At GDC 2022, AMD and Luminous Production will present the upcoming PC game Forspoken that uses a host of AMD-developed FidelityFX technologies to improve image quality, as well as Microsoft's newest DirectStorage API that should offer a massive performance boost to load times. Forspoken is the first game to adopt DirectStorage technologies to reduce CPU load by passing data directly from an NVMe SSD to the GPU.
Microsoft's DirectStorage API was developed to lower CPU utilization when dealing with games-related NVMe requests and save expensive CPU cycles for other assignments. Instead of dealing with costly individual NVMe requests for every asset a GPU needs, the API submits large, compressed batches of I/O requests in parallel that are decompressed by a DirectX 12-compliant GPU, with little intervention from the OS as well as low CPU utilization. In addition to lowering per-request NVMe overhead, an application gets finer grain control over when it's notified of I/O request completion, instead of reacting to every I/O request.
By using DirectStorage instead of traditional methods of sending assets like textures first to the CPU and then to the GPU, game developers can reduce load times, improve the quality of visuals, and use spare CPU cycles for things like more advanced physics or sophisticated game AI. If you've ever wondered why a PC with a dozen or more CPU threads and a fast SSD still takes seemingly forever to load, DirectStorage aims to fix that problem.
DirectStorage requires an SSD with specific capabilities, a GPU with appropriate features, and Windows 10 or 11. Microsoft's Xbox Series X|S consoles already support DirectStorage, so as games that take advantage of the technology are ported to the PC, usage of the new API will increase. Meanwhile, keep in mind that PCs tend to use a wide range of different components, so adding DirectStorage to Windows games takes more time for design and testing. The most intriguing part about Forspoken is that it's not coming to Xbox (at least for now) and is bound for Windows-based PCs as well as Sony's PlayStation 5.
In addition to DirectStorage, Forspoken by Luminous Productions also supports a host of other innovative technologies, including those that belong to AMD's FidelityFX package. Specifically, it uses FidelityFX screen-space ambient occlusion, screen-space reflections, raytraced shadows, and Super Resolution.
Forspoken is set to be available on PC and PlayStation 5 on May 24, 2022.