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3Ddreamer

DirectX 12 Effect on the Game Development Industry

46 posts in this topic

Hi,

 

Any thoughts on how the coming DirectX 12 outroll will impact the industry in general and also certain segments of the market?

 

For those who do not know, it comes with promise to help developers have more performance advantage in low level coding and such issues by providing a thinner API layer between developer and hardware. Subsequently, game development costs in these related areas should be leaner than in the past while increasing access to optimizations such as threading.

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In the near term the effect is approximately nothing.

 

It is not released. The official stance is that it is tied to the Windows SDK, and the next update is Windows 9. 

 

Unless Microsoft decides to change their prior stance and push out an update to Windows 7, or decide to break out back out from the Windows SDK and back into a separate library, it will have very little effect on everyday games until something happens that drives people to migrate from Windows 7 to Windows 9.

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Also the focus of the industry is blurred right now. 

 

You will have many more people having high level meetings about what devices to support, will they spend resources on a steambox version, how many Android versions will they put out, that sort of thing. DX12 will be mostly ignored until it starts causing problems.

 

DX12 is not something I personally will be looking at, couldn't care less about it.

 

But then I have refused to use windows 8, so I am not the best litmus test smile.png

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i'm focussed on windows development, and i couldn't care less RIGHT NOW about dx12. because, it's 1.5 years away for general release. so essentially, it's a "we'll see" for me.

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Depends.

 

If it's available on Windows 7 - happy days.

If it has feature levels allowing it to run on downlevel hardware - happy days.

 

If Microsoft hit those two sweet spots with it, allowing it to be usable by most people on day 1, then it will be successful.  Remember: this is what they did with DirectX11 (it ran on Vista and had feature levels) so there is precedent.  Hopefully they're aware that if they want this to be successful they'll have to modify some of their current attitudes.

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Win7 support is critical; while it might be sometime away once we get there Win7 is likely to have a huge market share still so not supporting it would be a problem.

Really what it needs to be is DX11 features with a new front end; so even if Win7 only get DX11 features, Win8 the 11.1/2 and Win9 more still at least the common API set will be there.

What I'm hoping for most of all is that it'll prove the concept will work, there are good games and it finally forces the OpenGL ARB to get their head out of the instance-all-the-things sand and embrace this way of working.
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DX12 doesn't seem to introduce new features, just a leaner API. A leaner API optimizes performance (primarily with respect to CPU usage) but it's also a pain in the ass to code for. Look at the Mantle slides for a glimpse of that. Plus there's a risk that MS will screw us on OS support, as phantom mentioned. My take is that it will be an advertising point for AAA games but have very little impact on the industry otherwise.

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it finally forces the OpenGL ARB to get their head out of the instance-all-the-things sand and embrace this way of working.

Based on the latest stuff out of the GL camp, they're staying the course. Their approach appears to be focused around GPU driven rendering (MultiDrawIndirect) and bindless/sparse arrays. That plus a few other toys like persistent mapping/fences, buffer storage, and gl_DrawID. The slides actually admit that DrawID doesn't work properly everywhere.

Edited by Promit
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Yeah, that's why I'm hoping something like this might shake them up a bit; if Mantle and DX12 can do enough that OpenGL suddenly becomes the bottleneck maybe, just maybe, it'll force something to happen.

Those GL slides are just amusingly because right now it's not so much 'approaching zero driver overhead' as 'NV best practises' until AMD get up to speed (no one really expects Intel to work correctly after all), which in a way makes their persistence on this all the more disappointing as it's only half the solution and not even half everyone can do anyway :|
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With the "Approaching Zero Driver Overhead" talk I thought they'd make an announcement along the lines of "And now all these extensions will be supported in Intel, nVidia and AMD!" but it didn't happened lol

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Its a mess right now, I agree.  There is an almost anti-standardization mentality from the biggest organizations in all of this.  The hardware diversity is adding to the complexity.

 

Since most of the language and software issues are based in the USA while the hardware is manufactured mostly elsewhere, how will DirectX 12 help the situation? Globalization seems to be forcing Microsoft to promote its own hardware, such as the Xbox series, mobiles, and hybrid laptop/tablets (don't know what to call the recent new genre blink.png) as hardware platforms for its own software products.

 

My prediction is that Intel, NVidia, and AMD will create even more demand for Microsoft to develop its own hardware for its software, because of the anti-standardization trend.  Perhaps DirectX 12 is a strategy by Microsoft to "clear the chalkboard" so to speak to prepare the way for more of their own hardware.  I would not be surprised if Microsoft finds a way to put chips in their hardware which are specifically designed for DirectX 12 and later versions of DirectX, since the current chipset technology is a mess for game developers. 

 

By contrast:  Apple, AMD, Intel, NVidia, and other major players are diversifying themselves into an uncompetitive chaos, in my opinion, playing right into the strategy of Microsoft to build hardware for its own software.  

 

 

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Microsoft to promote its own hardware, such as the Xbox series, mobiles, and hybrid laptop/tablets (don't know what to call the recent new genre ) as hardware platforms for its own software products.
My prediction is that Intel, NVidia, and AMD will create even more demand for Microsoft to develop its own hardware for its software, because of the anti-standardization trend.

By contrast: Apple, AMD, Intel, NVidia, and other major players are diversifying themselves into an uncompetitive chaos, in my opinion, playing right into the strategy of Microsoft to build hardware for its own software.

Microsoft's hardware products use hardware that's manufactured by AMD, Intel, Qualcomm, etc, etc... They're still reliant on these hardware partners to implement D3D drivers (and processors) for them tongue.png
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That's the way it will be at least in most of Microsoft hardware for a long time to come, but I don't see why they could not order a chip made especially for DirectX 12 and APIs after that, for example, to be put into a future Xbox version.

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 but I don't see why they could not order a chip made especially for DirectX 12 and APIs after that, for example, to be put into a future Xbox version.
Because its a bad idea to put a general purpose API in a fixed platform for example? Putting PC oriented APIs in consoles is bad idea "If you had a proper specific API you could squeeze one year more out of that Xbox but nope! DirectX 12 for everyone!" Doesn't works like that. They're pretty much forced to make a specific API for the consoles lest the developers drop it before it reaches the expected EOL.

 

When a console is reaching its EOL, its a very fine balance between "Our next title will be on PC and we'll see how we can make Xbox version work." and "Only PC version, Xbox is too old to make the things we're going to do."

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That's the way it will be at least in most of Microsoft hardware for a long time to come, but I don't see why they could not order a chip made especially for DirectX 12 and APIs after that, for example, to be put into a future Xbox version.

 

In the past we've had chips made especially for D3D 8, 9, 10 and 11.  You may have heard of them: they were called "GeForce" and "Radeon".

 

I'm only being half-facetious here.  The truth is that hardware is not as general as some APIs may give the impression of it being.  Specific hardware generations have their own specific strengths and weaknesses, and something which was efficient in one hardware generation may be horriffically slow in the next.  Typically a hardware generation is matched by a D3D revision, sometimes with the vendors driving the switchover, sometimes with Microsoft driving it, sometimes with both working together.

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The truth is that hardware is not as general as some APIs may give the impression of it being.


The reverse is also true; the hardware looks nothing like the API claims it does.

Current DX11 API has a required VS->HS->[Tess]->DS->PS flow, but in reality there is no reason for that VS step.
There are also 'slots' for resources yet common hardware has, for the past few years now, not had 'slots' at all and things like texture data is looked up via a memory description.

Legacy is fun like that smile.png Edited by phantom
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Just a few tech generations ago, we could play some awesome OpenGL games that seemed to really rival Direct.  Am I wrong to perceive a gap that is ever widening in actual end-user gaming results between OpenGL and Direct? As already touched on this area earlier in this thread, it might already be fundamentally too late for OpenGL to regain the glory that it once had.  I am dumb struck at how Apple and others have let OpenGL go to waste.

 

On the other hand, my opinion is that Microsoft is very effective in promoting their market strategy.  The performance and features are available and in general with excellent tech support for those willing and able to invest the capital.  A few years ago I would see a little enthusiasm for the future of developing for Macs, but I think that Microsoft is winning the war of attrition.

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Am I wrong to perceive a gap that is ever widening in actual end-user gaming results between OpenGL and Direct? As already touched on this area earlier in this thread, it might already be fundamentally too late for OpenGL to regain the glory that it once had.  I am dumb struck at how Apple and others have let OpenGL go to waste.

 

That gap's been there for quite some time.  It started with the eternity that it seemed to take for GL to get buffer objects (DX7 in 2000, GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object approved by the ARB in 2003), then high-level shading, galloping through two complete failures to deliver a "more modern, more streamlined" API revision (via 2.0 and 3.0), and it's continuing today with the ARB's ongoing failure to address some long-standing API deficiencies (most notably the antiquated bind-to-modify paradigm which everybody hates).

 

It's not Apple, it's not Microsoft, and it's not the hardware vendors who have set back OpenGL - much of the blame can be laid squarely at the ARB.

 

That's unfortunate because despite all of this OpenGL still retains some nice features that don't exist in D3D.  Immediate mode is great for rapid prototyping, for example, and the multi draw stuff is handy to avoid having to maintain a few dynamic buffers too, and they're just two simplistic examples off the top of my head.

 

In terms of visual quality both APIs can be considered identical.  It's the hardware that does all the heavy work, after all.  As soon as you get programmable shading you can do anything, so that's not a consideration (how efficiently you can do it is a consideration).  What that means is that basic API quality is the deciding factor, and that's where GL has been falling behind.

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It's not Apple, it's not Microsoft, and it's not the hardware vendors who have set back OpenGL - much of the blame can be laid squarely at the ARB.
This statement looks flawed to me.

 

"Its not Microsoft, nor Apple, nor nVidia, nor Intel, etc. Its the ARB's fault!"

 

Then tell me who is part of the ARB/Khronos Group? Apple, nVidia, Intel, AMD, Imagination Technologies and a big etc (Microsoft isn't part of Khronos, I'll give you that) I haven't seen them actively opposing OpenGL's direction at all (AFAIK all hardware vendors just try to justify ARB/Khronos decisions again and again).

 

If you're going to blame the ARB, then you are blaming all its members. The ARB isn't just some extraterrestrial thing, its composed by the entities you said they're devoid of responsibility concerning the state of OpenGL.

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None. We are all moving to SteamOS. biggrin.png


Ignoring the fact that 'all' isn't remotely true this is an interesting thing to consider; right now SteamOS looks attractive because 'not ms' and 'fractionally faster' than Windows BUT with the release of D3D12 this is unlikely to be the case any more - even with the current release as demoed at //Build the D3D12 version was a few ms of CPU time faster than D3D11, a gap which is only likely to get bigger.

The only OpenGL vs D3D benchmarks was GL vs D3D9 aka not a reflection on reality of games going forward (or even now), and even then the real advantage wasn't that great so what happens in a world where D3D12 based games are suddenly able to push more and faster than OpenGL? As I've mentioned before OpenGL is hell-bent it seems on 'one thread to do all the work!' as a solution via instancing which isn't scalable going forward (single threads not getting faster and all that) so what you've got in OpenGL now is pretty much, well, it.

Some of this depends on how D3D12 gets released; MS are apparently aware of the desire to see it on Win7 so if, and it's a big if, it makes it back that far and not just Win8 or Win9 this could prove to be an interesting point, more so if it ends up being usable on the Xbox One and thus becomes a more viable API to use on two systems.

After all who wants to game on a system which requires more resources to look and play worse?
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This statement looks flawed to me.

 

"Its not Microsoft, nor Apple, nor nVidia, nor Intel, etc. Its the ARB's fault!"

 

Then tell me who is part of the ARB/Khronos Group? Apple, nVidia, Intel, AMD, Imagination Technologies and a big etc (Microsoft isn't part of Khronos, I'll give you that) I haven't seen them actively opposing OpenGL's direction at all (AFAIK all hardware vendors just try to justify ARB/Khronos decisions again and again).

 

If you're going to blame the ARB, then you are blaming all its members. The ARB isn't just some extraterrestrial thing, its composed by the entities you said they're devoid of responsibility concerning the state of OpenGL.

 

The ARB is also comprised of other industry representatives.  Plus they're a committee.  And we all know how good committees are at getting stuff done.

 

 

None. We are all moving to SteamOS. biggrin.png

 

Steam OS exists because Gabe Newell got his knickers in a twist over the Windows App store and app restrictions on Windows RT.  Gabe certainly isn't your friend - he's in the business of making money so don't think he's suddenly become all cuddly and open-source-friendly.  He just didn't like what smelled to him like a competitor to Steam, that's all.  This isn't about suddenly embracing the philosophies of Linux, this is about trying to shut down competition.  In other words - he's using you and you love it.

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Depends.

 

If it's available on Windows 7 - happy days.

If it has feature levels allowing it to run on downlevel hardware - happy days.

 

If Microsoft hit those two sweet spots with it, allowing it to be usable by most people on day 1, then it will be successful.  Remember: this is what they did with DirectX11 (it ran on Vista and had feature levels) so there is precedent.  Hopefully they're aware that if they want this to be successful they'll have to modify some of their current attitudes.

 
If Microsoft UNO worldwide bans cap-bits - happy days with Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli as special guest.
 
What would probably happen:
 
- Windows 7: no way!
- Windows 8.0: no way!
- Windows 8.1: no way!
- Windows 8.1 update 1: no way!
- Windows 8.1 update 2 (the one with the cool new start menu announced): yes, but with limited driver capabilities, no WDDM 2.0, feature_level 11.x
- Windows 9 support: yes, new WDDM 2.0, small set of new hardware feature ("programmable" blending, conservative rasterization), new cap-bits!
- Xbox: yes, probably very similar to Windows 8.1 up2 support (do people seriously think that the AMD apu has some "unlocked cool performance and hardware features" like feature_level_12_0? xD)
 
-Feature levels: 11.0, 11.1, cap-bits for d3d11.2, 12.0 and other cap-bits for multi-threading and related features...
 

With the "Approaching Zero Driver Overhead" talk I thought they'd make an announcement along the lines of "And now all these extensions will be supported in Intel, nVidia and AMD!" but it didn't happened lol

 

 

Well, this could be identified as a typical independent hardware vendors' "Bazinga!".

 

None. We are all moving to SteamOS. biggrin.png

 

Is Sheldon Lee Cooper in that universe able to drive a car?

 

 

None. We are all moving to SteamOS. biggrin.png

 

Steam OS exists because Gabe Newell got his knickers in a twist over the Windows App store and app restrictions on Windows RT.  Gabe certainly isn't your friend - he's in the business of making money so don't think he's suddenly become all cuddly and open-source-friendly.  He just didn't like what smelled to him like a competitor to Steam, that's all.  This isn't about suddenly embracing the philosophies of Linux, this is about trying to shut down competition.  In other words - he's using you and you love it.

 

 

Poor GabeN, would you make him starve? angry.png Anyway they have like the 90% (probably more) of the PC video-games digital distribution, Steam OS wasn't required... and I cannot play no more any multi-player source based games without tons of stuttering caused by that bloatware called Source Engine (it began when they added the "community" layer with achievements etc., dramatically degenerated with the lovely workshop....), and the audio layer is a total disaster compared to some old game I was usually play when I was a child..

Edited by Alessio1989
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Steam OS exists because Gabe Newell got his knickers in a twist over the Windows App store and app restrictions on Windows RT.  Gabe certainly isn't your friend - he's in the business of making money so don't think he's suddenly become all cuddly and open-source-friendly.  He just didn't like what smelled to him like a competitor to Steam, that's all.  This isn't about suddenly embracing the philosophies of Linux, this is about trying to shut down competition.  In other words - he's using you and you love it.

 

Exactly. SteamOS was a response to a competitor. Why didn't Valve build SteamOS when GFWL was proposed and rolled out? Why did Valve make BILLIONS off gamers who used Windows XP, Vista, 7, only to then come out with their own system?

 

They took Linux, which they didn't create.

To sell a box, which they don't sell themselves.

To sell games, which they don't publish themselves.

 

...........Just so they can take the same 70/30 split every other digital store takes. Yeah, Gabe is a great human being. If only all CEOs had his mentality, the world would be so much better. Profit off the hard work everyone else does.

 

....Wait.......That IS EXACTLY what all other CEOs do. But hey, at least Gabe takes his billions and puts it back into his own products..............right? Right? Nope. Not at all.

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hey, at least Gabe takes his billions and puts it back into his own products..............right?

Hey, knock it off. He needs the money for daily lobster deliveries to his private jet. Would you deny him that?!

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