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Jason Z

BUILD 2014 Sessions

17 posts in this topic

 


Direct3D 12 API Preview - This is probably the most anticipated talk for me, so hopefully we will find out more about the low level details on D3D12...

 

It's the talk I gave at GDC two weeks ago, just for the BUILD audience.  I didn't have a cold at GDC so I thought I did better the first time smile.png.

 

 

Didn't notice the cold; you did well.

 

I think we all are eagerly waiting to see the eventual answer to that backport to Windows 7 question ;)

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Do people still think they will target Windows 7? laugh.png


Not think; hope.

Win7 remains the largest market for AAA games on Steam, people are not jumping to Win8 and will probably continue to resist to even with the update, and while Win9 is around the same time period that might not see a huge jump either; thus DX12 support needs to go back downstream to Win7 from a AAA point of view - failure to do so will just result in a lot of people sighing loudly and continuing with DX11.

Now, this doesn't mean that WDDM2 needs to be back ported; I could see a situation where D3D12 sits on top of the WDDM version on Windows which means D3D12 is still limited to the exposed feature set of that OS; Win7 = D3D12_FEATURE_LEVEL_11 at most, Win8 = D3D12_FEATURE_LEVEL_11_1 and so on. I think most people would accept that as a pragmatic way forward (although I'd like to see things like multidrawindirect appear as that is useful to have in the pocket) even if the WDDM submission part takes a bit longer on the older OSes/versions.
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Not think; hope.


Win7 remains the largest market for AAA games on Steam, people are not jumping to Win8 and will probably continue to resist to even with the update, and while Win9 is around the same time period that might not see a huge jump either; thus DX12 support needs to go back downstream to Win7 from a AAA point of view - failure to do so will just result in a lot of people sighing loudly and continuing with DX11.

Now, this doesn't mean that WDDM2 needs to be back ported; I could see a situation where D3D12 sits on top of the WDDM version on Windows which means D3D12 is still limited to the exposed feature set of that OS; Win7 = D3D12_FEATURE_LEVEL_11 at most, Win8 = D3D12_FEATURE_LEVEL_11_1 and so on. I think most people would accept that as a pragmatic way forward (although I'd like to see things like multidrawindirect appear as that is useful to have in the pocket) even if the WDDM submission part takes a bit longer on the older OSes/versions.

 

Yes, this is the ideal and realistic best-case scenario.  I don't think anyone would really expect WDDM 2 to be backported.  What one would hope to expect is to be able to use the same API (i.e D3D12) for the bulk of one's program, excepting some D3D12-specific features (of which it seems there are relatively few), with only the DXGI layer being appreciatively different.

 

One would also expect that the performance improvements would come through even in cases where it's running on WDDM 1.x, otherwise it also seems pointless.  A D3D12 that runs at the same performance as 11 but with considerably more cost in code complexity on ~80% to ~90% of one's target audience isn't going to get much uptake.

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One would also expect that the performance improvements would come through even in cases where it's running on WDDM 1.x, otherwise it also seems pointless.  A D3D12 that runs at the same performance as 11 but with considerably more cost in code complexity on ~80% to ~90% of one's target audience isn't going to get much uptake.


You should still, in theory, get most of the performance improvement by virtue of the drivers being simpler, doing less work, going wide and all that so I don't see any issue there; sure on a trace the WDDM portion on Win7 might be (makes up number) 5% bigger than Win9/WDDM2.0 but that's not going to massively hurt you so you still get the wins smile.png
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One would also expect that the performance improvements would come through even in cases where it's running on WDDM 1.x, otherwise it also seems pointless.  A D3D12 that runs at the same performance as 11 but with considerably more cost in code complexity on ~80% to ~90% of one's target audience isn't going to get much uptake.


You should still, in theory, get most of the performance improvement by virtue of the drivers being simpler, doing less work, going wide and all that so I don't see any issue there; sure on a trace the WDDM portion on Win7 might be (makes up number) 5% bigger than Win9/WDDM2.0 but that's not going to massively hurt you so you still get the wins smile.png

 

 

I'd be happy with just being able to shove in a few tens-of-thousands (equivalent of) draw calls without needing to do any complex sorting or batching to be honest.  And on reflection, a D3D12 that let me do that at even 75% the perf of a complex sorted/batched D3D11 would even be acceptable.  Everything else would be gravy.

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There have been multiple people from Microsoft that publicly acknowledged the fact that Win7 is highly in demand for D3D12 - so I think the message is getting through.  Now we have to wait and see what happens...

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Well here's hoping.  Because on the surface this seems like one of those "you guys really have to do so little to make this happen" situations, and if as they say D3D12 is really just a superset of D3D11 functionality, it may even be so in reality too.  It will be a good barometer of how genuine their commitment to this is.

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Now, this doesn't mean that WDDM2 needs to be back ported; I could see a situation where D3D12 sits on top of the WDDM version on Windows which means D3D12 is still limited to the exposed feature set of that OS; Win7 = D3D12_FEATURE_LEVEL_11 at most, Win8 = D3D12_FEATURE_LEVEL_11_1 and so on. I think most people would accept that as a pragmatic way forward (although I'd like to see things like multidrawindirect appear as that is useful to have in the pocket) even if the WDDM submission part takes a bit longer on the older OSes/versions.

 

 

I very much doubt that they could bring D3D12 to Win7 without back-porting the new driver model. The new API has some pretty radical changes in terms of how programs and drivers handle memory allocation and command buffer generation, and as far as I know these things are closely tied to the Windows driver model. From the slides it also looks like the interactions between the D3D runtime and driver have also changed.

Edited by MJP
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I very much doubt that they could bring D3D12 to Win7 without back-porting the new driver model. The new API has some pretty radical changes in terms of how programs and drivers handle memory allocation and command buffer generation, and as far as I know these things are closely tied to the Windows driver model. From the slides it also looks like the interactions between the D3D runtime and driver have also changed.

That sounds right to me too - it will be all or nothing, otherwise the OEMs would need to maintain multiple versions of their drivers for Win7.  Still, I hope there is a way for them to get the driver model ported to Win7 - they did it with WDDM1.1, so it isn't outlandish to think it could be done again for whatever this new model is called.

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then again, if their target really is end of 2015, does win7 really still matter that much by then? win8 will even have a startmenu by then. or win9. or what ever it'll be called.

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then again, if their target really is end of 2015, does win7 really still matter that much by then? win8 will even have a startmenu by then. or win9. or what ever it'll be called.

 

Well that's the clincher, isn't it?

 

If Windows 8.2 or 9, or whichever version DX12 may be limited to, turns out to be good enough on it's own merits, then it becomes academic.  People will likely upgrade anyway, as happened with Windows 7.

 

If it turns out to be a pile of steaming poo and if it turns out that MS end up using DX12 to try to force upgrades, people won't be happy.

 

This isn't about a Start menu, by the way.  The Start menu can be nuked from orbit for all I care; so long as whatever replaces it does a good job is all that matters.  The Windows 8 Start screen doesn't do a good job.  This isn't "love me, love my Start menu", this is "the Start screen is a turd by any criteria".

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except it isn't.. it's great. i use it daily. and have to use win7 daily, too. productivity increased massively once the startscreen is embraced.

 

but the hate on it is huge, of course.

 

but it looks like they focus on pleasing all the haters now, instead of progressing. and thus, making win7 unimportant as, by then, everyone can just upgrade.

 

1.5 years from now, that's a long time.

 

 

/me expects this to escalate now into a 'i hate win8' thread instead of using logic and common sense.

 

so, just in case. your statement is wrong. by all my criteria, start screen is not a turd. invalidating your generic statement.

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then again, if their target really is end of 2015, does win7 really still matter that much by then?


Unless we see a mass migration towards Win8.x then yes, it will.

Even if Win9 is released and turns out to be The Best OS Ever there will still be a pick-up time from 'release' until 'beating Win7 in market share'; Win7 vs WinXP showed this and while the uptake was good is wasn't 0% to Market Leader right away. Given the lead time for games can be 18months or more and the engineering effort involved you aren't going to bet the farm on this unless you KNOW it'll hit a significant market share on release.

So, if MS don't signal 'this will be on Win7 and Xbox One' "soon" for many companies this is already drifting into 'worry about it later' as DX11 gets their market share nicely and no one wants to rewrite their shiny new renderer (which, for many companies is going to be close to brand new anyway) until they are sure it'll be worth it.

So, even with DX12 releasing in 15 months (+-whatever) unless something is signalled 'soon' it could be a good year after release (and numbers are judged) before DX12 games even start appearing and that depends in DX12 platform support and the relative numbers on those platforms.

The fact that the XNA/DX form here is STILL filled with DX9 questions should give you a clue as to how hard an API can be to shift...
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