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lonewolff

DirectX 11 or DirectX 9

10 posts in this topic

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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I choose DX11 over DX9.

Reasons for that:
-Operating system trends [url="http://marketshare.hitslink.com/os-market-share.aspx?spider=1&qprid=11"]here[/url], [url="http://store.steampowered.com/hwsurvey"]here[/url] and [url="http://www.w3schools.com/browsers/browsers_os.asp"]here[/url].
-Your game will probably take a while to make yeah? So when it's done XP will have an even smaller market share.
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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 - [i]shudder[/i]).

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.
[url="http://unity3d.com/webplayer/hwstats/pages/web-2011Q3.html"]Unity web player[/url] 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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[quote name='Krohm' timestamp='1324454991' post='4896081']
[url="http://unity3d.com/webplayer/hwstats/pages/web-2011Q3.html"]Unity web player[/url] tells a different story. Only 35% of the systems are D3D10-enabled (it seems they require D3D10 feature levels however).
[/quote]

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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Those unity stats are interesting. They do represent more of a 'casual' market than a 'hardcore' market, but 20% of their users maxing out at SM2.0 still surprised me.

I guess a full [i]inclusive[/i] summary of those stats is, if targeting unity's customer base, the feature-level/shader-model you target will let you reach these percentages:
SM5.0 -- 5% -- DX11 feature level 11
SM4.1 -- 20.8% -- DX11 feature level 10.1
SM4.0 -- 51.2% -- DX11 feature level 10.0
SM3.0 -- 66.1% -- DX9 w/ SM3 caps ([i]for some strange reason, there is no DX11 feature level for SM3!! WTF?[/i])
SM2.0 -- 89.3% -- DX9 or DX11 feature level 9.x ([i]N.B. actually 53.2% if using DX11 here, due to the OS restriction[/i])

N.B. Every ("A grade") PC game that I've bought for the past 5-ish years has required SM3 ([i]this is because the 360/PS3 are basically SM3[/i]), and newer PC games are starting to require SM4.
It seems for casual games with low hardware requirements though, supporting DX9+SM2 might still be a good idea if you want [i]anyone[/i] to be able to play it.

Personally, I'm still supporting DX9+SM3 as my minimum, because I want wide OS/hardware support, but I find SM2 is such a pain to program good shaders on.
I'll add a GL2+SM3 path when porting to Mac/linux, add DX11-feature-level-10 code-path when I get time, and eventually add a full dx11/GL4 path one day...

In my eyes, DX11-feature-level-9 is completely useless -- It lets you access the SM2 hardware of 89% of the customer base, but restricts you to the OS that's only installed on 53.2% of the customer base... IMO if you want to support that old hardware, you should just use DX9.
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