We're currently sitting in a Microsoft session on DirectX in Metro, where Microsoft is discussing the improvements they've made to DirectX for use with Metro. Every individual DirectX graphics API is getting some kind of improvement, but of course Direct3D is the most captivating.

Direct3D 11.1 will come with Windows 8 (no mention of it being backported to Vista/7, but I'd count on it). The focus on D3D 11.1 has been on performance and efficiency by adding new methods to more efficiently do some common tasks, but there are also a few new features to quickly mention.

  • Cap bits are back in a way after being removed in D3D 10; the primary purpose of these seems to be to allow Win8 to better handle supporting traditional Intel/NVIDIA/AMD GPUs, and more exotic SoC GPUs by allowing applications to see if the GPU is a tile based deferred renderer, among other things.
  • Direct3D has better access to Media Foundation (Windows' video playback/encode API). It's now possible to pipe MF output through pixel shaders before display.
  • WARP, the software rasterizer, has been given a performance boost
  • Shader tracing has been added for developers to trace shader performance (previously this would require GPU-specific tools)
  • Stereoscopic 3D support has been added to D3D. We don't have the details of the underpinnings here, but we expect that this will be the vendor-neutral S3D API users have bee clamoring for, without requiring devs to directly interact with quad buffers on a per-vendor basis


Further Reading: MSDN - Direct3D 11.1 Features

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  • nyran125 - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    im not happy with having a New Operating system just yet. I only just upgraded from Windows xp to Windows 7 and hav only just paid for DX11 hardware. If they bought out a Direct x 11.1 that would meen RAGE would be obsolete on DAY 1, what a waste of everyone's time. I hope Windows 8 flops. It better still support the older games to, Windows 7 had a bi tof trouble with older games but most were patched and ok.

    I dont want to upgrade system every year and have a new OS every 1 or 2 years either , no way.
  • LtGoonRush - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    A new OS every ~3 years is a proper release cadence, Windows 7 launched in late 2009 and Windows 8 will launch in late 2012. Of course Windows 8 will still support your hardware and existing games. And yes, Rage is obviously already obsolete, since Id software was purchased by Bethesda (Fallout, Oblivion). If you watch the HD gameplay trailers available on Youtube, the game looks like an uninspired ripoff of Borderlands minus the black borders. Id software has traditionally pushed the state-of-the-art through innovative new engines that it then licensed for use, but Bethesda decided to make Id Tech 5 internal only, meaning there's no incentive for anything new or groundbreaking. Sadly, now that Id software is owned by a big media company, there's no hope of them producing anything of value ever again.
  • customcarvin - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    Ummm, I thought Rage was Opengl based?
  • inighthawki - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    You are correct. In addition I dont particularly see how this makes RAGE "obsolete." If that's the word we're going to use, then it was obsolete years ago because it still doesn't support many of the features that are possible. It has no real-time global illumination, I highly doubt it makes use of hardware tessellation (I seem to recall Carmack quoting that he thinks it's overall a bad idea), etc etc.
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    We're talking end of 2012 for Win 8, maybe later, and it certainly won't make win 7 obsolete. I highly doubt Vista and Win 7 won't be able to run 11.1, since the kernel changes in Win 8 are supposed to be minor.

    DX11 hardware certainly won't be "old" any time soon, either. It's a good place to be at, I think, as far as hardware. I wouldn't sweat your purchase - I mean, when you buy computer electronics, you will always be out of date in a short while anyway, but that doesn't mean what you have isn't awesome.

  • Pantsu - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    No doubt consoles will still drag the development of graphics in games for years to come. Industry vets like Id and Epic are making engines that optimize the hell out of consoles, all the while leaving PC at the mercy of some two bit ports that look like crap and run like...well, crap.

    Hopefully D3D11.1 will bring some much needed optimizations to PC too. It's about time developers started putting a little more emphasis on creating the next gen engines that are not limited by antiquated console designs.
  • inighthawki - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    Last I checked Unreal 3 is still not only one of the most optimized PC engines, but supports a TON of features. When UT3 first came out, it was a little heavy on the CPU, but ultimately it looked WAY better than every game I had played up until that point but could be run on quite a bit of hardware on max settings. Unreal 3 also recently got a DX11 implementation with tons of brand new features (see the samaritan demo if you haven't)

    If Unreal 3 isn't running well on the PC it's almost certainly the fault of the developer who licensed it making changes to the code base but doing a poor job. I've seen it happen a lot.

    Not to mention, consoles need a lot of optimization to run because they cannot keep up with PCs. You think they are spending a lot of time, but the end result is ensuring a certain framerate at the cost of a lot of quality. Take, for example, Battlefield 3. The new frostbite 2 engine enables realtime global illumination on the PC, but consoles are stuck with pre-baked lighting, lower resolutions, and lower quality textures and models. It makes sense that if they want something on a console, it requires a lot of additional work.
  • Pantsu - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    UE3 is decent, though majority of UE3 games don't support AA due to the fact developers would have to spend resources implementing it on DX10/11, and they had just licensed a ready-made engine so they wouldn't have to. I've seen the Samaritan demo, and it does look like Epic is finally coming back to throw the PC crowd a shiny penny.

    I wasn't really referring to UE3 or ID Tech, but for the majority of other engines done by less reputable companies. Take for example DX:HR. It uses a really old Crystal Tools engine meant for Tomb Raider console games. How do you make a good PC port out of that? Nixxess did as good a job as they could, and AMD slapped some DX11 stuff on top, but it's still an ugly engine by modern standards.

    What I wish is that develepers would do is like with BF3, first make an engine that can fully utilize a PC, then fit it for consoles and their miniscule texture memory limitations.

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