Unity Engine Supports DirectX 12 and Windows 10 First

25 Jan 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

DirectX 12 can be found on Windows, but it’s not yet operational.

Poking around the fresh Windows 10 build last night, I found an interesting new feature that Joe Belfiore didn’t mentioned in his announcement post: DirectX 12 is already baked into the operating system. If you’ve followed this column or any other site focused on PC gaming, you’ve no doubt read about Futuremark’s 3DMark, a benchmarking application that tests the gaming performance of your system by putting your CPU and GPU through some rigorous graphical and computing calisthenics.DirectX 12, a powerful feature that Microsoft wants to use to attract PC gamers, will have a much better threading model than DirectX 11, which is now five years old.Microsoft executive Phil Spencer said at the company’s Windows 10 unveil this week that its new DirectX 12 graphics API will bring gaming and graphics fidelity to the next level.

DirectX 12 has become one of the hottest topic of discussion ever since Microsoft shared some more updates/details at recently concluded Windows 10 event. And you’ve probably heard Microsoft’s repeated claims about the forthcoming DirectX 12 built into Windows 10 — the API that powers the majority of PC games (there’s also AMD’s Mantle) — and how it will supercharge PC gaming by letting developers wring more power from those components. This newer model will allows developers to provide graphics processors on computer systems that closely resemble those of console, and yet with a power savings of 50 percent under certain conditions, Microsoft claims. At the event, Phil Spencer Xbox Division Boss stated that DirectX 12 will improve graphics performance by 50% as compared to its predecessor DirectX 11.

However, it doesn’t mean everything will dramatically improve graphically on the console. “On the DX12 question, I was asked early on by people if DX12 is gonna dramatically change the graphics capabilities of Xbox One and I said it wouldn’t,” said Spencer back in November. “I’m not trying to rain on anybody’s parade, but the CPU, GPU and memory that are on Xbox One don’t change when you go to DX12. The PC gaming site Rock Paper Shotgun threw people into panic mode when it reported that current GPUs—including cards purchased within the past few months—would not work with DX12. “Microsoft’s recent demonstration of a few new Windows 10 game experiences powered by DirectX12 has led some people to ask what specific hardware will be supported by the DirectX12 API,” Kam VedBrat, Microsoft’s Group Manager for DirectX, told me via email. “While we are not yet ready to detail everything related to DirectX12, we can share that we are working closely with all of our hardware partners to help ensure that most modern PC gaming hardware will work well with DirectX12, including; nVidia’s Maxwell, Kepler and Fermi-based GPUs, Intel’s 4th generation (and newer) Core processors and AMD’s Graphics Core Next (GCN) based GPUs. DirectX, which is owned by Microsoft, is a collection of application programming interfaces (APIs) that handle tasks related to multimedia, especially gaming and video. The new API, according to the executive, will provide higher levels of optimization for developers by providing finer levels of control for CPUs and graphics processing units as well, highlighting the importance that Microsoft holds when it comes to Windows 10 powered devices. DX12 makes it easier to do some of the things that Xbox One’s good at, which will be nice and you’ll see improvement in games that use DX12, but people ask me if it’s gonna be dramatic and I think I answered no at the time and I’ll say the same thing.”

DX12 will allegedly also use half the power consumption of DX11, which could mean more devices we view as traditionally “mobile” would be able to run high-end games with lower-end hardware. During a demonstration involving two identical platforms, one running on DX 12 and the older iteration of the API DX 11, it was obvious that the newer iteration of the software was much more adept at graphics production. In the very near future we’ll get to start testing those claims for ourselves with an updated version of 3DMark which introduces an “API Overhead Feature Test.” Every game makes thousands of “draw calls” per frame of animation.

But before you get too excited, remember that the mere presence of DX12 in Windows 10 is essentially useless until graphics drivers and other software are released to take advantage of Microsoft’s new gaming API. So just like every other time, earlier he answered a number of questions regarding the future of Microsoft and leaving us more interested as he finished. Spencer stated that he still stands by his statement made in June 2014, benefits of DX12 will depend on game by game basis, and it is difficult to make one statement about impact of DX12. Although, the company is not ready to share all information about DirectX 12, but they have promised to help out the manufacturers like NVIDIA, Intel, AMD, etc. to help out in designing of the next generation GPUs. This includes the mobile sector, a crucial market for the Redmond, Washington based company, claiming that the all-important issue of power consumption during game play can be cut by as much as half on mobile devices.

But there was one tweet that won the contest and in it the Microsoft boss claimed that they knew where DirectX 12 was heading when they built the Xbox One. What the API Overhead test will do is compare the performance of DirectX 12, DirectX 11, and even AMD’s Mantle, presumable by pushing an increasingly large amount of draw calls to your CPU. DirectX was a shorthand term that stood for all the collections of Direct APIs, such as Direct3D, DirectMusic, DirectSound, and others, with the X standing for the collection of APIs.

When asked: “Ppl are interpreting this as “XB1 just supports DX12″, but will it support every single feature of DX12?” Lastly, Spencer made a statement which will definitely excite Xbox Community. In 2012, in fact, AMD took a swipe at Nvidia in a blog post titled, ”Yes, AMD has FULL DirectX11 11.1 support.” AMD got into the nuances of the various levels of feature support in the API, and claimed nVidia didn’t support all the features it was supporting. When Microsoft developed a gaming console, the X was used as the basis for the name, which we know today as Xbox, which is based on DirectX technology. This was intimated in an interview nVidia’s Tony Tamasi had with the TechReport.com last March: ”DirectX 12 will indeed make lower-level abstraction available (but not mandatory—there will be backward-compatibility with DX11) on existing hardware. That means assuming you own 3DMark and have access to ongoing Windows 10 Technical Preview builds, you’ll get to see DX11 versus DX12 in action for yourself.

In his words, Microsoft “only teased” at some of those additions this week, and a “whole bunch more” are coming.” That same report, however, came to the same conclusion that’s being echoed by the two major graphics vendors: that today’s hardware will give gamers the parts that really matter in terms of performance and multi-thread support.

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