In a somewhat unusual technical/promotional blog entry called “Raising the Bar with Direct3D”, Microsoft has released some additional details on the version of Direct3D for Xbox One, along with providing a general summary of the state of Direct3D 11.2.

First and foremost, for the Xbox One we finally have an official name for the consoles version of Direct3D along with some confirmation of some general details about the API. The Xbox One’s version of the API is being called Direct3D 11.x – X as in Xbox, not an algebraic X – and as expected it’s a superset of Direct3D 11.2. Microsoft doesn’t go into further detail on what else that superset contains, but traditionally we’d expect to see further API calls that are specifically designed to take advantage of the underlying APU, including of course the low-level programming constructs to do close to metal programming and fully exploit quirks such as the console’s 32MB of eSRAM.

Furthermore it’s interesting to note that Microsoft also took the time to specifically mention API overhead in a high-level context, and that they’ve been doing a lot of work to chip away at said overhead for the Xbox One. This is fairly similar to how Microsoft is said to have approached Direct3D for the 360, being able to exploit the fixed platform to remove some of the overhead from abstraction while maintaining the functionality of the high level API functions.

Moving on to Direct3D 11.2 in general, the next section of the blog is primarily a summarization of the Direct3D 11.2 feature set, with Microsoft primarily reiterating support for tiled resources (the headline feature for 11.2) along with briefly mentioning other features such as pre-compiled headers and CPU/GPU memory sharing improvements. Unlike Direct3D 11.1 and Windows 8, 11.2 is coming with a Windows point update, so it’s a similarly smaller addition to Direct3D.

However it’s the final section of Microsoft’s blog that may be the most interesting, although it’s also the least detailed. In discussing the future of Direct3D, Microsoft specifically mentions their general commitments to improving Direct3D alongside “bringing the lightweight runtime and tooling capabilities of the Xbox One Direct3D implementation to Windows,” though providing no details on how they intend to accomplish the latter. Assuming Microsoft intends to keep up a yearly(ish) development cadence for Windows, this may be something we see as soon as next year. There’s certainly quite a bit of interest in cutting down on the CPU overhead in graphics APIs, due in part to declining improvements in single-threaded CPU performance gains, so this is something that’s going to be worth keeping an eye on.

Finally, in an unexpected move, Microsoft also used the blog to quickly address the subject of AMD’s Mantle API, specifically saying that the Xbox One doesn’t support it nor OpenGL. The fact that Mantle isn’t supported comes as no surprise – Xbox One already has its own low level constructs versus the still in development Mantle – but we weren’t expecting Microsoft to comment on the matter since they aren’t involved in the development of Mantle. Though this unfortunately doesn’t shed any further light on the big question of just what Mantle adopts from the low-level programming constructs in Direct3D 11.x.

Source: Microsoft Windows Blog

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  • Ryan Smith - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - link

    "we need one of their software guys in here to clear it all up."

    You'll get no objection there. But for the moment this is all AMD will be saying; the bulk of the details on Mantle will come next month at APU13 when Mantle is closer to shipping. Though keep in mind that the first game isn't due until December anyhow, so there's still plenty of time for analysis before anything ships.
  • MADDER1 - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - link

    Funny this sounds like AMD pulling one out of Intel's playbook of optimizing for their processors on x86 compilers. Well gotta have the software to make the hardware look good- don't mind as long as we the consumers get the advantage!
  • chadwilson - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    An API is not an implementation, it's an interface (thus the I in API). They could replicate the API and ABI of the consoles (and they should and likely will given what their stated goal is). That doesn't mean that they don't have their own implementation under the hood, it just means that when a programmer calls the foo function, it's there and callable.
  • HisDivineOrder - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - link

    You could just admit you were wrong when you implied Mantle is the same as the low level API MS is using for Xbox One. I mean, seriously. That nonsense has spread across the internet now. The least you could do is acknowledge that what you "suspected" turned out not to be the case.

    If someone at AMD truly implied that to you, you should go back to them and let them know what you think of their implying untruth to you. You'll be much like the people who believed the AMD PR guy who "implied" Bulldozer performance that didn't turn out to be based in reality.
  • chizow - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - link

    I think he just made an educated guess on that and I don't think he was that far off. If you looked at the actual low level code it would probably be very similar, a few header or operand differences. It probably could have been worded more carefully, instead of saying "same" it could've been "similar", just not compatible.

    But I agree, certain people have taken what was written and just ran with it making all kinds of links to Mantle and the consoles that did need to be cleared up. I'm glad MS did so sooner rather than later.
  • 1Angelreloaded - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - link

    I would like to see at this point optimization for the already abundant resources a mainstream computer already has as at this point. Before moving forward with hardware manufacturers on the hardware and software side should stife and reiterate previous models with a more designed focus on optimizing it for Linux and Windows before we move forward.

    While I would like to see more games that take advantage of AMD's 8 core I would also like to see hyperthreading properly implemented in non-half assed ways into the games core engine, and of course SLI and Crossfire hardware and software specs that surpass what we already have for the 4k revolution about to hit us like a brick wall with the next few years as mainstream.

    I know this is a pipedream because the hardware typically moves at a pace where things can get outpaced quickly, and software manufacturers can't keep up, but we already have seen problems with Vista, most people will say it was 1 of Msofts worst flops, the truth for people whom know what they are talking about realized that Vista marked the birth of stable(after a couple months release) 64 bit home use as xp pro 64bit had no support what so ever. Vendors drivers were the cause of most of the problems and by the time 7 was released a better optimized and looking version of Vista, 8 strikes me like Vista and Millenium, and 9 will be the perfected version. Msoft has to be the middleground between the walled garden and completely free ballin Linux, but this is no excuse for non-polished OSs and lack of co-operative efforts with hardware and software segments.

    To move forward we first have to look and analyze backwards, most of the power we can leverage is wasted on non-optimized segments consoles have proven that even outdated hardware that is standardized can look amazing when properly taken advantage of.
  • TheJian - Tuesday, October 15, 2013 - link

    Dice apparently got paid 8Million to pick it up. Considering AMD is almost bankrupt I expect nobody else to pick it up. Unless AMD makes some money soon. But that would require them to quit giving away free games, make better drivers, and actually make some cpu's worth buying vs. Intel.

    So, as i've said before, MANTLE is DEAD. Bring on OpenGL games! I'm hoping DirectX is right behind Mantle (along with consoles...ROFL). All dead. Everything can run OpenGL, so this is where they will all migrate. SteamOS couldn't have come along at a better time. MS will have a hard time competing with FREE (android and steamos).
  • HunterKlynn - Friday, October 18, 2013 - link

    Something something "year of the Linux desktop!"
  • ufon68 - Saturday, October 19, 2013 - link

    Too bad you can't tell the difference between directx, direct3d and openGL. Also too bad that doesn't prevent you from voicing your opinion on these.
  • jasonelmore - Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - link

    I doubt other developers will use mantle unless paid by AMD like DICE was paid anywhere from 8-12 million for the BF4 Mantle Contract.

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