XBox. If I were a game developer Id rather be able to release on everything but the XBox instead of being able to just release on the XBox and Windows.
  • It seems fairly unlikely that they will give a harsh viewpoint of DX10.

    Imagine this scenario:

    - FSX developer says something about DX10 (it is a mild critique of lack of Device Caps etc.)
    - MS heavy circles around the developer
    - Developer starts to sweat
    - MS heavy circles to front of Developer and looks him up and down
    - Developers starts trembling, starts to speak
    - Developer is interrupted by fist to stomach and drops to the floor

    - MS Heavy (Nazy voice): You will choose your words more wisely next time Her D
  • What Game Developers Think about DirectX 10?

    What kind of open-ended question is that? On /. too, I mean, what kind of posts do you expect to get? I think a backslash of this could be extremely funny.
  • by ludomancer ( 921940 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @11:52AM (#15743790)
    The articles responses sound more like what marketting thinks about it, rather than developers.

    I'll tell you what developers think about it:

    DirectX 10 is supposed to be Vista exclusive. Smart people know Vista is a pile. Of course Microsoft will shove Vista down people's throats eventually, but you're still being locked into a piece of software that will tank for the first 12-18 months.

    Realistically there is very little the new API will offer in this generation of games, in some cases it detracts from it (Hellgate, which looked much better without the normal mapping), because Microsoft is buying out these folks in mid-development so they can say they've got support for this API and make marketting-articles like these.

    Lastly, DirectX 10 is going on a platform that will rule out OpenGL. Not many people use OpenGL in the last few years, so, sadly, this is a minor point. But it's great to have choices, and to have your choices superficially limited always gets me in an uproar.

    In a nutshell DirectX 10 is not bringing anything terribly new to the table, while removing very critical freedoms from developers in the first place. They will fill pages with positive bullet points on DX10, but when you plop down a DX10 title next to a DX9/whatever-else title in the end, they will not be noticably different.

    Sorry for the ranty-rant.
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @12:14PM (#15743981)

      Lastly, DirectX 10 is going on a platform that will rule out OpenGL.

      This has yet to be seen. Vista may or may not make OpenGL more difficult for the average person.

      Not many people use OpenGL in the last few years, so, sadly, this is a minor point.

      Sure, not many companies, but they include companies in the gaming market that really matter. ID and Blizzard come to mind. Really, the major players that Microsoft has not bought out (RIP Ensemble and Bungie) mostly use OpenGL because they know their games are going to be successful and it is easier to build using a cross-platform API up front than to try to port it later. I don't think too many gamers are going to switch to Vista if it means World of Warcraft and all the games on the Doom engine will no longer work.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      What crap. What about Vista is going to rule out OpenGL? The fact that you even spout this line is proof you have no clue what you're talking about. Just because Microsoft is no longer going to do the heavy lifting for implementing OpenGL for everyone else to use doesn't mean you can't have OpenGL on the platform.

      They are providing the framework for people to shim in their own API for video acceleration. What more do you want? Should they come on over to your studio and write your game for you too? Wo
    • Are you really a game developer? Because you seem to be a ill-informed one at that. OpenGL will work the same way it did in XP: GPU manufacturers provide an OpenGL ICD in their drivers. The only part that is being dropped from Vista is the crappy software OpenGL ICD, which no one used.

      but when you plop down a DX10 title next to a DX9/whatever-else title in the end, they will not be noticably different.

      It's up to developers if they want to use geometry shaders or not, even if you're a lazy developer and
    • You must be one piss-poor "game developer" to be so utterly ignrant of the technology.
  • Since these developers clearly don't really know that much, the question is really asking how much they believe whatever marketing hype or hearsay they've encountered. I'd be more interested in finding out what they think about Microsoft potentially shafting OpenGL [slashdot.org], or if they even care at all about vendor lock-in.
  • ...and to offload physics and AI to the CPU.

    I thought the next cool thing was to offload the physics to a dedicated physics processor [ageia.com] so that you'll have more cpu cycles for better AI. Heck, it says so on Ageia's frontpage! "The next big thing to hit PC gaming." :)

  • by grapeape ( 137008 ) <mpope7.kc@rr@com> on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @12:05PM (#15743899) Homepage
    For the past few years I havent had nearly the urge to upgrade that I did in the past. Most games have become so gpu dependant that upgrading the video card has been sufficient enough to keep the latest games running on even a 2-3 year old machine. From what I read it appears that dx10 is more of an attempt to make the rest of the hardware insufficient than any real improvement in the gaming experience.

    With all the talk of physics engines and vista exclusivity it has me concerned that what is already a small market is just going to get smaller. My last video card upgrade was $400 and it was an upper mid-range card (x850 xt platinum) not top of the line. My friends and family thought I was insane since many of their pc's cost less than that. I cant even count how many clients I have that get pissed off that their new dual core system cant run a two year old game because the video included was an onboard intel gpu.

    IMHO thats whats wrong with the PC gaming world and what pushes users to "casual" gaming. Most folks I know dont even bother to look at the new games on the shelves because they assume they cant run it and refuse to put up the cash to upgrade what they see as a minor part of their pc. I understand Microsofts and their vendors desire to get people upgrading again but unless computer manufacturers either start uncluding decent video cards or intel increases their integrated performace by leaps and bounds the market is just going to dwindle even more.
    • by cliffski ( 65094 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @12:30PM (#15744121) Homepage
      Agreed 100%. I dont make 'casual' games like most of the causal market (they tend to be puzzle games) but I do aim squarely at people like yourself. I'm still doing 2D stuff, and happily using DirectX7. The beauty of it is that I dont care what vertex shader or pixel shader version your card has, I don't even care what version of DX you have, because unless your on windows 95 or ME, you'll have DX7 pre-installed.
      I see no real reason to even move to directx8 unless I did a flight sim or an FPS, the extra bells and whistles aren't neccesary for my genre. And why *anyone* would build a game engine around a dedicated physics card that 0.01% of the market has is totally beyond me. Still, I dont understand why Civ4 was so 3D. Was it to limit the number of people who could play? or just make it expensive to develop?
      I'm sure that the vast majority of games designers (as opposed to graphics programmers) would rather the pace of API and technology releases slowed dramatically. Then we could all concentrate on this legendery 'fun' thing, that used to be the whole point of these 'tech demos' that pass for modern agmes.
      Bah. Rant mode off...
      • I'm still doing 2D stuff, and happily using DirectX7.

        Why not just use SDL, and let Mac, Linux, Nintendo*, and Playstation* people play your game too?

        *The Wii and PS3 are going to have Xbox Live-like services that you could put your game on, I think.

        • You are so right, and if I was starting again now I would certainly use SDL, and may switch to it for my next project. It would save me a big royalty slice on the mac version of Democracy :D

          The new round of consoles have great possibilities, athough theres always that barrier of some big licensing company to decide if your game is 'right' for their console. Thats the beauty of the PC. Can you imagine if only Sony made TVs, and decided what TV programs could be made?
    • by adam31 ( 817930 ) <adam31 AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @12:56PM (#15744338)
      Most folks I know dont even bother to look at the new games on the shelves because they assume they cant run it

      I personally don't look at new games because they're such a pain to use. Download the new drivers, download a bios update, install the latest patch, fight through the DRM... ugh. Not to mention I only run a 6600GT, so your other point bears weight as well.


      Personally, I feel like this will be a big blow to developers. MS is trying to squeeze out Nvidia for being "the friend of my enemy" in a different war. Nvidia will support XP to its dying end, while ATi will be pressured by MS to force users into a Vista purchase. In the end, everyone loses as consumers don't know what to buy, card makers don't know what drivers to support, developers don't know what DX version to target... and everyone buys a Wii.

    • That's why i think console gaming is the way to go. Less complications, cheaper custom designed hardware, and you, as a customer, never have to worry about framerates, ram, crashing, upgrading, joysticks, etc.
  • Only on VISTA (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Foofoobar ( 318279 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @12:16PM (#15743991)
    Considering that Directx 10 is only on VISTA, any game developer launching games for Vista from the get go will probably be very upset when their sales numbers do not make up for development costs.

    I think by now, everyone realizes that Microsofts product isn't good until the second or third version and people will wait. As such, games released with Directx will be directly affected by this.
  • Does it really matter what developers think? Microsoft is going to force everyone to use DirectX anymore, whether they want to or not :(.
  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @12:40PM (#15744198)
    I'm not with some big studio, mind you. If anything, I'm more along the line of the currently so popular (gee, I didn't notice it in sales, to be honest) "little lunch break games".

    I've taken a look at DX10 (well, at the parts you get to see if you're not one of the huge studios, at least). Yes, a few things look promising. But considering the downside, I'll think twice before switching over to DXX.

    First of all, it's a new beast. The transitions between DX7 and DX8, and to a lesser degree to DX9 have been considerable. Yes, the changes were minimal, but if you wanted to go with the new flow, you had to rework your code. For rather little gain, if you ask me, since "small developers" certainly don't use the wonderful new features offered. Yes, a programmable shader is nice, HLSL was a big, big help for creating a better shader and it was a big speed boost in code creation. But, frankly, it's not something I'd wet my pants over. Whether the easier creation of some parts and more flexibility in others was worth the time input to revamp your code to the new calling conventions is debatable.

    Second, and more important, Vista-only. Now, as I've said, my "target group", so to speak, are people who want to play a li'l game now and then, not hardcore gamers that spend their vacation money rather on new hardware than on a trip to the Bahamas. In other words, my clients will have second line computers, not bleeding-edge hardware. And likewise they will most likely not jump onto Vista the moment it is released, so why should I? I would lose a considerable part of my market.

    It might be useful for studios that really work on state-of-the-art games, that HAVE to go to the top and grab the most advanced features available in drivers. It's likely that soon you'll only get top performance out of hardware with Vista, because driver development for older systems will be slacking, just like it was for the Win95/98 line at the wake of 2k/XP. Because test pages will always go for the most current system, so drivers for those will invariably get perference when it comes to tweaking and performance tuning.

    Likewise, MS will soon start to abandon fixing anything but the most glaring bugs in older DX versions and newer features of hardware will only be supported in DX10, just like it's been with older versions of DX.

    So yes, game development will shift to DX10 and Vista at some point. The question is when their target audience shifts. If consumers don't buy into Vista, studios will have to continue making games for DX9. Or MS will have to port DX10 to XP, appearantly it is somehow possible (though it's quite possible that they only ported the SDK and the runtime won't be working with XP).

    Whether or not games will require DX10 is finally up to a few questions:

    1. How many people will go to Vista (and thus DX10), so how big is the market?
    2. What "killer" features will DX10 offer that DX9 won't?
    3. Is it easier or harder to use DX10 compared to 9?
    4. How much more horsepower will DX10 need to run games comparably fast with DX9?
  • Where did this no hardware assumption come from? ExtremeTech: It seems like nobody has actual DX10 hardware yet. Crytek: We cannot comment though under which DX10 development conditions we are working, since it would infringe NDAs. That kind of sounds like hardware.
    • Or Crytek is blowing smoke up people's ass. Not saying they are, but PR and reality don't always meet-up in the game industry. ;)



      The real high-end video cards on the market now can reproduce a lot of the DX10 features, but they are not "true DX10". Crytek may be using a hopped-up gaming rig, like the rest of the DX10 developers I've talked to.

  • by MaWeiTao ( 908546 ) on Wednesday July 19, 2006 @01:00PM (#15744371)
    I'm reading claims that this is some conspiracy between Microsoft and hardware companies to force people to upgrade.

    I think what's really going on is that Microsoft is addressing the demands of the gaming industry with DirectX 10. The game industry is obsessed with realism. There's this overwhelming desire to make games look and feel real, with gameplay taking the backseat.

    I also can't help but think that developers are getting every more sloppy because they're depending on consumers having sufficiently powerful machines. It almost feels like it's done intentionally. Release a game that struggles to run well even on some of the fastest machines out there and suddenly the game is used for performance benchmarks. It's free marketing. The game is mentioned in computer magazines everywhere. Now the consumer has a game that they absolutely need to get in order to test the limits of their machine.

    DirectX 10 seems to offer a few neat features, specifically those dealing with physics. Unfortunately, DirectX 10 is simply perpetuating the poor habits of the gaming industry. It's ensuring we're going to be seeing contrived FPS games for years to come.

    However, it's not going to stop anyone who wants to be more creative. Microsoft is simply responding to market demand.
  • ...speaks with the developers of... Flight Simulator X...seem pretty stoked about the new technology's ability to get visual detail to a much higher level of realism...

    Oh, gee, the Microsoft employees who develop Microsoft Flight Simulator are upbeat about DirectX 10? I'd never have guessed that.

    • Oh, gee, the Microsoft employees who develop Microsoft Flight Simulator are upbeat about DirectX 10?

      According to Microsoft themselves [microsoft.com], FSX is developed by "game developer ACES". I'm not sure what this means, but my guess is that ACES is a game studio that develop the game with Microsoft as the publisher.

  • Its just a lot of hype to get people to switch to vista. I'll make a decision if I think its better then opengl or others after I actually see it in action.

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