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Microsoft what are you doing?

Posted by , 02 December 2012 · 857 views

Interesting state of affairs I have come across today. So lets just get into it and try to be short and sweet.

Today I have been doing some research on graphics API's. For the longest time I have been wanting to move to the 3D end of computer graphics. As everyone knows there are 2 API's for this D3D and OpenGL. I don't really want to get into flame war's over the two API because it really does not matter they both do the same thing in different ways.

So ultimatly my choice that I made after my research was to use D3D. The reasoning behind this was the superior quality of Luna's books over the SuperBible of OpenGL. Luna really gets into interesting stuff like water rendering examples and terrain rendering examples where the SuperBible spends the entire book rendering tea pots. This is not really and issue but the state of the book is rather lacking due to the fact that so many pages are wasted using his pre canned fixed function api instead of just getting down to the nitty gritty. I am not a fan of the beat around the bush style and prefur the jump right in mentality. I am a competant programmer there is no need for the wrapper api it is just extra dead trees. So this is the main reasoning behind the D3D choice just shear quality of resources available.

Then I came across the current Microsoft debachal. Not sure what they are thinking. First off yes I am running Windows 8 and I really love it. Nice and easy to use once you get use to it and I like the clean style it presents. I think the new version of visual studio could use some UI work but who cares. The real issue comes into play with the Express 2012 Edition because I don't have $500 to drop on an IDE. Actually I prefur no IDE but again that is another gripe. When Microsoft moved the D3D SDK into the Windows 8 SDK the removed some API functionality (not a big deal) but they also removed PIX. They rolled PIX and the shader debugger into Visual Studio and made it only available in the Pro + versions. NOT COOL. NOT COOL AT ALL. Not only this but they on top of it removed the cmd line compilers.
So in order to get those you need to install visual studio first.

So basically they want me to use the IDE or at least install it and then remove the standalone debuggers meaning I can't properly debug shaders as I am learning unless I shell out $500. Not cool again not at all.

So right now I am leaning towards having to use OpenGL and avoiding potential Windows 8 store development just so that I can properly adapt my work flow to the standalone tools they provide.

Not sure what Microsoft is thinking here but it really feels like they are trying to alienate the Indy style of development for the sake of a few bucks. Really wish they still had the $100 standard edition sku I would buy it in a heartbeat if it got me the tools they took away.

Sorry for the little rant not usually like me at all.

If anyone knows about any potential work arounds (NOT PIRACY I HATE PIRACY) feel free to clue me in.

PIX isn't the only option for debugging and profiling shaders, if you have an AMD or Nvidia card you can use their tools.
For AMD you have GPU PerfStudio 2, and for Nvidia there is Nsight

I've used perfstudio quite a lot myself and it pretty much beats PIX feature-wise. I can't comment on Nsight though, having never used it.

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