Earlier this month Microsoft teased DirectX 12. The company said they’d have info to share about the next version of DirectX at this week’s GDC gaming conference. The Microsoft press conference just took place this morning. The DirectX team announced and shared a ton of info about DirectX 12. Read on if you’re ready for gaming to get even more enjoyable on your console, PC and phone.
DirectX is a collection of various APIs that work to make multimedia content, like games, better. There are various components to those APIs like Direct3D for graphics.
Direct3D is the graphics API that Microsoft has worked on for 20 years as part of DirectX. Microsoft considers Direct3D to be one of the more critical pieces of a game engine. Which is why they’ve redesigned it to be faster and more efficient. They also stress that high-end PCs won’t be the only place you see these improvements. Everything from phones to tablets to laptops and to consoles will benefit from the work Microsoft has done with Direct3D 12.
Direct3D 12 will provide a lower level of hardware abstraction. This will allow multithread scaling and CPU utilization. The result of improving Direct3D is a reduced GPU overhead. You’re probably wondering if you need a new graphics card to take advantage of Direct3D 12. The answer is probably not. Microsoft has worked with hardware makers to ensure that DirectX 12 will run on most cards already in use. Bonus. Direct3D also promises 50% better CPU use and will make console games look and perform better on PC. Microsoft showed off Forza 5 running on PC hardware earlier today to demonstrate.
With DirectX 12, developers will have great and more direct control over visuals in games. Your Xbox One will benefit, as will your Windows Phone and Windows 8 tablet.
Microsoft shared a slide about the benefits of DirectX 12 on mobile that our friends at IGN nabbed. The three core areas we’ll see improvements for games in the mobile environment are:
- Improved power efficiency
- Improved performance for mobile
- Scalability and portability
Kind of vague and PR’y, but if you zoom in on the image you can read the bulletin points for a better idea of what Microsoft means. For performance, the new DirectX 12 runtime will be efficient on multicore CPUs. The lower graphics API overhead will help maximize the performance on Snapdragon chipsets. You know the ones in every single Windows Phone.
In terms of scalability and portability. Look forward to a unified runtime that will help developers have an easier time porting PC and console content to mobile.
The DirectX 12 team will share more info and specifics about the changes at Microsoft’s Build conference in two weeks. We’ll be there to bring you all the news. In the meantime, if you’re a game developer you can request early access to the DirectX 12 preview program.