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DX11 A few questions about DX10 and other items

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Well today GL died and DX won the battle most are saying now. So, I am now looking at maybe moving to DX10 or DX11, and I have heard that DX11 SDK will be out in Nov? Will the SDK run on DX10/10.1 hardware accelerated or in software mode? If I move to DX should I wait till DX11 comes out? Is DX10 coding going to carry over into DX11, or will DX11 be a complete overhaul like 9 to 10 was? What about a GUI library for DX10? What about Physx libs? I want something that is native to DX10, basically drop in and play? What about model loading or rendering? Does DX10 have a decent model loader like .x files under DX10? Is the DXUT or math libs still in DX10? I need some of these questions answered so I can make my decision soon, and what about ATI/Nvidia drivers for DX10 are all the features included as of now on both? Meaning if I code DX10 will it run on both without a headache? Thanks

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Original post by MARS_999So, I am now looking at maybe moving to DX10 or DX11, and I have heard that DX11 SDK will be out in Nov? Will the SDK run on DX10/10.1 hardware accelerated or in software mode?


A techpreview will be out in November. Since D3D10 it has become a tradition to show the developers a techpreview first. While it will be mostly complete some minor changes can still happen. Direct3D 11 will run with Direct3D 10/10.1 in hardware mode you just can't use the new D3D11 features like the compute shaders.

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Original post by MARS_999If I move to DX should I wait till DX11 comes out? Is DX10 coding going to carry over into DX11, or will DX11 be a complete overhaul like 9 to 10 was?


It will be mostly the same. Porting from 10 to 11 should be just a matter of some hours. Most of this could be done with a simple find/replace.

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Original post by MARS_999What about a GUI library for DX10? What about Physx libs? I want something that is native to DX10, basically drop in and play?


I am not aware of a GUI lib but I am never actively searched for any as we use our own. I am not sure where you see problem with PhysX. The PhysX SDK may not contain a sample for Direct3D 10 but it is mostly the same workflow as with Direct3D 9

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Original post by MARS_999What about model loading or rendering? Does DX10 have a decent model loader like .x files under DX10?


X Files are considered as dead. They have some loader code for their new SDK asset format. But in general writing an asset loader is very straight forward.

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Original post by MARS_999Is the DXUT or math libs still in DX10?


Yes the DXUT is still part of the SDK and D3DX contains still the math libraries.

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Original post by MARS_999I need some of these questions answered so I can make my decision soon, and what about ATI/Nvidia drivers for DX10 are all the features included as of now on both? Meaning if I code DX10 will it run on both without a headache?


Direct3D 10 requires that the hardware and the driver support the full techlevel. There are only some optional features left. In our case we run the exact same code on every Direct3D 10 hardware.

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Im still using DX9 and I think ill continue to use it until XP totally dies out then I'll move to the most widespread supported api.
Currently DX9 is more than enough for what I'm doing.

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Well today GL died
I briefly discussed OpenGL with Rob at GameFest last week and he mentioned there was an announcement due that week. I'm a bit out of the loop - what came up and why do you declare GL dead?

Ralf's covered your questions, but just to throw my 2-pence in... Go with D3D 10.0 and be happy, it can be stated that simply.

The only case I'd suggest you hold off for D3D11 is if you want to go for a massively parallel architecture or want to port some old X360 native code over. The architectural changes with 11 allow for a very different design that can be quite tricky to implement on 10.x and older API's. The stuff for free-threaded resource creation and immediate/deferred display lists is powerful.

As an aside, I was also discussing with Rob and Richard last week about my thoughts that traditional frame-based designs will be rapidly going the way of the dodo in this multi-threaded world. But thats a whole other discussion [grin]

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Does DX10 have a decent model loader like .x files under DX10?
There are ID3DX10Mesh objects that map reasonably well to legacy formats but there is no .X support nor any mesh manipulation functions. However you can still do all your mesh work with D3DX9 and a NULLREF device then just copy the ID3DXMesh to a ID3DX10Mesh for rendering. I've posted the code for this a few times but its not too hard to figure out for yourself [wink]

hth
Jack

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Original post by jollyjeffers
Quote:
Well today GL died
I briefly discussed OpenGL with Rob at GameFest last week and he mentioned there was an announcement due that week. I'm a bit out of the loop - what came up and why do you declare GL dead?
Ok, I shouldn't be so lazy!

Interesting thread to read and Oluseyi's comments about GL having other huge markets to cater for is a good one. Leading the GL community on was bad form, but maybe games just aren't that important to them when compared with multi-billion dollar CAD industries...?

Jack

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Original post by jollyjeffers
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Original post by jollyjeffers
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Well today GL died
I briefly discussed OpenGL with Rob at GameFest last week and he mentioned there was an announcement due that week. I'm a bit out of the loop - what came up and why do you declare GL dead?
Ok, I shouldn't be so lazy!

Interesting thread to read and Oluseyi's comments about GL having other huge markets to cater for is a good one. Leading the GL community on was bad form, but maybe games just aren't that important to them when compared with multi-billion dollar CAD industries...?

Jack


Hi Jack, the multi-billion dollar industry is fine, but games as a whole is many many times larger than they are, if everyone used GL vs. DX for games CAD would be a very small part as a whole. GL probably isn't dead, but sure feels like it when most people are talking about leaving it...

What are you saying about DX11? Will DX11 be different to code for than Dx10?

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Original post by MARS_999
Hi Jack, the multi-billion dollar industry is fine, but games as a whole is many many times larger than they are, if everyone used GL vs. DX for games CAD would be a very small part as a whole. GL probably isn't dead, but sure feels like it when most people are talking about leaving it...
I'm not well versed on the size (customers/companies/revenue) of the CAD and dependent industries so I don't know how it compares. I was just commenting that Oluseyi seemed to have raised a good point that one distinct interpretation of this is that the ARB/Khronos group bent to keep certain camp(s) happy and that gaming may well not have been their interest.

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Original post by MARS_999
What are you saying about DX11? Will DX11 be different to code for than Dx10?
As Ralf commented the actual code changes for D3D11 are pretty reasonable from a 10.0/10.1 perspective and if you're familiar with 10 you'll be fine with 11.

What I was getting at is the architectural possibilities. A big part of the D3D11 design is to better support multi-threading, something that isn't such a great story under D3D10 or D3D9.

Designing a "traditonal" D3D9/D3D10 renderer and then porting it up to D3D11 is perfectly fine. But if you were to go straight for D3D11 (which can support down-level hardware) then you have more options w.r.t. the design and architecture of your code - you can do more interesting and more powerful things with multi-threading.

If you want to get rolling straight away then stick with the traditional approach and go for D3D10. I would imagine you need to be at the bleeding edge with a pretty large and complex engine (inc. non graphics parts) to really see any ROI on a massively multi-threaded next-gen engine right now [smile]

hth
Jack

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One last question, maybe Jack can answer it, with DX11 they are talking about Multi-core CPUs being utilized better, so what do they mean by this? Would I be better off with a quad core vs. a dual core for DX11? Thanks

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This depends on your software. The multi core support for Direct3D 11 is not a feature that works automatic without special code. Direct3D 11 allows you to fill multiple “display list” at the same time on different threads. Finely you can send all this lists in the right order to the GPU for rendering. The advantage by doing this is that most CPU work will be already done by the threads that fill the display list.

If your software can fill four list parallel you can be faster with a quad core. But you need to be CPU limited and not GPU limited.

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Right now, with D3D9 and 10, there is very limited support for mutlithreading and doing things like resource creation or issuing drawing commands.

You pretty much have two choices;
1) don't do it. All drawing and resource creation/uploads take place in the main rendering thread the device was created in (like how a GL context is dealt with), just using other threads to decompress the data.

2) create a multi-threaded device which lets you do things from multiple threads at once but involves all manner of criticalsection locks which hurt performance.

With DX11 the landscape changes in that you'll be able to create resources from any thread and there are 'deferred' contexts which are used for constructing display lists which can then be executed from the main context.

Jack, Superpig and myself go into various levels of detail about this in our XNA Gamefest write ups in the journal section.

As for performance, it's less about DX11 and your cores and more about how the games as a whole are designed, DX11 just removes the cluggyness from dealing with multithreading.

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So it is possible that if the games are designed correctly that with a quad core you could get some decent speed increases over a dual core, if I am understanding you correctly. But on the same token, the current crop of games aren't designed to well to work with quad cores, and maybe the next round of games or when the next console generation comes out, we will have better designed engines, that could in theory take and use a quad core system to it fullest potential... So for now I would be better off with a faster dual core rig, 3.33Ghz dual vs. a 2.83Ghz quad core? Reason I am asking is I am building a new rig soon, and can't decide between dual or quad and my problem is I upgrade every 12-18 months, and I am trying to get away from that and keep a rig for 2-3 years for once! ;)

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Even now a game could see significant gains over dual core if designed in such a way as to take advantage of the extra cores.

DX11 just makes submitting data and streaming resources that much easier than before; granted, if you have secondary threads setting up display lists it could very well give you a boost but at the end of the day it all comes down to bottlenecks; if pixel rate is a bottle neck then throwing all the CPU resources in teh world at the problem won't increase the speed.

I've had my X2 2.2Ghz for the last 3years now, about the only thing i've upgraded has been the GPU because games outpace the GPU more than the CPU. However, if you are wanting to build a new rig I'd suggest holding off for a few months for Core i7's release as even if you don't get one it might well drop the price of the current Duo and Quad processors a little.
(my plans are to build a new machine around March next year, DoW2 has the power to adjust that build time however, closer or further away)

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So, whats going to be the standard in regards to models? What's the best format to be used in DX10+? I've used X files for some time, does DX10+ have a newer loader for any model types? 3ds? etc?

Thanks for any answers.

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Original post by QuinnJohns
So, whats going to be the standard in regards to models? What's the best format to be used in DX10+? I've used X files for some time, does DX10+ have a newer loader for any model types? 3ds? etc?

Thanks for any answers.


No. If you're not going to use X files, you're pretty much on your own. If you have a well-designed engine, writing model loaders is not hard really.

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Thanks, Phantom for the tip, so it looks like you are leaning towards a Quad core yourself, next build?

I thought about the i7, but problem is drivers, bugs, BIOS updates are going to be abundant at first and BSOD aren't in my best interest right now while working on my game. I want stable. Plus 32nm is coming in 2010, and I think I would rather have that version of i7, than the first rev, due to any bugs and possible more SSE extensions will be added by then... Not to mention the cost of i7 with DDR3 RAM and a X58 MB we are talking 400-500 above the cost of a 45nm Quad now with a P45 chipset. I pretty much have decided it will be a quad core probably 2.83ghz, next issue is GPU, I am not excited with the current latest generation GPUS, both run HOT, I would rather get a GF8800 GTS and wait till DX11 cards are out, and or Larrabee to see whats what, no sense in throwing away a few extra hundred dollars for nothing.

;)

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The 32nm will be a pin-compatible die strink so even if you did get a 45nm now the 32nm will work with the same equipment; I also don't see the 32nm going for faster than DDR3 ram either as that would require the memory controller to be updated, so that's a safe investment. SSE extensions are all well and good but unless you are planning to make a game only for that hardware you have to take into account everything else as well anyway; based on what I've read only some encryption functions are likely to be added.

Or to put all this another way; right now you are considering dropping a few 100 USD on a system you plan to upgrade in just over a year which was precisisely the situation you were trying to get out of as I recall [smile]

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Last system I had for 18 months, was a CD2 2.4Ghz, 6GB, 975X MB, 8800GTS 640MB, I sold that, and decided that I wanted to upgrade to quad, but you make a decent point, with the pin compatible 32nm from the 45nm Core i7. If you are sure of this? Plus DDR3 1333mhz will be the choice from what I hear, and if you can keep that with the X58MB I guess it would be just a CPU upgrade in 18-24 months to give it another speed boost. I think I will do that, and just maybe Nvidia will have their 55nm G200 series cards out by Oct also, and if not maybe ATI will have GL3 drivers and I can get an ATI card...

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I'm in the process of building a Q6600 Quad-Core Core2 box. I looked at the cutting edge stuff and that on the horizon but the Q6600 seems to have been well and truly tested by the enthusiast community and seems incredibly popular - figured that was a good trade off between fast (but not necessarily super fast) and stable [grin]


Anyway, on topic with D3D10/11... I've postulated that the "frame by frame" architecture of current games is probably going the way of the dodo. With a task-based multi-threaded architecture it's likely that all the overlapping and concurrent model updates are going to completely blur the line of what is/isn't in a given frame.

But the key thing there, and has also been commented in this thread is that it isn't a free lunch and doesn't just automagically happen. Developers have to start designing and writing their code for it.


cheers,
Jack

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Original post by jollyjeffers
I'm in the process of building a Q6600 Quad-Core Core2 box. I looked at the cutting edge stuff and that on the horizon but the Q6600 seems to have been well and truly tested by the enthusiast community and seems incredibly popular - figured that was a good trade off between fast (but not necessarily super fast) and stable [grin]


Anyway, on topic with D3D10/11... I've postulated that the "frame by frame" architecture of current games is probably going the way of the dodo. With a task-based multi-threaded architecture it's likely that all the overlapping and concurrent model updates are going to completely blur the line of what is/isn't in a given frame.

But the key thing there, and has also been commented in this thread is that it isn't a free lunch and doesn't just automagically happen. Developers have to start designing and writing their code for it.


cheers,
Jack


Yes, I have heard the Q6600 is a nice CPU. I doubt you are going to overclock it, but if you did you can hit 3+Ghz easily I hear. I don't overclock. Anyway about the frame by frame idea, how is that going to work for stuff like physics, or shadowmapping passes, and other methods I haven't even thought of yet. Is the new model going to be based off time slices? Meaning you have so much time to do what you need to do and then you updated the buffer? This is all new to me. But then again, for the distance future frame by frame is going to be ok for small indie guys right?

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