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New hardware vs gaming optimizations

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April 17, 2012 8:14:39 AM

I know this question it's a bit off-topic, but I think it would be interesting debating this thread here.

It's a good thing talking about new hardware, 1080p panels and so on, but in my opinion, nowadays PC gamers are living a extremely friendly era for gaming. With the correct configuration, a mid-low end pc can deliver very satisfying gaming experience (even better than PS3 or 360 consoles). All is about software optimization. If you can't achieve 60fps, but you can lock your fps to half the refresh rate of your monitor, the game experience is wonderful. Programs such as Dxtory or Msi Afeterburner allow you to lock yor fps to a certain number.
Do we really need a GTX 680 or 7970 this generation? Is tessetalion the big advance in graphics we have been waiting from DX11 titles? I'm afraid we are really stuck with DX9 graphics... not to mention DX10, an epic fail only released for commercial purposes...

What do you think guys?
a c 291 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
April 17, 2012 8:24:24 AM

DirectX 10 isn't a fail. Many titles use it to this day, afterall, it's a faster API than DX9.
April 17, 2012 8:32:30 AM

Sunius said:
DirectX 10 isn't a fail. Many titles use it to this day, afterall, it's a faster API than DX9.

DX10 should have been DX9.0d or DX9.1. It didn't bring anything really new to the table. You can't tell the difference between a DX9 game and DX10 one. I still remember crysis, with it's stunning graphics, that were capped on purpose to DX10. The same level of detail could be later achieved with DX9...
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a c 291 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
April 17, 2012 8:50:09 AM

Right. You've no idea how much it changed internally if you say that. It introduced shader model 4, geometry shaders, floating point audio, stream I/O, unified instruction set (which was increased as well), memory scheduling and virtualization. It also vastly improved the API, extended the library, changed the syntax. And most importantly, it was much more optimized than DX9. It was basically created from the ground, since only Direct3d was overhauled, and DirectInput, DirectSound, DirectMusic and DirectPlay were depreciated.
April 17, 2012 9:09:56 AM

Sunius said:
Right. You've no idea how much it changed internally if you say that. It introduced shader model 4, geometry shaders, floating point audio, stream I/O, unified instruction set (which was increased as well), memory scheduling and virtualization. It also vastly improved the API, extended the library, changed the syntax. And most importantly, it was much more optimized than DX9. It was basically created from the ground, since only Direct3d was overhauled, and DirectInput, DirectSound, DirectMusic and DirectPlay were depreciated.

You can change a thousand of things, but the fact is that DX10 provides almost the same game experience than DX9. Remember the change from DX7 to DX8 or DX8 to DX9??

I'm familiar with some of the technicall changes that DX10 introduced to the table, but it's not me, I think it is a general belief that DX10 was a huge dissapointment (at least with regard to gaming)... Well, at least it was a good Windows Vista seller (or that is what MS thought).
Anonymous
a b U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
April 17, 2012 9:18:14 AM

I think you would be suprized how many games you still could not run maxed out with a 7970 or a gtx 680 even at 1080 res.It really depends on what you look for if you think these are overkill.I could buy alot lesser card but i do not want console graphics on my PC.As far as direct x10 as a dissapointment are you serious?.I remember getting windows 7 and was in awe of games that supported direct x10.I had to go back to windows xp for a short time and couldnt stand direct x9 anymore.I think it was a huge leap forward especially as far as lighting goes.
a b U Graphics card
April 17, 2012 9:22:04 AM

Huge disappointment only due to the need for programmers to relearn DX which is what has been happening. DX7-9 there was little if no relearning of the API it was basically make a few changes here and there and use these new techniques (comparatively I know there was more to it). DX10 was a huge shift for them and that is why we haven't seen much from it. That and people expect them to pick up the new parts of the next gen DX in the next new game that comes out.

Honestly an excellent programmer can use DX9 to get as good of a game experience out of DX9 as a decent programmer with DX10/11 but an excellent DX11 programmer would be able to get you the best experience overall.
a c 365 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
April 17, 2012 9:27:23 AM

DX10 basically had a short shelf life and I don't think many current games supports it. Most games supports DX9 and DX11. No real need to design games that supports DX9, DX10 and DX11. Having graphic effects for all three can slow down development time. Therefore, DX9 and DX11. DX9 support is simple. The vast majority of Windows installations is still Windows XP. As of August 2011 (the last time I've checked) Windows XP still had a commanding 49.9% install base. Therefore, that's a lot of potentially lost gamers if DX9 support was suddenly dropped.

I actually still use Win XP on my gaming PC. I use Win 7 on my laptop. But that's okay, I only buy about 4 or 5 games at most per year and the only game that I bought which supported something more than DX9 was Crysis. Crysis 2 doesn't count 'cause DX11 support requires a patch after the release of Crysis 2. Two of the three games I plan on buying this year do not support DX11; Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim. Deux Es: HR will be the 2nd game I will buy that supports more just DX9.

As more people adopt Windows 7 and 8, and the eventual release of next generation game consoles come out, the slow march to DX11 domination will continue. I'm guessing that when the install base of Win XP drops to around 33% developers will really start to drop DX9 support. But I think most small / independent developers will still continue to use DX9.

DirectX 8 was released in 2000 and DirectX9 was released in 2002. The demise of DX8 did not occur until 2006 when Oblivion was the 1st game to drop DX8 support. After that support for DX8 fell of a cliff. That's actually no surprise because at that time Windows XP was the dominant operating system and most people had DX9 cards. Support for DX9 will linger around for a little longer because of the install base and current generation consoles. It will probably won't be until 2014 when support for DX9 will really being to wane.

I think DX11 will be around for a while. It will be the "new DX9" meaning DX11 will survive for several years. I'm not sure if it will be around for 12+ years like DX9 (based on 2014 prediction above), but I can see it surviving into 2017 and beyond. The next generation of consoles should help cement DX11's standing since they will support DX11. The Xbox 360 has been around since 2005 and the PS3 has been around since 2006. If the next generation of consoles can survive for 6 or 7 years and they are released at the end of this year or beginning of next year DX11 should be viable in to 2019 / 2020.
April 17, 2012 9:36:41 AM

Of course it all depends on what you consider a big change or not. I've been with computers for a while, since the 8088 era (MSX, SPECTRUM, PCW...), with green screens and so on, and to be honest, playing from 720p to 1080p makes a difference of course, but it's not a revollution at all.
My feeling is that we are seeing short steps as time goes on with regard to graphics nowadays. Maybe is due to the fact that programmers want to keep the most compatibility and level of detail with consoles, or maybe developing big changes is more and more difficult...
I guess that when new consoles are released, we'll se all those theoretical benefits from DX10/11
a c 291 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
April 17, 2012 11:27:56 AM

New directX doesn't improve graphics, it improves the API. Due to improved API, the companies are able to implement better graphics, because:
1. New directx is faster and with old directx no computer would have been able to run it.
2. Hardware evolves.

Most of today's graphical restrains are due to hardware capabilities and API speed, not because they are unable to draw nice pictures using computer (look at what kind of computer graphics they achieve when they render each frame for 20 hours).
April 17, 2012 12:04:48 PM

I agree, but five years is a century (or it was) in the hardware and software world. What has happened? From 1996 to 2001 huge improvments, from 2002 to 2007, the same. But from 2007 to 2012??? Where is the improvement? With a 8800gt you can get even today a very good game experience...
a b U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
April 17, 2012 12:25:31 PM

jaguarskx said:
DX10 basically had a short shelf life and I don't think many current games supports it. Most games supports DX9 and DX11. No real need to design games that supports DX9, DX10 and DX11. Having graphic effects for all three can slow down development time. Therefore, DX9 and DX11. DX9 support is simple. The vast majority of Windows installations is still Windows XP. As of August 2011 (the last time I've checked) Windows XP still had a commanding 49.9% install base. Therefore, that's a lot of potentially lost gamers if DX9 support was suddenly dropped.

I actually still use Win XP on my gaming PC. I use Win 7 on my laptop. But that's okay, I only buy about 4 or 5 games at most per year and the only game that I bought which supported something more than DX9 was Crysis. Crysis 2 doesn't count 'cause DX11 support requires a patch after the release of Crysis 2. Two of the three games I plan on buying this year do not support DX11; Mass Effect 3 and Skyrim. Deux Es: HR will be the 2nd game I will buy that supports more just DX9.

As more people adopt Windows 7 and 8, and the eventual release of next generation game consoles come out, the slow march to DX11 domination will continue. I'm guessing that when the install base of Win XP drops to around 33% developers will really start to drop DX9 support. But I think most small / independent developers will still continue to use DX9.

DirectX 8 was released in 2000 and DirectX9 was released in 2002. The demise of DX8 did not occur until 2006 when Oblivion was the 1st game to drop DX8 support. After that support for DX8 fell of a cliff. That's actually no surprise because at that time Windows XP was the dominant operating system and most people had DX9 cards. Support for DX9 will linger around for a little longer because of the install base and current generation consoles. It will probably won't be until 2014 when support for DX9 will really being to wane.

I think DX11 will be around for a while. It will be the "new DX9" meaning DX11 will survive for several years. I'm not sure if it will be around for 12+ years like DX9 (based on 2014 prediction above), but I can see it surviving into 2017 and beyond. The next generation of consoles should help cement DX11's standing since they will support DX11. The Xbox 360 has been around since 2005 and the PS3 has been around since 2006. If the next generation of consoles can survive for 6 or 7 years and they are released at the end of this year or beginning of next year DX11 should be viable in to 2019 / 2020.

+1
April 17, 2012 2:01:42 PM

People we always talk about Direct3d, but what about Opengl? It doesn't follow the same schedule than DX, and games looks similar right? I always thought that Opengl was faster and a more powerful tool than DirectX. The best examples are Doom 3 and now Rage, with stunning graphics and better performance (Rage after drivers patchs) for GPUs of its time. Even in windows XP you can develop software with the last opengl version is that so?
a c 291 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
April 17, 2012 2:21:59 PM

OpenGL is open source library, which is hardly maintained.
a c 147 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
April 17, 2012 2:52:50 PM

lol when talking about directx most people only think about 'eye-candy' enhancement rather than improvement that being made to the API as a whole.
a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 12:44:18 AM

Sunius said:
OpenGL is open source library, which is hardly maintained.


Could have fooled me. Going from 3.0 in July 2008 to 4.2 just last year in August. 7 Revisions in 3 years I would say that it is being maintained quite well recently. There has currently been no need for any revisions lately but they have been quite active as of late.

Although I am not sure why you call it open source. Its a free to use standard specification. OpenGL in and of it self is not an API or source code. It is a specification used by hardware and software (OS) vendors to make a library of code that allows software developers to make programs that will work in a similar manner across multitudes of hardware and OS's with minimal change. (only needing to change the way your code interacts with the OS and initialization of that OS's implementation of OpenGL in most cases.)
a c 291 U Graphics card
a b 4 Gaming
April 19, 2012 4:24:47 AM

^
OpenGL = Open Graphics Library.

Anyway, It's not as sophisticated as DX is, and the current gaming cards are way more optimized for directx. That's the reason why barely anyone uses OpenGL, because it runs slower.
a b U Graphics card
April 19, 2012 5:00:15 AM

Sunius said:
^
OpenGL = Open Graphics Library.

Anyway, It's not as sophisticated as DX is, and the current gaming cards are way more optimized for directx. That's the reason why barely anyone uses OpenGL, because it runs slower.



I want to write something long, but.... Just read www.khronos.org and www.opengl.org

You probably live around OpenGL devices and don't know it, I don't think you understand how prevalent OpenGL is today. It may not be huge in the Windows world, but then again the Windows world is not as big as the rest of the world. PS3, Phones, TV's, etc. There are a lot of OpenGL programmers and a lot more are needed.
April 19, 2012 9:47:02 PM

I remember OpenGl was very popular in the mid of the 90s, with the onset of 3Dfx Voodoo and so on (quakeGL), and then it started to be supported to render previews in programs such 3D stuio. I'm not sure but I think there was some kind of polemic with DX6.0 cause MS kinda copied OpengGL for some of their instructions... and yes, I'm that old... :p 
a b U Graphics card
April 20, 2012 2:30:15 AM

VGAmike said:
I remember OpenGl was very popular in the mid of the 90s, with the onset of 3Dfx Voodoo and so on (quakeGL), and then it started to be supported to render previews in programs such 3D stuio. I'm not sure but I think there was some kind of polemic with DX6.0 cause MS kinda copied OpengGL for some of their instructions... and yes, I'm that old... :p 


I remember DX5.0 and when you had to pick a graphics, Music, and Sound Effects Renderer separately before running a program. I also remember 9600baud modems, connected to a BBS via programs like Commit, and DOS 3.0. 12Mhz anyone? Memory measured in KB :) .

EDIT: To be on topic I think the best thing to come out of these new API's is going to be more computing resources for AI or Physics. Honestly I think the next biggest thing for games should be immersion by making the world feel more "real" not necessarily realistic as in real life, but more like the world is a place in and of its own with its own rules.
April 23, 2012 3:18:28 PM

caqde said:
I remember DX5.0 and when you had to pick a graphics, Music, and Sound Effects Renderer separately before running a program. I also remember 9600baud modems, connected to a BBS via programs like Commit, and DOS 3.0. 12Mhz anyone? Memory measured in KB :) .

EDIT: To be on topic I think the best thing to come out of these new API's is going to be more computing resources for AI or Physics. Honestly I think the next biggest thing for games should be immersion by making the world feel more "real" not necessarily realistic as in real life, but more like the world is a place in and of its own with its own rules.

Yes, and I remember my old IBM/PC 8088 with 512KB of RAM with an Hercules graphics card (we used an emulator to play CGA games)... no hard disk, nor even color monitor.
About realistic games... do you remember the anticipated virtual reality in the early 90s? What happened with that?? Nowadays current hardware could provide TRUE virtual reality... In those days there were really BIG changes and improvements in video games. 2D to 3D graphics for instance... Nowadays is more resolution, better textures, better ligthing, but there is no real WOW!! Are we really stuck with current technology??
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