Just over a week after AMD's worldwide developer relations manager of its GPU division, Richard Huddy, spoke out against DirectX and other APIs, the company now says that it supports DirectX and that the previous comments were taken out of context and exaggerated. While that may be true, Huddy's latest interview with CRN-- along with senior director of ISV relations at AMD Neal Robison--also comes across as damage control.
"The [Bit-tech] interview started off being about OpenGL, and the way APIs are developed," Huddy said. "Obviously there’s pressure from Microsoft on hardware vendors to develop DirectX in a variety of ways. We spend a great deal of time getting feedback from game developers in the early phase of our hardware development, for products that are two or three years away from going to market."
The previous interview claimed that developers want the API to "go away," that it's getting in the way of creating some truly amazing graphics. Huddy himself was even quoted saying that developers have admitted this in conversations. But in this latest interview, he said that only a handful of high-end gaming developers were looking to bypass DirectX and code directly to hardware.
"It’s not something most developers want," he said. "If you held a vote among developers, they would go for DirectX or OpenGL, because it's a great platform. It’s hard to crash a machine with Direct X, as there’s lots of protection to make sure the game isn’t taking down the machine, which is certainly rare especially compared to ten or fifteen years ago. Stability is the reason why you wouldn’t want to move away from Direct X, and differentiation is why you might want to."
"We saw some of the chaos before DirectX coalesced the industry,” Robison added. "In the past there were all kinds of APIs developers had to worry about."
Later on in the interview, Huddy revealed that there's a division starting to take place in the gaming industry: those that want to stick with DirectX and other APIs, and those that want to move on in another direction. He even provided an example, saying that developers like DICE have highly-tuned, efficient rendering machines that rely on DirectX. Then there are developers like Crytek who literally sell hardware because they seemingly develop for technologies in the future, and could actually bypass an API.
"Many people are still shipping DirectX 9 games, which is still a perfectly reasonable way to go," Huddy admitted. "As hardware vendors we want to keep bringing out new hardware that produces something visually exciting. We want to be able to innovate. In the feedback we’re getting, some say 'move on from Direct X' and some say 'DX is absolutely the right place to play.'"
He also said that the comment about developers wanting the API to "go away" shouldn't be taken literally. Instead, APIs and middleware need to be innovative and adapt with evolving software code as well as GPU hardware, essentially taking "a different form."
Unlike the first interview, Huddy's follow-up to the Bit-Tech interview is rather lengthy. To get the full four-page dose, head here.