GDC 2016: Tearing & Freesync/G-Sync Support Coming to Windows' UWP Appsby Ryan Smith on March 17, 2016 12:50 AM EST
With the recent release of the first major games built for Windows’ Universal Windows Platform runtime, the current limitations of UWP has been a hot topic in technical circles. When it comes to gaming, UWP as it stands is not up to par with the Win32 API we have come to know and tolerate. To that end, with Microsoft running a block of technical sessions at today’s GDC, I checked in on the state of UWP and where Microsoft is in addressing some of the concerns that have been raised over the past couple of weeks.
The overall message from Microsoft right now is to wait and see. Talking to Microsoft representatives and speakers, the company is well aware of what’s being said and wants to address it. GDC just won’t be that venue. Rather the company will be updating the press and developers on UWP at BUILD 2016, Microsoft’s annual conference that’s taking place in two weeks. And while the company’s reps can’t make specific comments at GDC on what to expect later this month, I do consider it a positive sign that they are aware of what’s going on and that they are preparing what looks to be a serious response.
Meanwhile on a related note, in this year’s DirectX 12 session, Microsoft has confirmed that they are going to be addressing the current refresh interval limitations of UWP. In short, Windows UWP will be gaining support for interval immediate refreshing, otherwise known as tearing. Tearing currently isn't allowed, and while tearing is not typically desirable, there are situations where the bare minimum latency it affords may be more useful than displaying a whole frame without corruption. This will also allow Freesync and G-Sync variable refresh rate technologies to work with UWP, as the underlying issues blocking them with the current system are much similar. As it stands there isn’t an ETA on this update, however it’s something the DirectX team has taken to heart, and with a bit of luck it may be sooner than later.