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Beyond DirectX 10 - A glance at DirectX 10.1 236

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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  • Hopefully... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Ichigo Kurosaki ( 886802 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:18PM (#15900053)
    the next gen of videocards wait for this technology or include it so we don't have really short lived video cards.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:19PM (#15900058)
    DirectX does not seem a good standard for the industry to follow. DX9 came out how long ago? It seems as if 3D technology advances have slowed down. Yes there have been updates to DX9, but I don't really remember anything that was exciting. Yes, there has been talk about DX10 and the changes it would bring, but now it's known that it's Vista only. That's why it has taken so long. So the industry is waiting for Vista to finally have implementation of their new graphics features? Sounds like a bad move. What if MS delays Vista? What then? Are the graphic chip makers gonna sit and wait? What we need is an actual open industry standard. Bring back OpenGL so we can make improvements as they come, and not having to wait for Microsoft to lead it where they feel they can control it to make money, and continue locking out other platforms.
  • Just like Visual Studio and Office it's yet another thing that props up Windows.

    If I were a DX developer I'd be more interested in playing "ubiquitous developer" than "Windows Sock Puppet".

    I may get modded down for this comment, but honestly, what is so special about windows that makes DX infeasible to implement for other platforms?

  • by mastergoon ( 648848 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:38PM (#15900122) Homepage
    I don't understand what everyone wants Microsoft to do with their next version of windows. Before everyone was complaining that they needed to ditch all the legacy code and clean things up, and now everyone is pissed off that new software for vista won't be backwards compatible. You've got to drop backwards compatibility sometime, if you want to get rid of legacy code.
  • by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:38PM (#15900127) Journal
    Why would any company want to lose out on the win98,2000,XP crowd when they market their game? Only Microsoft has any interest in selling stuff that uses DX10+. To me DX10+ is dumb, stupid, and inane.
  • by Danathar ( 267989 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:42PM (#15900138) Journal
    It used to be that games used both OpenGL and DirectX (especially before Direct3d had the features to compete with OpenGL), but since game developers have made windoze their PC development platform, direct3d has become the defacto graphics library to use. One of the reasons there was no Half-Life 2 native LINUX/Mac port is because there was no OpenGL development and Valve had no inclination to do MAJOR programming work to make it work with OpenGL.

    Until somebody writes a game that does something on LINUX/MAC that can't be done on windows because of the underlying OS that is successful I doubt if we'll see any change.
  • by MBCook ( 132727 ) <foobarsoft@foobarsoft.com> on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:47PM (#15900148) Homepage

    Considering [...] DirectX10 is only available on Vista and that 50% of employers say they are not going to purchase [soon], it's a safe bet to say that we won't be seeing any games [...] for at least 2 years.

    I think I found the flaw in your logic. Employers != Consumers.

    The fact is, games will probably drive Vista adoption more than any other factor save factory pre-installs. We proabaly won't see much requiring DX10 for a year or more, but that is because most big games take 1-3 years to develop so that's about the earliest that we'll see stuff.

    This may cause game manufacturers to change tactics since OpenGL is supported on ALL OS's.

    That fact has always been true, and it hasn't made much of a difference so far, even back when OpenGL and DirectX were much closer in abilities (without needing extensions and such).

  • by aquaepulse ( 990849 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:54PM (#15900165)
    But not for the obvious reasons. I'm tired of these articles because then the woodwork of MS bashers comes out and says the same tired comments over and over again. "MS is just doing this so everyone has to buy Vista!" "There is no reason why DX10 can't be backported to XP!" It's like these people never saw these articles posted before, and they really feel like they are making some new contribution. They are not.
  • OpenGL vs. DirectX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:59PM (#15900180)
    After years of pushing DirectX, Nvidia is now betting on OpenGL and has promised first class OpenGL support for their upcoming cards. What does this mean? At the very least it means that there must be good reason for choosing OpenGL over DirectX. Also, keep in mind that OpenGL is an actual graphics standard whereas DirectX is not. Both will co-exist for the next couple of years but it is likely that in the long run OpenGL leaves DirectX in the dust.
  • by Teckla ( 630646 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @08:59PM (#15900186)
    ...is that the vendor lock-in is FREE!
  • by Merusdraconis ( 730732 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @09:08PM (#15900217) Homepage
    "Just like Visual Studio and Office it's yet another thing that props up Windows."

    Clearly a workable strategy. End users don't care one jot about the OS, but what they can do with it, and Microsoft have been very good at pouncing on those opportunities and communicating what you can do with Windows.

    "what is so special about windows that makes DX infeasible to implement for other platforms?"

    90% of gamers use Windows?

    Microsoft owns both Windows and DirectX and wants gaming on PC to stay a going concern, and is the only company in a position to make a sizable difference. Microsoft has made gamers an active priority, while their competitors in the OS market haven't.
  • by ceoyoyo ( 59147 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @09:40PM (#15900311)
    Bring back OpenGL?

    OpenGL is alive and well. It would be great if some of the Windows developers started using it though, since they are in the majority. Please, feel free to join the rest of the world.
  • by Assmasher ( 456699 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @09:55PM (#15900363) Journal
    The problem is the driver model for DX10 does not work well for the XP WDDM. I assure you they, and all the game publishers, wanted 10 to be available for as many Windows versions as possible. The break with the driver model was fundamental to several things but especially multi-head/multi-device hardware acceleration, changes to the cooperative nature of the 2D and 3D aspects of the video cards (both for fundamental re-factoring of the nature of DirectX Graphics and for the needs of advanced rendering systems like the Vista UI layer.) There's a bunch of great things about DX10 that could have been put into XP but there are other, more fundamental, architectural moves which have great performance benefits and future design benefits going forward.

    Personally, I can't wait to see how well displacement mapping will make real-time terrain generation vastly simpler and adaptive to level of detail (doing this now is a fair amount of work.)
  • by AHumbleOpinion ( 546848 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @10:16PM (#15900423) Homepage
    Bring back OpenGL? OpenGL is alive and well. It would be great if some of the Windows developers started using it though, since they are in the majority.

    If it were in a developer's best interest to use OpenGL they would. OpenGL has a history of having mediocre drivers if you are *not* doing things as Quake does them. In other words OpenGL was of such little interest to ATI and NVIDIA that about all the optimization attention it got was whetever Quake used. Now this was a few years ago and things are better now but developers remembers this and are a little gun shy due to "spotty" support and optimizations. They all know Direct3D will be at the forefront of ATI and NVIDIA's efforts. Now consider the arguments made by other posters where the new features and tools show up first, in Direct3D.

    Again, what's in it for developers? Linux gamers? No they dual boot or emulate, they are already Win32/Direct3D customers. There is no new money to be made, a port would merely move a sale from Win32 to Linux, more work, no revenue. The Linux market is really only those who refuse to emulate or dual boot. Mac OS X gamers? Well at least they have a history of spending money going for them, at least when emulation and dual boot were not feasable since an emulator had to emulate the CPU not just a gaming API. However with the switch to Intel dual booting is now an option, and to make things more confusing there is Cider for emulation. Write for Win32/Direct3D and link in Cider to translate the Win32 calls to Mac OS X. I like OpenGL, I come from a scientific visualization background, but come on, there is not much of a business case from a developer's perspective "today". It had slightly better case "yesterday"

    Please, feel free to join the rest of the world.

    Uh, by "rest of the world" you mean the 5% running Mac OS X and Linux? Hey, if you are discussing soccer then phrases like "rest of the world" are meaningful, but in the context of computer gamers it is a joke.
  • by Professor_UNIX ( 867045 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @10:35PM (#15900468)
    There is no new money to be made, a port would merely move a sale from Win32 to Linux, more work, no revenue. The Linux market is really only those who refuse to emulate or dual boot.
    Well if they had a clue maybe they'd realize that gamers really couldn't care less what operating system they're using as long as it runs the games. If game companies started basing their products on a stable Linux core instead of that flaky Windoze shit we'd start to see gamers switching overnight. Do you really think they get done playing their newest game only to fire up Microsoft Office or some other proprietary Windows applications? Gamers use their $3000 computer like a $3000 video game console, nothing more, nothing less. The underlying OS is irrelevent to them, it's the performance that matters. I'd love to see a new standard for video games that used bootable Linux DVDs to play games just like a console rather than having to load up the Windoze bloat before launching the game.
  • Not so simple (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Rob Simpson ( 533360 ) on Sunday August 13, 2006 @10:55PM (#15900534)
    The difference is that it will be very easy to make games that run on both Vista and XP/2000/etc compared to making a Linux or Mac port. While I'm sure there will be a large market for Vista, if a company can use OpenGL (or even DirectX 9) just as easily and sell the game for other versions of Windows as well, they would be stupid not to. There'd have to be a some feature in DirectX 10 or Vista that is essential to the game, which I find unlikely.
  • by eebra82 ( 907996 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @12:26AM (#15900795) Homepage
    "I think DirectX sucks for a variety of reasons but the truth of the matter is there are no real video card features DX9 doesn't currently implement. Neither Nvidia or ATI have yet to release a card with the new feature sets in DX10."

    Well, you can run games using older versions of DirectX in Vista, so how exactly is this a problem. DirectX 10 isn't out yet and you're complaining about the lack of DX10 cards? ATI and nVidia are on development cycles and they would obviously not include DX10 support on current graphics cards, simply because DX10 wasn't mature when today's architecture was under development. I am very sure both nVidia and ATI are dying to get DX10 cards out as soon as Vista is out, since selling the first fully Vista compatible cards is a huge thing. You can't expect today's tech to support something that isn't even released yet. That doesn't make sense.

    Even then it makes me wonder what the point is. When games like WoW get all the headlines using technology that barely require DX8. Maybe if you are into FPS games this will matter but for everyone else the featureset you are calling dated far outpaced the software that runs on it years ago.

    Excuse me, but are you even aware of how many of today's games rely heavily on DX9 technology? You are also saying that games like World of WarCraft barely use any DX9 tech. Do you have any documentation on that? Also, what is "games like WoW"? In fact, many "games like WoW" today use pixel shaders and therefore require DX9. Yes, FPS games are clearly taking advantage of the latest technology, but the simple reason is that realism is far more important in such games than, say, strategy games. But on the other hand, there are so many types of FPS titles. We have racing games, action games, MMORPG and even adventure games. World of WarCraft may not be the most graphically advanced game, but this is for three main reasons: it's huge and would simply require too many gigs of space if it was more complex than it already is. Blizzard is also targeting a larger mass who isn't constantly upgrading its hardware as much as some other groups do. Last but not least, have you ever thought of how much more time and money Blizzard would have to invest to include the latest technology with the highest level of detail?

    I'm pretty skeptical of how OpenGL will survive in games now that Carmack has sold out. It's a bleak future for those of us gamers who want to someday drop Windows and use a real OS.

    You know, Carmack has all the money in the world already. I doubt he would kiss Microsoft's ass if OpenGL was more promising than DirectX. After all, as a DirectX developer, you also get to release your games for the Xbox without too much hazzle, which is only one of many reasons why DirectX is more successful. OpenGL is in no way a poor API, but most developers currently support DirectX because it looks more promising than OpenGL. Also, Carmack was one of the main donators to the OpenGL foundation. Why would he fund a project like this and then kill it? I'm sure it was painful but as Carmack is always set on developing the latest in technology, he is also looking at the two API:s individually before deciding what to go for.
  • by Andrew Kismet ( 955764 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @01:36AM (#15900933)
    Not all PC Gamers (like myself) have ultra-cutting-edge systems. Some of us know how quickly technology progresses, and know that a $3000 rig will be worth $300 in two years. I'm currently typing this on my "gaming laptop", and while I don't play the real CPU/GPU eating monsters like Civilisation 4, this thing handles Half-Life 2 and it's expansions like a charm. As you've noticed, I use said machine to go online. I also use it for work - Maxis, Microsoft Office, and Mozilla Firefox sitting side by side.

    Also, since when is the entirety of Linux considered stable? Half the time the drivers are up in the air, and there's enough competition and conflict between various builds and organisations as to achieve bugger all on a standards level. If game companies started porting to a stable Linux core, they'd be porting to Wii - THAT has a Linux OS with Opera installed.
  • by atomicstrawberry ( 955148 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:01AM (#15900969)
    I'm seeing a lot of comments here lamenting the fact that the majority of PC games are developed using DirectX instead of OpenGL. You have to remember that DirectX Graphics (formerly Direct3D) is just one part of the overall package. DirectX also provides simple, useful interfaces for sound, input and networking. While I'm reasonably sure that the networking support doesn't get a lot of use, the sound and input APIs do. Heck, even the much-touted OpenGL example World of Warcraft actually makes heavy use of DirectX under Windows. Just not for graphics.

    If there was a good overall package that leveraged OpenGL for graphics, then you'd see OpenGL being used more often. At the moment there's really only SDL, and to be frank, while SDL is great for some things, it's just not on the same footing as DirectX having come late to the party and not had the level of funding and development.
  • by Z34107 ( 925136 ) on Monday August 14, 2006 @02:36AM (#15901024)

    Why would any company want to lose out on the win98,2000,XP crowd when they market their game? Only Microsoft has any interest in selling stuff that uses DX10+. To me DX10+ is dumb, stupid, and inane.

    People said the same stuff about DirectX 9, DirectX 8, DirectX 7.... you get the idea.

    Corporations realize $$$ when they can market the newest, fastest, shiniest whatever. For PC games, this is especially true - how realistic a games graphics are drive sales, and often make a game more fun.

    More importantly, programmers will want to use DirectX 10. IMHO, the biggest improvement so far seems to be the elimination of "capability bits" - flags a programmer can query to see what features a GPU supports. The implications of "optional" features that video cards may or may not support means two "DirectX 9" cards can render things very, very differently and make life difficult for the programmer. Features not supported by the video hardware are automatically emulated in software by DirectX, but that is much slower and bugs the crap out of people who dropped $500 for speed. The elimination of capability bits in favor of "dot standards" lets developers code for a specific flavor of DirectX, knowing all cards made for that flavor will behave the same, resulting in better code.

    Virtualization of the GPU is also interesting. It applies the same time-slicing multitasking operating systems use to run multiple programs (semi)simultaneously to the graphics hardware. This means that if the GPU chokes on an instruction for whatever reason (i.e., a page fault, the needed texture is compressed, etc.) other threads and processes can continue drawing. Currently, in multitask-less DX9, a page fault chokes the CPU until the needed page can be loaded, whereas DX10 would allow other taskts the GPU was working on to continue.

    Better yet is "predicated rendering", which is French for "putting an 'if' in front of a drawing command." Predicated rendering allows the hardware to ignore a command to draw an object if it's not visible - i.e., a very sophisticated hardware clipping.

    DirectX 10 has amazing new features and performance enhancements, and (so far) looks like programming with the new API will be much easier and faster. That means cheaper development and happier coders. Doesn't sound so inane to me.

Don't tell me how hard you work. Tell me how much you get done. -- James J. Ling