back to article Microsoft DirectX 12 pushes gaming code closer to GPU bare metal

Microsoft has unveiled DirectX 12, at the heart of which is the Direct3D API, which Redmond promises will enable "richer scenes, more objects, and full utilization of modern GPU hardware" – and which will run on "many" cards that gamers already own. "What makes Direct3D 12 better?" Microsoft's Matt Sandy asked in a blog post. …


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  1. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Windows 7 or it will not be used

    With the tiny takeup of Windows 8 to date - if M$ only release it on 8 (and 8.1) there will be very little interest from game developers as the target audience would be too small to justify the effort.

    1. Len Goddard

      Re: Windows 7 or it will not be used

      I agree. Several things came out as Vista only ... and were then backported to Win XP simply because the Vista customer base constrained the audience so severely. Win 8/Win 7 is much the same case.

    2. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Windows 7 or it will not be used

      Since it supports XBox too, they will.

      Also, game-tech has historically pushed the industry. And it will take time to be adopted widely so it may well be W9 before a big shift is seen - loads of people still work with DX9.

  2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    So, by the time DX14 or DX15 comes along...

    ...will be back to the days of DOS when the game devs banged the hardware directly for maximum peformance?

    1. Killraven

      Re: So, by the time DX14 or DX15 comes along...

      Re: days of DOS

      I can't remember what the software was called, but back in the mid '90s a lot of games were based on software that basically booted it's own OS, so that it didn't matter what your particular OS was. I think DirectX was originally developed to combat this sort of thing and strengthen installed Windows base. I've often thought that if anybody (Apple, various Linux companies) wanted to weaken the Windows base, the best thing they could do was to develop a foundation like a DirectX operating system, that could allow a game produced from a single compile to run on different OSes. Because honestly, how many PC gamers would be quite happy to run Linux instead as long as their games worked? Money spent on an OS can go into extra hardware instead.

      1. steve 124

        Re: So, by the time DX14 or DX15 comes along...

        You must be thinking of open GL because I owned a Verite 1000 (one of the very first graphics accelerators) and it was open GL (and directx1 via a GLwrapper). Prior to this (in 97) there weren't true accelerator cards, just VESA output cards.

        DX did indeed come out to solidify Windows as a gaming platform but GL could have easily supported the whole thing if the industry had decided to go that direction (as it is, that platform pretty much specialized for 3d design and graphics workstations).

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "New API will give game developers more control over the eye-candy they present to gamers"

    This is indeed good news. But we still have a ways to go in picking up the slack left from lacklustre titles and even cinema, to make games that are as bold and eye opening as we have seen in the past...

    So its not just a question of pipelines. Its a question of compelling stories, addictive action, groundbreaking drama and emotional involvement. I'd like to make a case that the reboots and sequels phase i.e. GTA, COD, Hitman, Far Cry etc mean we're not quite there yet...

    1. Levente Szileszky

      Re: "New API will give game developers more control over the eye-candy they present to gamers"

      Deus Ex: Human Revolution was an excellent reboot, even if graphically was far from high-end thanks to its code-sharing with its console versions, optimized for junk hardware (360, PS3.)

      That being said I agree, originality is what matters - my all-time fav is still the STALKER-series...

  4. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge


    its windows 8 only.... which would smell of m$ floundering away to try and get their OS shifted.

    But what happens if SteamOs is anywhere near good, and shifts a lot of units?

    All of a sudden the consumer finds his PC 100 quid cheaper......

    1. david 12 Silver badge

      Re: Bet

      If I remember correctly, DirectX was already close to the bare metal on XP. That's why it was called 'direct'. This would be the Win8 hack to make the API competitive on Win8, where DirectX would otherwise be an extra layer on top of MF.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Bet

        If I remember correctly, DirectX was already close to the bare metal on XP.

        But this time, they really mean it. They can't improve further than this!

    2. dogged

      Re: Bet

      > [Bet] its windows 8 only

      Bet you're wrong. Games supporting it to be released in Q4 2015?

      This baby is XBone/Windows9 only.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I've had great difficulty finding more than a handful of worthy dx11 games so this news is somewhat academic!

    1. Richard 81

      I think you'll find there are quite a few: Wiki

      1. Len Goddard

        But many, if not most, of those games also support DX10 so you don't need DX11 support.

      2. NoOnions
        Thumb Up


        Useful list, thanks.

  6. Stuart Elliott

    Windows 8 only?

    I think we'll be lucky if it's not Windows 9 exclusive for the first 12 months or so.

  7. Phil W

    Taking on the Mantle

    I suspect this has been strongly driven by Nvidia as a means to allow them to compete against AMD's Mantle system without developing their own.

    In reality it may negate Mantle altogether since AMD will be able to use this to, meaning developers wont have to code for seperate engines.

    1. Levente Szileszky

      Re: Taking on the Mantle

      Except Mantle is already here, working, even under Windows 7and games are already supporting it versus MSFT trying to talk up some BS they think will push W8 sales if they won't release it for W7 - classic old, stupid, incompetent, dumb yet arrogant Ballmerian MSFT, they will completely blow this one too if they exclude W7, for sure, while Mantle can advance ahead 2 more years without any competition.

      1. dan1980

        Re: Taking on the Mantle

        Actually, I think it's a good idea to only release it for Windows 8.

        Not for me - I won't have a bar of it but then I don't really care about getting the ultimate graphics performance out of games on a PC. Actually, I don't even play games on a PC.

        The thing people seem to be missing is that MS isn't going to sell DirectX to consumers so the whole "Win 7 or I won't use it" is irrelevant.

        I, personally, know people who upgraded from XP to 7 specifically to utilise DirectX 11 for video games.

        I expect that there will be very few important differences early on just as was the case with 9 vs 10 and 10 vs 11. But, as time goes on, the difference will be larger and there will be people who upgrade to Win8 for the purpose of utilising DX12.

        How exactly will releasing DX12 on Windows 7 help MS?

        1. Bronek Kozicki

          Re: Taking on the Mantle

          Releasing DX12 on Windows 7 would help to convince game developers that they should use it. But you have good point here that Microsoft will only be able to monetize DX12 if it was "unique selling point" of some newer Windows version (rather than 7).

          1. Levente Szileszky

            Re: Taking on the Mantle

            "Unique selling pount" - yes, this is exactly the kind of clueless Ballmerian paperware idiocy that NEVER WORKED so far. Just keep repeating, up until the point when even gaming won't save the Windows market for collapsing under the weight of the incompetence of the Ballmerian Chimera, running MSFT.

        2. JDX Gold badge

          Re: Taking on the Mantle

          Well argued. People on W7 aren't going to find [m]any games require DX12 for a long long time, unless MS sponsor a few showcase titles. W8-only features WILL drive some extra uptake of the OS and there's not really a great deal of point adding new stuff to an older OS. It sends mixed messages.

          As for Mantle - a vendor-specific technology is not a good plan. Even nVidia's PhysX has struggled,

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Taking on the Mantle

            Technically speaking DX is a vendor specific technology...

      2. Phil W

        Re: Taking on the Mantle

        "Except Mantle is already here, working"

        As long as you have an AMD card yes. Vendor specific systems* are not ideal and that's what will limit the uptake of Mantle.

        Game devs aren't going to want to market a game as requiring AMD graphics and not being compatible with Nvidia. They also don't want to have to code their game for both DirectX and Mantle.

        Some may add both as a gimick or due to vendor influence such as BF4's Mantle support, but making it a requirement limits sales and no-one wants that.

        If you doubt the above just look at PhysX.

        *Yes I realise that DirectX is Microsoft specific, but until OpenGL takes off again in a bigger way it's a two horse race.

  8. Fibbles

    Recently, at meeting of the D3D team:

    "Oh shit, everybody is starting to look seriously at OpenGL again! How will we push the latest version of our OS if the leading graphics API for games is no longer tied to it?"

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Recently, at meeting of the D3D team:

      Oh shit, everybody is starting to look seriously at OpenGL again

      All MS fanbois have the likes of OpenGL, Linux, FF/Chrome, (and anything else they hate) to thank.

      If it wasn't for competition, MS and the industry would stagnate like it did in the late 90s and early 2000's.

  9. Howverydare

    What odds is it if it's 8 upwards only?

    The majority of gamers (note, not knobs who play a game once a quarter and proclaim that they're a gamer who doesn't use Windows 8) use Windows 8 because the DX11.x support in Windows 7 is only partial, which when coupled with the performance improvements pretty much across the board on Windows 8 make it ideal.

    There's a lot of reason to find 8.x frustrating, but there's a lot of misinformed, opinionated shite spouted on here about it too. What ever happened to Eadon?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What odds is it if it's 8 upwards only?

      The majority of gamers use Windows 8

      Do they really? I'm sure you're about to whip out a link to some verifiable stats to back your claim up.

      You're certainly not just saying that in a lame attempt to convince other gamers to move to Windows 8 in order to make it a viable platform for game devs to target, are you?

      but there's a lot of misinformed, opinionated shite spouted on here about it too


      1. Steven Raith

        Re: What odds is it if it's 8 upwards only?

        AC is correct - Steam Hardware Survey, about the best source for reliable gaming hardware stats, shows 60+% of users still on a Windows 7 variant, with only ~20% on a Windows 8 variant of any kind.

        6% still use XP, mind - throw in some crumbs for Vista and that's about 95% of the Steam userbase.

        The majority of gamers use Windows 7. Fact.

        Steven R

    2. NoOnions

      Re: What odds is it if it's 8 upwards only?

      "The majority of gamers use Windows 8..."

      Well, since I'm assuming 'the majority of gamers' also use Steam the current Steam stats suggest that Windows 7 rules the roost at the moment:

      Windows 7 (all versions) 62.70%

      Windows 8 (all versions) 22.14%

      I consider myself a 'hardcore' gamer and I have no interest to move over to Windows 8.1 (and yes, I have tried it).

      [Edit: Beaten by Steven!!]

      1. Boothy

        Re: What odds is it if it's 8 upwards only?

        Same here, regular gamer, home built PC, large Steam catalogue, plus lots of other games as well.

        And happy with Win 7 (with dual boot to XP for those really stubborn older titles).

        I see no reason to switch to Win 8.1 at this time. As far as I can see. it provides nothing new to what I already have. Big deal that it boots a little faster. My Win 7 box takes around 8 seconds to cold boot from hitting power, to being on the desktop, so even if Win 8.1 was twice as fast, I can afford to wait the extra 4 seconds!

        So at the moment, no plans at all to use Win 8.1 ever.

        Now Win 9, that might be a different story, but then historically, MS have tended to do the old hop between <good os>, <bad os>, <good os>, <bad os>. So if history repeats, Win 9 might actually be worth looking at, But time will tell.

        and PS: serious games don't care what the OS is, only the game matters!

      2. Steven Raith

        Re: What odds is it if it's 8 upwards only?

        I'll allow you to share credit, NoOnions, although I can't share upvotes :-(

        In fairness, I'm refusing to game now on anything other than desktop linux - the Source ports and Serious Sam 3 (I never really got on with Metro:LL or DOTA2) prove that it's not a major problem to throw huge polygon counts on Linux kernels, so if someone refuses to port their game, I refuse to play it, and contact them to let them know.

        So far, BF3, BF4 and COD - MW4 have had this message from me through thier respective contact pages. I'll drop Rockstar an email if GTA5 ever shows up on PC, but not Linux...

        It's the only way to protest, really. The recent revelation of native Linux support for CryEngine is very, very encouraging though - if they port the next Crysis game to Linux, they'll probably (unless it's reviewed as being a massive gimp of a game) have a purchase. I'm not installing £100+ of Windows just to play a game.

        My wallet is here guys, all it takes is a Linux/SteamOS port.

        Steven R

  10. jason 7

    Gamers on the whole will move anywhere and pay anything if...

    ...if it gives them an extra 10fps.

    That's the real enthusiasts and if you get them to move then so will a large portion of the gaming community.

    Remember these are the people that will spend a week tweaking their RAM settings to get their FPS from 134fps to 134.6fps. If they will pay £600 every 8 months for new graphics cards then £80 for a new copy of Windows every three years is no hardship.

    8/8.1 is still evolving and being tweaked for performance improvements. Windows 7 in comparison, while a fine OS is a dead stick. That's not getting gaming performance love any time soon.

    1. Len Goddard

      Re: Gamers on the whole will move anywhere and pay anything if...

      This is true of a small core of hardcore (mainly FPS) gamers who tend to make noise out of all proportion to their numbers. Devs like to get them on board for that reason but it is not where the bulk of the money comes from. You still need to cater to the majority who have neither the time nor the money nor the obsession to work this way. If DX12 does stay WIn 8 only then most games will offer DX11 (or even DX10) support until Win8.x numbers justify exclusive games. MS may not do much to tweak gaming performance but I notice I still get nVidia updates which boost various games on Win7.

      1. jason 7

        Re: Gamers on the whole will move anywhere and pay anything if...

        Unless you have a current gen Nvidia GPU, you'll probably find those driver boosts wont affect your card.

        The drivers may support 20 cards going back to say the 8800 series but those old cards are only tested to make sure the drivers still work.

        The latest Crysis optimisations are strictly for the new/current cards.

        1. Boothy

          Re: Gamers on the whole will move anywhere and pay anything if...

          The unified driver model that nVidia implemented years ago, typically means those tweaks they implement do affect all cards currently supported, at least the previous generation or two, and not just the latest generation. It's just that they get the most improvements out of the current cards (as they are not as mature yet, so haven't managed to get the best out of them yet), so those are the figures they crow about.

          I've got a previous get card, not a 7xx, and I regularly see improvements in current games after an update. (and I don;t just mean bug fixes for new launches).

          It's one of the reasons I've preferred nVidia over ATI for many years, their driver model (and reliability) was just so much better than ATI, with support for older cards, including tweaks and updates, and little things like not having to re-boot after a driver update etc.

          Note I can't comment on current AMD drivers, as I've not used ATI cards for many years, so things may have improved since then.

  11. Unicornpiss


    So what they're saying is that it will approach the efficiency and speed of gaming on Linux? And/or that they're willing to abandon Windows 7 users already, or just PC gamers in general?

  12. danielbUK

    Well theres plenty of time before its available for Microsoft to buckle and offer a version of windows for free. Heck even Steam OS might be a viable alternative or we might even have a decent streaming solution by then too.

  13. ADJB

    I think a point is being missed here.

    MS don't really care about gaming on the PC, witness the gradual closing of studios and abandonment of IP's, but they do care about Xbone gaming a little bit more. At this moment it is obvious from the games released that the PS4 is the better gaming (and selling) machine and even showcase exclusives like Titanfall can't manage full HD on the Xbone. By allowing developers closer to bare metal performance will help to close this gap and help to justify more general gamers (as opposed to fanboi must have that exclusive gamers) buying the Xbone. This of course then gives MS a much better chance of making it's "Xbone as an entertainment centre" vision happen with the associated money rolling in from third party media sales.

    Running games better on Windows, no matter which version, is just a bonus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Titanfall isn't exclusive. It's on PC and 360. Kind of needs to only be on one platform to be an exclusive.

      I can't see MS giving up on PC gaming anytime soon. The PC gaming market is now the largest it has ever been in history, and still growing. It's worth over £500 mill a year in the UK alone.

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