BUILD: Details On Direct3D 11.1

by Ryan Smith on 9/14/2011 2:42 PM EST
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  • LtGoonRush - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    Do these new DX11.1 features require new graphics hardware, or can they be supported by a driver update on DX11 hardware? Reply
  • tipoo - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    New hardware. Just like 10, 10.1, 11. Reply
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    Do you know that for fact or assuming, because that isnt necessarily the case if the new feature doesnt specifically require hardware support. DirectX is just a software API, it can gain new features without needing new hardware. You can use DirectX11 with directx 9/10/10.1/11 class hardware and still gain very important features like multithreaded contexts (so long of course that the drivers support it). Reply
  • Targon - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    I agree, though it would have been nice if Microsoft would treat DirectX in that way. There should ALWAYS have been a software failover if the hardware does not support certain functions, even if performance would suffer. Allowing software to disable features to avoid performance degradation would be better than just not having these features be available. Reply
  • inighthawki - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    There's probably a more technical reason that it can't be done dealing with devices and contexts and how they are all synced up, it might be too difficult or impossible to mix the software features in, who knows.

    If you really want, though, you could probably just create a second device mapped to a WARP device, and using your own feature detection, decide whether to send the data through the hardware or software pipeline.
    I don't know quite enough about how the data is bound to the pipeline though, it may be impossible to share resource like that.

    Perhaps this is what the new DX11.1 device context sharing will enable. It might be interesting to look into that.
    Reply
  • smitty3268 - Wednesday, September 14, 2011 - link

    The problem with giving everything a software fallback is that you then have to come up with a complicated querying mechanism for applications to check whether a feature is truly supported or just a software fallback. That can work for a feature here and there, but en masse just becomes ugly. And going without forces applications to do mini-benchmarks whenever they try to use a feature and guess whether or not it works acceptably or if they should fallback to a less demanding codepath that will actually run at an acceptable level. Reply
  • LtGoonRush - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    Also, one of the key purposes of DirectX levels is to ensure that the same features will always be available across all compliant hardware, otherwise we get back to the bad old days of OpenGL using extensions for everything Reply
  • Ph0b0s - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    I think the jury is still out on that. Only when Microsoft finalise the spec, can GPU makers look and see whether the additions of .1 can be done on current hardware or not.

    Reading through the above, I don't see (to my un-expert eye) anything that screams new hardware required. Like tessellation hardware with DX11. In the same way some DX11 upgrades were upgrades for both DX 10 and DX 11 hardware, these might be the same.

    The question that will then come is whether having DX11.1 as driver upgrade for existing DX 11 cards is in Nvidia and ATI's interest....
    Reply
  • Ryan Smith - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    Microsoft isn't saying. I need to huddle with AMD and NV, and then I'll get back to you.

    What I do know is that WDDM 1.2 drivers (which is one of the D3D 11.1 requirements) will be available for all of AMD's DX11-class hardware. So it's entirely possible that D3D11.1 will work on at least some current hardware.
    Reply
  • Ph0b0s - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    As I said above it is not surprising Microsoft will not comment on this. It is rare for one company to comment on another companies products or make any promises about them. It is something for AMD, NVIDIA and INTEL to comment on. So any news you can get from them would be very interesting.

    But they may also not be in a position to comment as I don't know how set in stone the 11.1 specs are at the moment. GPU makers will not want to promise comparability until things are settled.

    If 11.1 does require new hardware, I for one will be waiting until DX 12 as my cards are pretty new. 11.1 may well go the way of 10.1, if new hardware is needed, i.e with hardly any support.
    Reply
  • nyran125 - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    im not happy with having a New Operating system just yet. I only just upgraded from Windows xp to Windows 7 and hav only just paid for DX11 hardware. If they bought out a Direct x 11.1 that would meen RAGE would be obsolete on DAY 1, what a waste of everyone's time. I hope Windows 8 flops. It better still support the older games to, Windows 7 had a bi tof trouble with older games but most were patched and ok.

    I dont want to upgrade system every year and have a new OS every 1 or 2 years either , no way.
    Reply
  • LtGoonRush - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    A new OS every ~3 years is a proper release cadence, Windows 7 launched in late 2009 and Windows 8 will launch in late 2012. Of course Windows 8 will still support your hardware and existing games. And yes, Rage is obviously already obsolete, since Id software was purchased by Bethesda (Fallout, Oblivion). If you watch the HD gameplay trailers available on Youtube, the game looks like an uninspired ripoff of Borderlands minus the black borders. Id software has traditionally pushed the state-of-the-art through innovative new engines that it then licensed for use, but Bethesda decided to make Id Tech 5 internal only, meaning there's no incentive for anything new or groundbreaking. Sadly, now that Id software is owned by a big media company, there's no hope of them producing anything of value ever again. Reply
  • customcarvin - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    Ummm, I thought Rage was Opengl based? Reply
  • inighthawki - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    You are correct. In addition I dont particularly see how this makes RAGE "obsolete." If that's the word we're going to use, then it was obsolete years ago because it still doesn't support many of the features that are possible. It has no real-time global illumination, I highly doubt it makes use of hardware tessellation (I seem to recall Carmack quoting that he thinks it's overall a bad idea), etc etc. Reply
  • Sabresiberian - Friday, September 16, 2011 - link

    We're talking end of 2012 for Win 8, maybe later, and it certainly won't make win 7 obsolete. I highly doubt Vista and Win 7 won't be able to run 11.1, since the kernel changes in Win 8 are supposed to be minor.

    DX11 hardware certainly won't be "old" any time soon, either. It's a good place to be at, I think, as far as hardware. I wouldn't sweat your purchase - I mean, when you buy computer electronics, you will always be out of date in a short while anyway, but that doesn't mean what you have isn't awesome.

    ;)
    Reply
  • Pantsu - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    No doubt consoles will still drag the development of graphics in games for years to come. Industry vets like Id and Epic are making engines that optimize the hell out of consoles, all the while leaving PC at the mercy of some two bit ports that look like crap and run like...well, crap.

    Hopefully D3D11.1 will bring some much needed optimizations to PC too. It's about time developers started putting a little more emphasis on creating the next gen engines that are not limited by antiquated console designs.
    Reply
  • inighthawki - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    Last I checked Unreal 3 is still not only one of the most optimized PC engines, but supports a TON of features. When UT3 first came out, it was a little heavy on the CPU, but ultimately it looked WAY better than every game I had played up until that point but could be run on quite a bit of hardware on max settings. Unreal 3 also recently got a DX11 implementation with tons of brand new features (see the samaritan demo if you haven't)

    If Unreal 3 isn't running well on the PC it's almost certainly the fault of the developer who licensed it making changes to the code base but doing a poor job. I've seen it happen a lot.

    Not to mention, consoles need a lot of optimization to run because they cannot keep up with PCs. You think they are spending a lot of time, but the end result is ensuring a certain framerate at the cost of a lot of quality. Take, for example, Battlefield 3. The new frostbite 2 engine enables realtime global illumination on the PC, but consoles are stuck with pre-baked lighting, lower resolutions, and lower quality textures and models. It makes sense that if they want something on a console, it requires a lot of additional work.
    Reply
  • Pantsu - Thursday, September 15, 2011 - link

    UE3 is decent, though majority of UE3 games don't support AA due to the fact developers would have to spend resources implementing it on DX10/11, and they had just licensed a ready-made engine so they wouldn't have to. I've seen the Samaritan demo, and it does look like Epic is finally coming back to throw the PC crowd a shiny penny.

    I wasn't really referring to UE3 or ID Tech, but for the majority of other engines done by less reputable companies. Take for example DX:HR. It uses a really old Crystal Tools engine meant for Tomb Raider console games. How do you make a good PC port out of that? Nixxess did as good a job as they could, and AMD slapped some DX11 stuff on top, but it's still an ugly engine by modern standards.

    What I wish is that develepers would do is like with BF3, first make an engine that can fully utilize a PC, then fit it for consoles and their miniscule texture memory limitations.
    Reply

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