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DividedByZero

DirectX 11 or DirectX 9

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Is it worth ditching DX9 over DX11 yet? Or is there still a massive consumer base on XP?

I am about to try an bring one of my game ideas to life. But I am torn between which way to go. I am pretty experienced with Ogre but would prefer to do this the hard-core DX way.

So, what do you think DX9 or 11? If I go DX11, I don't have the man power or time to do a fallback option for DX9.

So, do I ditch all those XP users out there? What are your thoughts?

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Depends on the target audience. More hardcore gamers (of the type you'll find in Steam survey results) will be more likely to be more up to date; if you're aiming at a casual gamer audience then the likelihood, I would imagine, drops off. Other, more closeted communities are quite a marginal audience but if they are your primary target then you may find people with 3D hardware that isn't even fully D3D9-compatible (I had a guy with a GeForce 4 MX last year - shudder).

If you pick D3D11 you're likely going to reach a wider range of people by selecting a reduced feature level too, so that's something else you'll need to consider.

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Trends show that a lot of people are using Vista/7 + DX11 compatible graphics cards now. I would assume that a lot of the people on XP or with non-DX11 cards probably have pretty meager system specs, and probably play older or more casual games. So if you are designing the next Crysis, I see no point in worrying about them, since they won't have the specs to handle it and probably wouldn't be interested anyway.

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Right -- but DX 11 can target DX10-level (and I think DX9-level?) hardware with the DX11 API. You don't get all the latest features of course, but the benefit is that you don't need to implement radically different rendering paths.

Its similar to how, in the DX9 days you would create a virtual renderer or use somesuch mechanism to support different classes of hardware, but with much of the heavier lifting done for you. Of course, if you want to support Windows XP systems, or OpenGL, you'll still have to pull out the old tricks.

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DX11 can target DX10 and DX9 with feature levels I think, but you still need Vista/7 to use any feature of DX11, which includes the DX11 feature levels.

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I'd go D3D11 any day of the week.
Unfortunately, steam survey does not quite tell yo the whole story. Being mostly core gamers tell you nothing.
Unity web player tells a different story. Only 35% of the systems are D3D10-enabled (it seems they require D3D10 feature levels however).
Non-IT-savy friends are possibly representative of true mainstream users. It is worth noticing that for mainstream users that means integrated intel graphics. WinXP still roars freely.

Some time ago, I suggested to drop WinXP support ASAP. In retrospec, this has been way too aggressive. Not running on XP is still unacceptable for non-AAA products. Edited by Krohm

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Unity web player tells a different story. Only 35% of the systems are D3D10-enabled (it seems they require D3D10 feature levels however).


That doesn't sound right to me. http://unity3d.com/webplayer/hwstats/pages/web-2011Q3-shader.html says:

30.3% DX10.0
15.3% DX10.1
5% DX11

That gives a total of 50.6% supporting DX10.0 or better.

However 10.6% of those Unity users have DX8 hardware or worse, which means about 55% of all users you could support with DX9 also have DX10.0 or better.

I'd also expect anything but a fairly simple game to want a higher shader model than 2.0, which cuts out another 21% that you might not want to support under DX9. If you decide to exclude those too you're up to about 73% of users with DX10.0 or better.

By the way, I suspect many, if not all, of those 2.0 cards are old Intel motherboard integrated cards, with no hardware vertex shaders (and slow pixel shaders). That's because to my knowledge ATI and Nvidia only released 2a and 2b cards.

Older PCs also tend to run into other performance issues which won't let them play many games well (slow CPU, lack of RAM, etc). For example 31.5% of unity users have 1GB or less.

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Stop worrying about the feature level/graphics card. The only limiting factor here is the operating system.
DX11 can target directx 9.1-11 enabled graphics cards.
So for unity users that makes it 53.2% (Win7/Vista) to 44.1% (XP)...

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