ATI releases DirectX 10 SDK

Markham (ON) - Game developers and animation artists today received a new software development kit (SDK) based on Microsoft's upcoming DirectX 10 multimedia engine. The software will allow a first peak at new effects such as shadow volume extrusion and streaming out of animation data.

ATI said that the new SDK includes more than a dozen of new samples which demonstrate "what could be possible with DirectX 10" and provides tools to "start creating the kind of breakthrough content the industry saw at the advent of DirectX 9."

Besides taking advantage of some new technologies such as render-to-vertex buffer techniques, shadow volume extrusion and streaming out of animation data to achieve more realistic graphics and animations, it is ATI's unified shader architecture that may have a bigger impact on developers with the release of DirectX 10. First introduced in its graphics processor design for Microsoft's Xbox 360 game console, the company will leverage the technology to enable physics effects in its products.

Considered to be one of the major growth areas in gaming, ATI promises developers that the SDK "shows how [to] best tap into this technology to incorporate techniques such as water simulation, inverse kinematics and simple collision detection." The company did not say how efficient this approach will be if compared to a dedicated physics processor or a competing solution from Nvidia, but it is apparent that ATI is accelerating its development in moving towards physics effects.

"ATI's GPUs are incredibly powerful and have the ability to perform powerful tasks such as physics that give developers a greater range of realism and sophistication for their games," said Neal Robison, director of ISV relations at ATI. This confirms ATI's previously outlined strategy to circumvent a dedicated processor for physics processing and rely on dynamic load balancing to calculate a natural interaction of objects.

In a similar strategy, Nvidia recently announced to provide physics capability in dual-graphics SLI environments through a driver update. Ageia announced its physics processor in March of this year.

ATI provides its new SDK through its developer program.