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Microsoft Confirms DirectX 12 Is Alive and Well, Demo Coming At GDC 127

Posted by timothy
from the what-keeps-society-alive dept.
MojoKid writes "Buzz has been building for the last week that Microsoft would soon unveil the next version of DirectX at the upcoming Games Developer Conference (GDC). Microsoft has now confirmed that its discussion forums at the show won't just be to discuss updates to DX11, but that the company is putting a full court press behind DirectX 12. The company responded sharply over a year ago, when an AMD executive claimed that future versions of the API were essentially dead, but it has been over four years since DX11 debuted. To date, Microsoft has only revealed a few details of the next-generation API. Like AMD's Mantle, it will focus on giving developers "close-to-metal" GPU resource access and reducing CPU overhead. Like Mantle, the goal of DirectX 12 is to give programmers more control over performance tuning, with an eye towards better multi-threading and multi-GPU scaling. Unlike Mantle, DirectX 12 will undoubtedly support a full range of GPUs from AMD, Intel, Nvidia and Qualcomm. Qualcomm's presence is interesting. With Windows RT all but moribund, Qualcomm's interest in that market may have seemed incidental. However, the fact that the company is involved with the DX12 standard could mean that the handset and tablet developer is serious about the Windows market in the long term."
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Microsoft Confirms DirectX 12 Is Alive and Well, Demo Coming At GDC

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    or devs Will not use it

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Please don't speak for Will, if he has anything to say about this I'd like him to chime in himself.
    • by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:32PM (#46423117) Homepage

      LOL! You must be new here....

      Every release of DirectX has been used as a tool to try to get people to upgrade their version of Windows. This will be no different.

      • by Billly Gates (198444) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @06:55PM (#46423947) Journal

        DirectX11 was back ported to Vista.

        The reason DirectX 10/11 was not backported to XP was not because of mean old bad microsoft but rather WinXP is such an obsolete archaic OS that is fundamentally different.

        The driver model of NT (pre Vista) does not include WDDM (Windows Device Display Manager) which includes composition and GPU based threading and schedule control etc. One of the strongest reasons to ditch Xorg in the Unix world is because of features like this that Wayland promises to integrate because it is fundamentally different.

        Also explains why XP is stuck at IE 8 due to no hardware acceleration ... in addition to no kernel level sandboxing either for security.

        Microsoft can't play the old 1990's game where we buy which ever version and hang out at CompUSA at 12am to get it anymore. MS found out the shocking way developers resistant to technology in IE 6 last decade. MBA's look at marketshare now so if I were a betting man my guess would be DirectX 12 will be ported. If not then it will be suicide as XBoxONE won't use it and developers want to target both for maximum profit generation which is why DirectX 9 stayed for so long too.

        Windows 9 will be very similar to Windows 7 as there is no reason for radical changes other than perhaps power management. It wont be that much of hassle as MS easily backported many IE 10/11 features to Windows 7 in just a month or two after the Windows 8 releases. Windows 7 at least has a WDDM unlike XP.

         

        • by yuhong (1378501)

          DirectX11 was back ported to Vista.

          Even that was done in a completely different way from the old DX redists, the last of which was released in 2004.

        • by wertigon (1204486)

          XBOne can't use DX12. Reason being, the hardware in XBOne is not DX12 compatible. I can't see how a GPU manufactured atleast 9 months earlier than DX12 release will ever be compatible with DX12.

          • by Dutch Gun (899105)

            XBOne can't use DX12. Reason being, the hardware in XBOne is not DX12 compatible. I can't see how a GPU manufactured atleast 9 months earlier than DX12 release will ever be compatible with DX12.

            Firstly, it's not necessarily the case that DX12 will require brand new hardware features. It will probably, in fact, simply require some minimal baseline set of hardware in order to be "compliant", and it's highly likely that relatively recent mid-to-high-end cards will support that minimal set. Don't forget that MS doesn't create these DirectX standards in isolation. They're naturally working very closely with the three major videocard manufacturers to ensure proper hardware and driver support, or the

      • by yuhong (1378501)

        MS abandoned the old DX redists after 9.0c released in Aug 2004.

      • by Alarash (746254)
        You can't deny that this helped and made Windows the platform of choice for PC video gaming. So by that standard, they did a great job. Now of course I would prefer that they opened the spec so people could make a Linux version, and maybe they will do that if they decide that Xbox makes more money than people buying Windows licenses to play games minus the development costs of DirectX. That's a different topic.
    • by Frobnicator (565869) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @06:04PM (#46423427) Journal

      Better be for Windows 7 or devs will not use it

      Perhaps you missed the announcements that have been coming from Redmond for nearly a decade. The core components, such as Direct3D and DirectInput, are considered part of the operating system [microsoft.com] .

      Starting with Vista the version of DirectX is incremented with the version of the Windows SDK, and no back porting will take place. [microsoft.com] (powerpoint)

      Since many people didn't catch it, they re-announced it with the platform update for WIndows 7: If you want DX11.1, you must get the service pack update [microsoft.com] .

      The have already said announcement at GDC will not deviate their course; DirectX 12 is being announced late March as part of a series of press releases right before the new Windows SDK for the 8.1 Update is released in April. All of the updates are part of the Windows SDK for 8.1 Update. [microsoft.com] , much like the Windows 7 Update where they released a new Windows SDK to accompany it..

      And a fifth time, just in case you missed it: Effective 2006, Microsoft has stopped distributing individual DirectX packages. It is now a core operating system component. They have not backported the drivers for nearly a decade, and they have repeatedly told people that the backports are gone. It will not be on Windows 7. [microsoft.com]

      Got it? Can it be made more clear?

      XP = DX9c. Vista = DX10. Vista SP1 = DX10.1. Vista SP2 = DX10.2. Win7 = DX11. WIn 7 SP1 = DX11.1. Win 8 = DX11.1. Win 8.1 = DX11.2. And now it looks like Win 8.1 SP1 = DX12. It really shouldn't be that difficult to grasp.

      • The core components, such as Direct3D and DirectInput, are considered part of the operating system [microsoft.com]

        Considering how they are tied to windows core components, I suppose there is a slim chance that Windows 7 SP2 could potentially include DX12 in it.

        Of course, there is also a slim chance the Easter Bunny will bring me solid gold eggs and Santa will fill my stocking with hundred dollar bills. I'd much prefer either of those.

        • The core components, such as Direct3D and DirectInput, are considered part of the operating system [microsoft.com]

          Considering how they are tied to windows core components, I suppose there is a slim chance that Windows 7 SP2 could potentially include DX12 in it.

          Of course, there is also a slim chance the Easter Bunny will bring me solid gold eggs and Santa will fill my stocking with hundred dollar bills. I'd much prefer either of those.

          There is no plan for Windows 7 SP2.
          Windows 9 would have to be delayed by over a year, with sales of 8.1 remaining flat before they even consider it.

      • by Baloroth (2370816) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @06:27PM (#46423657)

        XP = DX9c. Vista = DX10. Vista SP1 = DX10.1. Vista SP2 = DX10.2. Win7 = DX11. WIn 7 SP1 = DX11.1. Win 8 = DX11.1. Win 8.1 = DX11.2. And now it looks like Win 8.1 SP1 = DX12. It really shouldn't be that difficult to grasp.

        Perhaps it shouldn't, but considering that you got it wrong, as Microsoft added DX11 support to Vista [wikipedia.org], obviously it's slightly more difficult to grasp than you seem to think it is.

      • by edxwelch (600979)

        In theory Microsoft could release DirectX 12 as Windows 7 SP2, just the same way they did for DirectX 11.1.
        That might seem unlikely, but Mantle supports Windows 7, so if they want to prevent Mantle from getting popular they might have to consider it.

  • by exomondo (1725132) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @05:29PM (#46423087)
    If only for the fact that it will push OpenGL forward. Mantle looks promising (and should support non-AMD GPUs as well) but is still some time away from public release.
    • Since AMD was very clear that Mantle only works with their GPUs based on GCN architecture, it seems to imply that although the API might be portable to other GPUs, the amount of middleware necessary to bridge the gap between the API and other architectures may not be worth the trouble - at least too much trouble to bother porting it to their own older GPUs. It certainly won't be if DX12 delivers on most of those closer-to-the-metal promises.

      • by exomondo (1725132)

        Since AMD was very clear that Mantle only works with their GPUs based on GCN architecture

        No actually they were very clear it does not require GCN architecture, it works with GCN cards but does not require it. See the "Multi-Vendor" slide here [wccftech.com].

        Mantle is designed to be a thin hardware abstraction:
        -Not tied to AMD's GCN architecture

        • That article merely says that GCN is not mandatory.

          Just because you can beat the API into "working" on something else does not mean it will be as efficient. Mantle was designed around GCN so the API likely has tons of things that map almost exactly 1:1 with GCN hardware but not necessarily quite that neatly on anything else. That's where the extra middleware comes in.

          If you read the conclusion of your cited article, they say exactly what I said, albeit in different words: Mantle's roots are likely too close

          • by exomondo (1725132)
            Everything you say is just speculation and given they also explicitly say: "Mantle would be a much more efficient graphics API for other vendors as well" I don't think I would put much stock in your assessment. Moreover just because you have middleware doesn't suddenly make it inefficient.
            • Which is more efficient?
              1- a GPU architecture that can accept API calls almost straight-through
              2- a GPU that requires middleware to re-arrange code and data going through the API

              Can you honestly tell me AMD did not coordinate Mantle and GCN design efforts to provide close to the thinnest middleware layer possible between the API and GCN? Can you honestly tell me the middleware for other architectures won't be thicker to match API features GCN handles natively but other GPUs have no native direct equivalent

              • by exomondo (1725132)

                Which is more efficient?
                1- a GPU architecture that can accept API calls almost straight-through
                2- a GPU that requires middleware to re-arrange code and data going through the API

                Obviously the former, but Mantle, OpenGL, Direct3D, Glide, RRedline, Heidi are all the latter so what is your point? Even if Mantle is slightly more 1 than 2 on some hardware that doesn't mean that it's not going to be better than the incumbents.

                Can you honestly tell me AMD did not coordinate Mantle and GCN design efforts to provide close to the thinnest middleware layer possible between the API and GCN?

                Why would I? I'm sure they probably did, that still means nothing in comparison to other vendors and APIs.

                Can you honestly tell me the middleware for other architectures won't be thicker to match API features GCN handles natively but other GPUs have no native direct equivalent for?

                Why would I? It probably will, but that doesn't mean it's worse than OpenGL or Direct3D.

                Can you honestly tell me a thicker middleware is going to perform equally well?

                Again, why would I? I think it's obvious that the more functionality tha

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        Who do you think you are? Nvidia, where they went out of their way to break physx if you have a AMD card installed in your system.

  • ...requires Windows 8.1 or better and Bing on the desktop.

  • or... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JustNiz (692889)

    >>> However, the fact that the company is involved with the DX12 standard could mean that the handset and tablet developer is serious about the Windows market in the long term." ...Or it could mean that even though they already know Windows phone is almost certainly dead, being seen to be playing nice with Microsoft is worth the relatively small cost of 1 developer who is only actually working on this in any otherwise slack time.

    • I wouldn't describe the Windows Phone market as "dead". It's doubled in the last 12 months and it looks like Microsoft has given up on it being a premium iPhone competitor which opens it up to competing with the crappy android hardware that's flooded the market.

      With 1B smartphones sold each year even a 5-10% runner up represents a pretty substantial market for Qualcom.

  • >> it will focus on giving developers "close-to-metal" GPU resource access and reducing CPU overhead.

    Translation: ...its finally been gutted of a lot of heavy Microsoft crapware and is now just a thin wrapper over the GPU vendor's own driver.

    I wish the rest of Windows would go that way too.

    • >> it will focus on giving developers "close-to-metal" GPU resource access and reducing CPU overhead.

      Translation: ...its finally been gutted of a lot of heavy Microsoft crapware and is now just a thin wrapper over the GPU vendor's own driver.

      I wish the rest of Windows would go that way too.

      Much of the speed of Mantle over OpenGL and DirectX have to do with the CPU processing draws to the screen. If you have an older Phemon II but with a decent card (my own system) doing this in GPU benefits. DirectX 12 will look at cpu vs gpu functions and execute on either depending on which is faster.

      Basically it is a bottleneck as the GPU sits there waiting for the cpu in many games and if hardware in the GPU can do these things it takes the load off the CPU so the GPU can thread efficiently. In other word

      • DirectX has handles, Mantle probably has pointers ... that's where I think much of the speed will come from.

        • by mikael (484)

          Last time I checked, DirectX 11 had descriptors for all the different attributes of the pipeline, while OpenGL still had the state management functions that managed them indirectly. With both drivers, you are managing buffer blocks of data to read data from and writing to - these may be on the CPU or GPU side (textures, vertex buffer objects, transform feedback buffers, framebuffer objects, uniform buffer objects, shader storage objects). You just set what you need, and just call a draw function. Everything

        • by exomondo (1725132)

          DirectX has handles, Mantle probably has pointers ... that's where I think much of the speed will come from.

          "Handle" is a generic term for a reference to a resource - which often means pointer. Where would you get a massive speed increase from?

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      >> it will focus on giving developers "close-to-metal" GPU resource access and reducing CPU overhead.

      Translation: ...its finally been gutted of a lot of heavy Microsoft crapware and is now just a thin wrapper over the GPU vendor's own driver.

      I wish the rest of Windows would go that way too.

      Not at all, DirectX is actually surprisingly efficient, however modern GPU's nowadays are at the point where the bottleneck is now the CPU's ability to feed it. This has meant a rethink in the architecture with things like mantle to allow more offloading of the processing direct to the GPU, people don't seem to understand even mantle still requires DirectX or OpenGL on top of it, mantle is really more a replacement for a layer within these API's, not a complete API replacement.

  • by mc6809e (214243)

    These sorts of announcements have the effect of freezing developers and keeping them from moving to superior technology.

    They would have done nothing if not for AMD and now they're going to steal AMD's thunder.

    This sort of thing makes my blood boil.

    If you're a developer out there, please, don't let Microsoft get away with this.

    • Re:Jerks (Score:5, Informative)

      by jones_supa (887896) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @06:00PM (#46423379)
      Mantle seems to have woken up the OpenGL folk [phoronix.com] too.
      • by edxwelch (600979)

        The OpenGL presentation is given by Nvidia (not AMD as suggested by your link). This amounts to Nvidia's response to Mantle - they obviously will never implement Mantle, instead try to improve existing APIs

    • by DaHat (247651)

      These sorts of announcements have the effect of freezing developers and keeping them from moving to superior technology.

      Which developers are you talking about? I'd wager that the biggest money makers and users of these APIs (AAA game developers) already have good enough relationships with Microsoft, Sony, etc where under NDA they are able to offer feedback on existing and proposed API/platform directions and allow themselves to be in sync with where it is going.

      • by Dutch Gun (899105)

        These sorts of announcements have the effect of freezing developers and keeping them from moving to superior technology.

        Which developers are you talking about? I'd wager that the biggest money makers and users of these APIs (AAA game developers) already have good enough relationships with Microsoft, Sony, etc where under NDA they are able to offer feedback on existing and proposed API/platform directions and allow themselves to be in sync with where it is going.

        Correct. It always depended a bit on the company, but the engine teams graphics programmers generally talked both with MS as well as hardware vendors about upcoming technologies on a semi-regular basis. A number of years ago a programming team I was on visited MS to give some feedback on upcoming features (I think it was maybe for DX8? So yeah, a while ago). We'd also get the latest and greatest reference hardware to test with too, which was always fun. Now that I've gone indie I have to buy my own har

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      If you're a developer out there, please, don't let Microsoft get away with this.

      So what should I do instead? AMD hasn't even released Mantle so this doesn't have the effect of 'freezing developers' at all. I'm primarily an OpenGL developer rather than DirectX but I always like when a new version of DirectX ships as that has an impact on pushing OpenGL forward. But do you really think developers should freeze development and wait for AMD to give us Mantle? I don't, I'll judge it when it's released but I'm not making a call on it now (same goes for DX12).

    • AMD wouldn't have done anything if it weren't for Epic and Valve etc. AMD is responding to developer requests for more baremetal access. The developers who have been talking to AMD and NVidia are also talking to Microsoft and the OpenGL consortium and everybody in between.

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      If you're a developer out there, please, don't let Microsoft get away with this.

      Developer here. Get away with what? No one is going to put their game on hold waiting for a new version of DirectX. You're barely starting to see DirectX 11 required games finally emerge, now that XP and the 360 are rapidly diminishing platforms of importance, and you're worried about MS creating a new version of DX? It's been four years since DX11 was released, you know.

      Besides, with it's relatively new policy of tying new versions of DX to OS upgrades, you won't have to worry about games supporting DX

  • This is the way they force us to upgrade, which in turn forces peripheral manufacturers to write Windows 8.1 drivers, for which they get paid nothing. It really is a sick little cycle. I'm tired of watching it.
  • Nice (Score:4, Informative)

    by Dunge (922521) on Thursday March 06, 2014 @06:03PM (#46423405)
    Slashdot is filled with haters, but just to do the inverse I'm really happy about this. DirectX always been top-notch, high-tech and the easiest API to work with for developers along with the best performance from shaders (yeah I know OpenGL have more brute draw calls per sec). This will push graphic technology forward. I'm very eager to see it, and I'm happy that Microsoft is still going because ATI Mantle was limited to a single vendor and couldn't succeed for this only reason.
    • I get a little bored with the defence that people hate something implying that they are somehow emotionally against something. Directx was another single platform Microsoft APIs. Through dominance and laziness like internet explorer it has thrown away it's lead. Hate it... hardly notice it... Love the massive growth if cross platform gaming since Microsoft dropped the ball... high fives all around. Welcome to competition.

    • by asmkm22 (1902712)

      Except that DX 12 will more than likely require Win 8, so it will be a mostly underutilized option.

    • by aliquis (678370)

      Except AMD Mantle isn't limited to a single vendor? Supposedly? In the future? If someone want to implement it? =P

      Whereas DirectX kinda is :)

      Then again it's more popular and relevant as is.

    • How is DirectX not a single Vendor technology? sure you can run more than one companies hardware.

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      DirectX always been top-notch, high-tech and the easiest API to work with for developers

      Really? How about back when it was impossible to plot a simple pixel on a D3D window without using GDI?

  • Fucking idiotic (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Unbelievable. Another brand new graphics API to front the graphics hardware so that developers have to completely rewrite their software yet again.

    People need to get over their damn obsession with "new versions" and remember what the point of a programming API really is. It is to provide a stable and comprehensive interface for doing a task so that developers do not need to hit a moving target or relearn their entire skillset every six months. The reason OpenGL was so successful was that it did not try to c

    • by Dunge (922521)
      Your post prove that you got out of computer graphics long ago, because it's quite ignorant. The game changed a lot since you checked it, and no, it's not just polygons and shading anymore, or else games would look like total shit like that 2000's era.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Will be just a wrapper around openGL.

  • DX12. Microsoft is the sole definer. Implemented for only ONE Operating Environment, according to the defining body. May be implemented for two OSs at Microsofts leisure.

    May or may not be upward or downward compatible with itself or anything else.

    So PLEASE. STOP calling DX ANYTHING a standard. You may call it a library or an API.

    PHIGS is the standard. OpenGL has pretty much supplanted PHIGS but is still not a standard. OpenGL is also an API but with broader support.

    • by Dutch Gun (899105)

      DX12. Microsoft is the sole definer. Implemented for only ONE Operating Environment, according to the defining body. May be implemented for two OSs at Microsofts leisure.

      May or may not be upward or downward compatible with itself or anything else.

      So PLEASE. STOP calling DX ANYTHING a standard. You may call it a library or an API.

      PHIGS is the standard. OpenGL has pretty much supplanted PHIGS but is still not a standard. OpenGL is also an API but with broader support.

      Microsoft works with hardware vendors to release software that's compatible with the current capabilities of that hardware. Said hardware is also branded to be DX 'some-version' compliant. May or may not be upward or downward compatible? Nonsense, it will be compatible with a large set of the more recent hardware (or hardware ready to be reased), or the vendors would have told MS to go jump in Lake Washington. And so far, every version of DX has been forward compatible with all existing MS consumer oper

In these matters the only certainty is that there is nothing certain. -- Pliny the Elder

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