Carmack: Direct3D Now Better Than 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.

  • mikem_90
    OpenGL has been improving, I just hope with the body that is working on it now, they can come to parity with DirectX.
  • wishmaster12
    i gave up on openGL after i hyped about quake 2, when i bought it, it gave me mass headaches.
  • K2N hater
    DirectX binds gamers to Windows, being the only reason I run Windows at home.
  • 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
  • enzo matrix
    mayankleoboy1wine is the directx killer.That's contradictory.
  • 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
  • enforcer22
    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.
  • -Fran-
    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.

  • RIP Glide... Not an expert on the subject but for the games I experienced using it, it was the best, least buggiest & smoothest API.
  • belardo
    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.