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Carmack: Direct3D Now Better Than OpenGL

By - Source: Bit Gamer | B 29 comments

John Carmack admits that DirectX has become the better API, but he's still sticking with OpenGL.

id Software mad scientist and first-person shooter "granddaddy" John Carmack said that DirectX has matured to the point where it's now a better API than OpenGL. It handles multi-threading better and newer versions manage state better. But he doesn't have plans in moving to DirectX any time soon, blaming inertia for the studio's continued use of OpenGL.

"OpenGL still works fine," Carmack told Bit-Tech, "and we wouldn’t get any huge benefits by making the switch, so I can’t work up much enthusiasm for cleaning it out of our codebase. If it was just a matter of the game code, we could quite quickly produce a DirectX PC executable, but all of our tool code has to share resources with the game renderer, and I wouldn’t care to go over all of that for a dubious win."

Very few titles still rely on OpenGL to render GPU-dependant visuals, seemingly fallen out of favor with top-end PC developers. Microsoft has essentially taken the throne as the leading 3D PC gaming graphics innovator, a 180-degree turnaround when compared to the early days of DirectX lagging behind and playing catch-up with OpenGL's innovations.

The current success of DirectX is largely due to Microsoft's courage to continue making significant incompatible changes to improve the API. OpenGL has been held back by compatibility concerns, Carmack said.

AMD's GPU worldwide developer relations manager, Richard Huddy, agrees. He added that the actual innovation in graphics has been driven by Microsoft in the last ten or so years. "OpenGL has largely been tracking that, rather than coming up with new methods," he said. "The geometry shader, for example, which came in with Vista and DirectX 10, is wholly Microsoft's invention in the first place."

Given Carmack's dedication to OpenGL, it's safe to assume the API will be used in RAGE, DOOM 4 and other 3rd-party games which will use the id Tech 5 engine. If anything, OpenGL has seen a resurgence on mobile devices via OpenGL ES. The latest version (2.0) supports vertex and fragment shaders, and doesn't use transformation, lighting, texturing, and fog calculations, breaking backwards-compatibility to versions 1.0 and 1.1.

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  • 4 Hide
    mikem_90 , March 11, 2011 11:10 PM
    OpenGL has been improving, I just hope with the body that is working on it now, they can come to parity with DirectX.
  • -5 Hide
    wishmaster12 , March 11, 2011 11:21 PM
    i gave up on openGL after i hyped about quake 2, when i bought it, it gave me mass headaches.
  • 5 Hide
    K2N hater , March 11, 2011 11:41 PM
    DirectX binds gamers to Windows, being the only reason I run Windows at home.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 12, 2011 12:04 AM
    Just because one person says something is better than something else doesn't make it true. Example: Mac OSX is the best platform to develop by - Me
  • 7 Hide
    enzo matrix , March 12, 2011 1:03 AM
    mayankleoboy1wine is the directx killer.

    That's contradictory.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 12, 2011 1:20 AM
    funny how thats works huh, one had lots of money poured into it the other not so, i wonder whats going to happen with openCL vs directcompute/CUDA
  • 3 Hide
    enforcer22 , March 12, 2011 1:40 AM
    mayankleoboy1wine is the directx killer.

    The DX "emulator" is the DX killer... your drugs must be epic.

    But this news is about o i dunno 8 years or so to late.
  • 1 Hide
    Yuka , March 12, 2011 3:08 AM
    Like I've always said: OpenGL has more than one obstacle to improve itself from version to version. Being that the case, it's almost impossible to compete against DirectX and it's closed and "we don't care about backwards compatability" attitude.

    I wonder though, what will happen in the long run... I'd rather have OpenGL games anyday, anytime over OpenGL, but it's so damn hard to make things over OpenGL (at least, in my little experience), unlike with DirectX.

  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , March 12, 2011 5:15 AM
    RIP Glide... Not an expert on the subject but for the games I experienced using it, it was the best, least buggiest & smoothest API.
  • 3 Hide
    belardo , March 12, 2011 8:37 AM
    That was because GLIDE was locked in to the hardware GPU 3DFX... and back in those days, DirectX and OpenGL were CRAP. The games used those other two, but it was GLIDE that made visuals actually POP.

    By the time the TNT2 hit the market, Glide was sinking - being slower, more expensive, lack of 24/32bit color and of course throwing away their partners pretty much ended 3Dfx.
  • 0 Hide
    hardcore_gamer , March 12, 2011 9:37 AM
    K2N haterDirectX binds gamers to Windows, being the only reason I run Windows at home.

    Me too.and Microsoft is still pissing PC gamers away.
  • 0 Hide
    Usersname , March 12, 2011 1:01 PM
    Ironic that THW gamers are so critical of iOS and MacOS being closed when MS does its utmost to ensure DirectX remains Windows only.

    Those poor gamers end up locked into a platform they cannot escape from. Once held captive they are further brain washed into believing they made a choice.
  • 0 Hide
    eklipz330 , March 12, 2011 2:06 PM
    hardcore_gamerMe too.and Microsoft is still pissing PC gamers away.

    i coudl care less. we have a few companies that actually give a shit. i don't want a clunky ass GFWL anyway, i'm fine with sticking to one: STEAM
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 12, 2011 4:08 PM

    tell you what you name me another gaming platform that's not a console....... oh wait there isn't one, if your a serious gamer then you dont have a choice, you have to use a windows machine, but funny thing with that is you get to do what ever you like with YOUR hardware, like dual boot a linux os along side, but i guess you have that choice with apple products too.......
  • 1 Hide
    campb292 , March 12, 2011 8:06 PM
    And the has been steps up with his feelings on currect API's. In other news, some guy who once assembled 8-track cartridges said blu-ray is better than DVD but could still be improved upon.
  • 1 Hide
    MarioJP , March 12, 2011 10:56 PM
    "campb292: And the has been steps up with his feelings on currect API's. In other news, some guy who once assembled 8-track cartridges said blu-ray is better than DVD but could still be improved upon."

    hahah Nice that made my day : )
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 13, 2011 12:39 AM
    I'm on the side of Science. If it ain't open source, it ain't science; if it ain't science then it's a dead end of enquiry and should be scrapped as soon as possible. But I take the holistic and long term approach to computer science, where as Microsoft and Apple take the 'abuse the customer' approach while eviscerating scientific research by hiring all the smart graduates.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , March 13, 2011 12:50 AM
    A word to you Carmack: Don't believe M$ FUD!!! OpenGL is open source, while DirectX is a proprietary API. Well, whatever. At least DirectX doesn't match up to Clutter...
  • -3 Hide
    reggieray , March 13, 2011 12:37 PM
    Traitor, went over to the dark side John, did MS pay you to say that?
  • -2 Hide
    BulkZerker , March 13, 2011 6:08 PM
    Haha carmak has been a stonch beleiver of open gl for years and now he finally admitws that direct x is better.... 4 gen after the fact.
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