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The End Of DirectX As We Know It 285

Posted by Hemos
from the and-i-feel-fine dept.
socram writes "Speaking with ATI and NVIDIA at ECTS allowed us to confirm that after DX9.0, DirectX Graphics is no more. In name only. Microsoft's next set of core presentation and 3D APIs are now under the umbrella of Windows Graphics Foundation and Avalon. Microsoft will still rely on DirectX in name for the rest of the core components, but the graphics API is now under a new name. Look out for WGF 1.0 compatibility on the back of that next generation graphics card's box. Some WGF 1.0 Info!" Update: 09/06 22:27 GMT by T : David Ross of hexus.net points out that this text comes straight from hexus, and should have been credited as such.
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The End Of DirectX As We Know It

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  • by Ford Prefect (8777) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:01AM (#10168339) Homepage
    I think there are plenty of titles that use opengl

    Doom 3's probably the biggest - and even if you hate the game, its very existence means that graphics card manufacturers can't even think about dropping OpenGL support, at least not without alienating a good number of potential purchasers.

    Thanks, John Carmack, for keeping OpenGL alive!
  • Re:DirectX (Score:2, Insightful)

    by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:01AM (#10168346) Homepage Journal
    What is this DirectX? On most games today it says "runs on either Nvidia card xxx or ATI card yyy". Portability doesn't exist. I bought a new PC and new games won't run on it.
    Well, the long and short of it is, if PCs are meant to compete with the PlayStation 2, then they're going to have a narrow band of hardware. The sort of performance needed for a PC game to be equivalent to a PS2/Xbox means having a top end graphics card, and using most of those top end features. Sad, but if you want cutting edge, thats just simply the case. Deal with it.

    Me, I just play Nethack and Minesweeper, and use my processor for running calculations in the background.
  • of course (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wobedraggled (549225) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:03AM (#10168356) Homepage
    M$ knows full well that Wine now has a pretty good hold on DirectX, so of course they are gonna change things around... "rolls eyes"
  • by Seoulstriker (748895) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:05AM (#10168372)
    What are you talking about? OS X has native support for OpenGL capability. It just so happens that some desktop graphics functions such as windows are offloaded to the GPU. OpenGL is the equivalent of DirectX. In fact, now that the ARB finally made a decision on shading languages, OpenGL's OGSL is superior to what Microsoft has to offer.

    It's just that Microsoft is finally catching up with Apple in [b]using[/b] GPU functions to control more than just games.
  • by jrest (539296) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:12AM (#10168412)
    What about the parts of DirectX that are not about 3D? The article is only about the Direct3D part of DirectX.
    I'm using DirectShow a lot myself actually. Are changes expected there too?
  • Re:DirectX (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tim C (15259) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:13AM (#10168417)
    On most games today it says "runs on either Nvidia card xxx or ATI card yyy".

    Well, on most of the requirements I've seen recently, it'll list something like "Graphics card: 100% DirectX 8 compatible, 64MB RAM". Just because in today's hardware market that translates to "a recent card from NVidia or ATI" doesn't make that MS's fault.

    So my non-nvidia card won't help me even though DirectX 9.0c claims to be running fine

    Chances are, DX 9 *is* running fine, but your card lacks support for certain features used by the game. Now, the game devs could fall back to software, or even just disable those features; not doing so is not the fault of DX or MS.
  • Re:DirectX (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gl4ss (559668) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:16AM (#10168445) Homepage Journal
    actually it's the fault of the 3rd party gfx card makers that just adhere to buzzwords, but don't deliver(real performance & etc, even if you had them in mind when coding).

    so they put in just enough features that they can dub it as directx9 compatible... and slap it to the retailers with a package that claims it'll run games fast and that it is directx9 compatible - and that it is cheaper than ati/nvidia offering claiming similar things.

    remember when virge dx was dubbed as 3d accelerator card?

  • Re:WGF? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:32AM (#10168534) Homepage Journal
    As opposed to the OSS world, where naming is working overtime.

    Tell me -- just from the names -- what the following programs do:

    Apache
    Firefox
    Thunderbird
    Mono
    BitTorrent
    Grep
    Putty
    (and the fucking stupidest ever) Script-Fu, part of The Gimp

    The idea, I guess, is to glamorize the program name like a brand name, and I suppose it works for some things (Apache, for example). Most of the time, however, it only serves to confuse people who have never heard of a program before. Microsoft errs on the side of shit you can understand, because when they use funky names (like BackOffice), they spend a lot of time explaining what the damn program does.
  • Re:Wonderful (Score:1, Insightful)

    by r3dx0r (716364) <r3dddd@gmaiCHEETAHl.com minus cat> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:33AM (#10168542)
    nope, more likely they'll adopt opengl, add plenty of windows only features, rename it to microsoftgl and patent it.
  • Re:of course (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:39AM (#10168605) Homepage Journal
    Yes, I'm sure the API changes have nothing at all to do with restructuring a terse and complex API or adding changes from user and deveoper requests to improve on the GUI. I'm sure it has everything to do with breaking WINE.
  • by mangu (126918) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:45AM (#10168650)
    ...for inventing their own standard, instead of collaborating with the OpenGL group. That's a typical micro$oft tactic, create a new, incompatible, standard and keep changing it, to force people to upgrade.


    I have the same problem the grandparent post mentions. I used to like a game by Electronic Arts, "Need for Speed - Porsche Unleashed", which was released in 2000. Then in 2003 they released "Need for Speed Underground", which required a card beyond my Riva TNT2, so I got a GeForce FX5200. Now NFSPU doesn't play in the FX5200. Unfortunately, the newer NFS sucks, it's a game designed for an arcade experience, while NFSPU was designed more like a simulator.


    But why, you will ask, is this micro$oft's fault, if Electronic Arts is the company that publishes the NFS series? Because of DirectX. OpenGL games, like "Grand Prix Legends", for instance, keep running in newer hardware and software. It's micro$oft's fault if the DirectX standard changes from one release to the other making older software incompatible. The newer release should be guaranteed to support every single feature in the older version.


    Of course, Electronic Arts is also guilty in this case, if an open standard exists, they shouldn't adopt a broken monopolistic standard. Well, I guess I'll never buy another racing simulator again, I'll either get an open source [sourceforge.net] alternative, or pirate the commercial games.

  • by ergo98 (9391) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:52AM (#10168687) Homepage Journal
    On a different note, the really amazing thing about Avalon, and you gotta commend Moft for this, is that they're actually moving the graphics driver to User-mode.

    Do you have a source for this? My impression of Avalon is that it's a library and version of Explorer.exe that sits on top of DirectX - of course the video card driver would still be ring 0, and the GDI+++ library (the new Avalon graphics library) would be user mode, just as GDI or GDI+ are today. Avalon represents a new interface application and set of tools for third party applications to use, but it isn't a tremendous plumbing change.

    Funny thing about Microsoft software - invariably it hits the market as is dramatically less of a schism than people imagined it to be.
  • by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:57AM (#10168717) Homepage Journal
    Not to mention that the reasons the article states for DX sucking HAVE been improved upon my Microsoft, and in most cases, greatly so.

    Meaning that this article serves as a shining example of MS listening to developers.
  • by _Spirit (23983) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:57AM (#10168719) Journal
    When I read the explanation one of Microsofts developers gave of what Avalon is, I got the feeling that is an additional layer on top of DirectX, not a replacement. Their relationship sounded a bit similar to the way Quartz and OpenGL work on Mac OS X: Quartz (the engine that renders the desktop and UI elements) runs on top of OpenGL.
  • Re:DirectX (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:09AM (#10168801)
    Really. If it takes a $2000+ PC to "compete" with a $200 PS2, why the fuck even bother.
  • [OT] Re:Nice... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tranzig (786710) <voidstar@freemail.hu> on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:12AM (#10168813)
    I did not say you are wrong, I said the thing you quoted from the article is unlikely to happen.

    You are right, much time have passed since NT 3.1. Those days microkernels was thought to be the state of art, the future of kernels. Smart people claimed that as the hardware evolve, the performance gap between monolithic kernels and microkernels will become negligible and the robustness of microkernels will make it superior.
    But it did not happen. Today, monolithic kernels dominate the desktop market, the only exception is OSX with its Mach kernel. The quasi-micro NT kernel was turned into a bloated monolithic kernel, BeOS died, and Hurd... hasn't really born yet.
    Conclusion: monolitic design is still the way to follow.

    Now back to the original topic: I don't really see any reason for userland graphics except stability. It WILL decrease performance, which is cruical for the VGA cards, and might result in driver incompatibility I think. If I'm right, then it will take quite some time to write compatible drivers for older cards (assuming that nvidia and ati is willing to write for their own cards). And Microsoft does not have time, they already decided to leave out WinFS from Longhorn. They can't postpone Longhorn beyond 2006 because that would be too big pull for desktop Linux/BSD. And I guess by 2006 ReactOS will become a usable OS too.

  • by BCW2 (168187) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:36AM (#10168999) Journal
    "We must start coding our version NOW if we're going to have any chance of opening up how girls actually work!"

    I'm sorry to tell you that this is the impossible dream. Having been married for 21 years and having 3 daughters I am an expert on how little men will ever know about women. The more you learn, the less sense it makes. Accept it and try to solve an easier problem, like the beginning of the universe, it will take less time and be achieveable!
  • by FullMetalAlchemist (811118) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:42AM (#10169044)
    Actually, DirectX is fully backwards compatible.
    It's probably driver problem causing this, because you normally need a new driver to match the DirectX increments; sucks, but that's what it takes.
    It's actually the buyers market, if people didn't spend money on top of the line graphics cards with new features then DirectX wouldn't need to be updated to accomodate those features.

    I do think that better game programmers would write a more dynamic gfx engines that are pluggable with the new features instead of demanding them; so that they don't have to be emulated by DirectX either; on the other hand it would mean less optimized inner loops.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2004 @12:05PM (#10169198)
    "The days of backward archane APIs are gone."

    That's exactly right, because DirectX is the only API people use. Why? Several reasons.
    1. It drives all hardware development. There is no hardware built for SDL or OpenGL or what have you. Every feature--bad or good--is built to conform to Microsoft's latest DirectX rather than the other way around. And you thought Microsoft's monopoly was just in software! HA! And wait til you see what Longhorn itself brings to hardware!
    Meanwhile, how do you even do Vsync on X11? Can it even be done?
    2. Direct3D has pushed the envelope while OpenGL stagnated. Part of me hopes OpenGL 2.0 will turn this around, but you can't ignore reality that the ARB was sitting around on its collective arse for years, growing moldy a la XFree86, with only a hodgepodge of bolted-on extensions backported from DirectX 7, 8, 9. The GL shading language is even the newest shading language on the block---possibly too late for its own good.
    3. DirectX, while updated every few years or so, is actually stable and consistent across Windows platforms, and even attempts to be backward compatible. You can play a DirectX 7 game on DirectX 9.0b system and have a pretty good chance it will work 100%. For example, 3Dmark2001SE still runs fine today.
    4. DirectX is all-encompassing and isn't a moving target. It's more than Direct3D, but a standard way of getting input, doing sound, etc. That's alot more than the hodgepodge of ever-changing SDL,OSS/Alsa, devfs/udev, new Xorg Xinput extensions, etc. You can't even guarantee consistency across Linux *distributions*, let alone cross-OS, until Linux supports DirectX. Believe it or not, change and choice are *not* always good. You can't build a house if you're always ripping apart the foundation.

    "Every API is just as good, and you know why?"

    With games costing as much as they do, developers don't want to use every API. They only want to learn 1 and be done with it. That's why there is only 1 PC platform (and XBox) and 1 different console platform allowed to thrive (PS2).
  • by ivan256 (17499) * on Monday September 06, 2004 @12:53PM (#10169514)
    Man, today, it doesn't matter what API you use...

    Yes it does. Some APIs have implementations on multiple platforms, and some don't.

  • Re:of course (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2004 @01:23PM (#10169706)
    Remember the old saying: DOS ain't done until Lotus won't run?

    Well, MS now has a new one: DirectX ain't done until Wine won't run.

    Cos let's face it, it's not as if Microsoft is above this sort of locking out behaviour, is it?
  • by Corngood (736783) on Monday September 06, 2004 @01:23PM (#10169717)
    And those platforms are so different that you either have to write a whole bunch of platform specific code, or settle for a least common denominator situation.
  • by k98sven (324383) on Monday September 06, 2004 @01:56PM (#10169907) Journal
    The only people who would be affected is OpenGL elitists

    No, the only people who would be affected would be everyone who wants to play Doom 3 on their video card. That's a significant number of people.

    Remember that Microsoft created PC gaming as we know it.

    What the heck are you smoking? Microsoft was a pioneer in writing flight sims. But that's about it. You must be too young to remember what PC gaming was like before Microsoft ruled the universe.

    There is nothing wrong with DirectX, except that such a brilliant idea came out of Microsoft.

    There are plenty of things wrong with DirectX. One is that it is a proprietary standard created by MS to stop OpenGL. And unexpectedly, DirectX is locked-in to the Windows platform, unlike OpenGL.

    It is not a 'brilliant idea' by any stretch of the imagination. It's was a mind-numbingly obvious idea. When DirectX was developed, essentially all PC apps had moved off DOS to Windows, except games. Obviously, Microsoft needed to get game developers to start using Windows. DirectX was an obvious solution. But they could, had they been less 'evil', just as well integrated OpenGL support into Windows instead.

    Which I suspect is the real reason that certain people are as pro-OpenGL as they are. It's just more anti-Microsoft sentiment.

    No, it's because OpenGL is a non-proprietary, cross-platform standard. DirectX is a proprietary API locked to the Windows platform.

    That said, I'll concede that DirectX is better than OpenGL. It must be better than OpenGL to ensure its survival, because no developer wants to lock himself to a single vendor and platform if there is an equally good option.
  • by paradizelost (689394) on Monday September 06, 2004 @02:02PM (#10169946) Homepage
    "Every API is just as good, and you know why? Because every API has the goal of allowing access to the underlying structure of the GPU."

    That is not what makes the API just as good. if the code were done with opengl, then people on macintosh, linux, etc... could easily port the game, without having to pay fee's to M$ for the use of the new libraries on the respective platforms.

    For example. RTCW, Enemy Territory, WWIIOnline, etc... use opengl, so i can play it on all the machines i own, rather than only on 1.
  • Reminds me of Ford (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2004 @02:22PM (#10170082)
    Let people use whatever friggin API they want

    ...as long as it only runs on Windows. If Microsoft has forced itself in a position to be the only one to write gaming "standards," then those "standards" should be available for a platform other than Windows.

    Understandably Microsoft won't ever do that because they'd lose a lot of money on the people buying new computers for the next new game; those people might use Linux instead. OpenGL will die off because game developers want to make money, not friends.
  • by Sheriff Fatman (602092) on Monday September 06, 2004 @03:34PM (#10170533) Homepage
    "You must be too young to remember what PC gaming was like before Microsoft ruled the universe."

    Um, yeah. Different boot disks for every game, being able to rewrite CONFIG.SYS from memory just to get Wing Commander II to load, the joys of HIMEM.SYS and the differences between extended memory, expanded memory and high memory, manually setting the command-line IRQs for assorted soundcards and trying to find a real-mode DOS mouse driver that loaded in less than 5K of RAM.

    Windows 95 (and to a lesser extent, DirectX) made it feasible to run games in the same environment as your 'normal' applications. They meant you could buy any Windows-compatible soundcard, video card, mouse or joystick and be fairly certain it would work. They also turned TCP/IP networking into a mass-market commodity. In that respect, I'd say Microsoft made a pretty substantial contribution to PC gaming as we know it. Created? Perhaps not. But I'd say PC gaming as we know it owes at least as much to Microsoft as it does to anyone else.

  • by yeremein (678037) on Monday September 06, 2004 @03:49PM (#10170631)
    Um, yeah. Different boot disks for every game, being able to rewrite CONFIG.SYS from memory just to get Wing Commander II to load, the joys of HIMEM.SYS and the differences between extended memory, expanded memory and high memory, manually setting the command-line IRQs for assorted soundcards and trying to find a real-mode DOS mouse driver that loaded in less than 5K of RAM.

    Lest we forgot, we have Microsoft to thank for all of that too. :)

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