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DirectX 10: The Future of PC Gaming

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topher 30th November 2006, 16:27 Quote
Got my 8800 gtx so Bring it on :)
Mother-Goose 30th November 2006, 16:29 Quote
Tim, im not sure I understood all the big words in there but, DX10 = good?
will. 30th November 2006, 16:30 Quote
My pc is well due an upgrade after christmas so I'm quite happy to get vista at the same time. I can see how that would be a total pain if you were unable or unwilling to upgrade to vista quite yet.
Tim S 30th November 2006, 16:35 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mother-Gooser
Tim, im not sure I understood all the big words in there but, DX10 = good?
In very simple terms, DirectX 10 is great for developers which means they're (hopefully) going to make better games, which in turn makes gamers happy. The choice to implement standardised hardware requirements is only going to mean great things - think about the consoles.

I've condensed a lot into a short amount of space, but you should have seen the amount of material I started with. ;)
Mother-Goose 30th November 2006, 16:38 Quote
YAY DX10=good!

I am in the same boat as will, so if march would kindly hurry up a bit, bring it on!
IccleD 30th November 2006, 16:49 Quote
Yet another finely written artical, and I even managed to understand some of it!

Just to be a Noob, but with DX10 being Vista only, does that mean we're going to have a position where we won't be able to play with certain games if we don't upgrade.

I mean I always chose a PC over a console because of the compatibilty issues. Until Sony brought out the PS2 and said "PS1 games will work" I was never interested.

My PC can be upgraded, if and when I choose, and as I'm not choosing to upgrade to Vista (for the moment), how long before I can't play the latest games?
Glider 30th November 2006, 16:50 Quote
And what about us Linux users? Yet another blow to the face...
Tim S 30th November 2006, 16:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by IccleD
Yet another finely written artical, and I even managed to uderstand some of it!

Just to be a Noob, but with DX10 being Vista only, does that mean we're going to have a position where we won't be able to play with certain games if we don't upgrade.

I mean I always chose a PC over a console because of the compatibilty issues. Until Sony brought out the PS2 and said "PS1 games will work" I was never interested.

My PC can be upgraded, if and when I choose, and as I'm not choosing to upgrade to Vista (for the moment), how long before I can't play the latest games?
I don't think so, because it wouldn't be in the best interests of developers to develop a game solely for DirectX 10 - the install base on DirectX 9 hardware is massive and will be for some time. The only way I can foresee games being developed solely for DirectX 10 is if Microsoft (or someone else) throws a lot of money at the developer concerned.

In the future, I see DirectX 8 support dropping off sharply once DirectX 10 starts to gain traction. AFAIK, Crysis will have a 'fallback' SM2 (DX9) codepath and an SM4 (DX10) codepath. I'm not sure whether there's an SM3 (DX9c) codepath at the moment though.
Ramble 30th November 2006, 17:29 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Glider
And what about us Linux users? Yet another blow to the face...

What do you expect Microsoft to do? Developers are welcome to code in OpenGL and release a Linux version but don't expect Microsoft to start helping you, as none of the open source community would start helping Microsoft.
Fophillips 30th November 2006, 17:45 Quote
What does DX10 have over OpenGL?
Mother-Goose 30th November 2006, 19:10 Quote
There is not an Open GL equivalent to DX10 for starters
Nikumba 30th November 2006, 19:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tim S
In very simple terms, DirectX 10 is great for developers which means they're (hopefully) going to make better games, which in turn makes gamers happy.

Tim,

I cant see how DX10 will make games better? I would be worried game developers would see how "pretty" they can make the game at the sacrifice of the gameplay.

Kimbie
Tim S 30th November 2006, 19:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nikumba
Tim,

I cant see how DX10 will make games better? I would be worried game developers would see how "pretty" they can make the game at the sacrifice of the gameplay.

Kimbie
Coding games in DirectX 10 is "easier" in essence, although I'll use that term lightly. It's easier to get right because the tools are better and there's virtually no need to worry about overheads either. However, it's still possible for a developer to 'get it wrong' if they don't exploit the API properly. Providing the developer stays smart and uses the tools/API properly, it should be easier to code games.

There is also no need for hardware-specific code paths like there is in DirectX 9 (because of the loose specifications and caps bits) - developers had to balance up a game's reach with the development costs. With DX10, there is one code path and that's because the specifications are very strict. It's more like the developers are developing for consoles (although not quite) because the graphics hardware has a consistent set of capabilities (performance scales with those capabilities). The specifications are set in stone and they're not open to manipulation - in order to be DirectX 10 compliant, you need to support all of the API's base specifications.

The great thing about that is that developers can spend more time (and money) on making better games, instead of spending that time (and money) working on multiple code paths for different hardware. I hope that this happens, because PC gaming will go down the pan if that doesn't happen in my opinion.
Tim S 30th November 2006, 19:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fophillips
What does DX10 have over OpenGL?
PC games development is dominated by D3D, but it's wise for developers to know how to use both. OpenGL will be supported under Windows Vista, but it's unclear whether the implementation will be as sound as it has been in the past. There are several options that can be taken - it's probably best not to bore you with the gruesome details though.

There are already tutorials out there with tips explaining how to make use of the Geometry Shader in GLSL (OpenGL's shader language), but I wonder whether it'll be possible to use the GS under Windows XP. I suspect that it's not possible, because I believe that the GS is only activated with WDDM - I may be wrong on that front though... It'll be interesting to see what happens in the long run though, especially with a fairly large community behind OpenGL.
Emon 30th November 2006, 19:49 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Fophillips
What does DX10 have over OpenGL?
To put it bluntly...everything.
keir 30th November 2006, 20:26 Quote
Cant wait :D
OtakuHawk 1st December 2006, 00:23 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by topher
Got my 8800 gtx so Bring it on :)
braggart.

I'm glad supreme commander will have a DX10 mode.

/AND a Dx9 mode. still on 7800GTX.
Grinch123456 1st December 2006, 02:19 Quote
If something gets developers excited, it can only be a great thing. Go DX10!
Tyinsar 1st December 2006, 03:48 Quote
I don't recall too many CPU limited games but if someone makes a DX10 card in AGP could I run decent games on my K6/3+ ? :D (/joke)

So if DX10 can run more than one 3D session at a time does this mean we could see both outputs on a video card used for one 3D game? That alone would make DX10 a killer upgrade. ;)

Edit: That's a LOT of info in the article (I feel a little like I'm back in school - but in a good - "hey look, I learning" - way).
Cheap Mod Wannabe 1st December 2006, 04:11 Quote
Hmm so will we have laptop video cards with 16megs of video memory? And then 1-2 Gigs of RAM, since it's cheaper?
Aankhen 1st December 2006, 05:05 Quote
DX10 has had me salivating for a long time now... and no doubt will continue for a while, until games start using it widely. ;) Great article. I wish you'd had more screenshots of a DX10 Crysis though. Oh well, downloading the "DX10 Flyby" video from IGN as we speak. :D

On a vaguely related note, could anyone explain to me the relationship between bump mapping, normal mapping and displacement mapping? My understanding is that in bump mapping, there is only the appearance of additional geometry in the texture, and it won't cast shadows or anything; normal mapping makes it so the additional geometry does cast shadows; so what is displacement mapping?

Also, since normal mapping seems to generate additional geometry, how come it's faster or more efficient than simply having that geometry in the model?
Javerh 1st December 2006, 06:51 Quote
Are there any changes with DX10 on the other fronts besides Direct3D?
Woodstock 1st December 2006, 07:55 Quote
Bring on the mid-range dx10 cards, the ones that let me keep my arms for playing the games
Tim S 1st December 2006, 08:32 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Javerh
Are there any changes with DX10 on the other fronts besides Direct3D?
There are some minor tweaks to DirectSound, but I don't know the specifics. There's nothing major though, as far as I know.
Tim S 1st December 2006, 10:04 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aankhen
On a vaguely related note, could anyone explain to me the relationship between bump mapping, normal mapping and displacement mapping? My understanding is that in bump mapping, there is only the appearance of additional geometry in the texture, and it won't cast shadows or anything; normal mapping makes it so the additional geometry does cast shadows; so what is displacement mapping?
Bump mapping adds detail to existing normals (i.e. the way the surface is facing) on a model, while normal mapping replaces that normal with an entirely new normal. Also, bump mapping uses a single channel image to calculate the bump maps, while normal mapping makes use of an RGB image derived from more detailed versions of the objects (this is not the same as a height map).

Parallax mapping is an extension of that and was used before displacement mapping took off. It displaces the texture co-ordinates to an extent where the change in co-ordinates on the texture occludes a portion of the same texture in accordance with a height map that determines the illusion of depth/height. A height map is essentially a greyscale image of the object and is used to store three-dimensional data to give a 3D scene depth.

F.E.A.R made use of parallax mapping on bullet holes in the walls and there are occasions where it can look incredibly poor because it's essentially faking what displacement mapping does. The silhouette of the object that has been parallax mapped isn't affected though.

Displacement mapping takes things a step further - it uses a texture or height map to adjust/displace the actual geometric position of points along the surface. It gives a realistic level of depth/detail on the surface with the addition of self-occlusion, self-shadowing and it adjusts the object's silhouette.
Quote:
Also, since normal mapping seems to generate additional geometry, how come it's faster or more efficient than simply having that geometry in the model?
Typically, more geometry slows things down because in the past, we've had fixed-function graphics pipelines and a scene can be completely vertex bound with idle pixel shader hardware. With DirectX 10 that changes because the shader can handle vertex, geometry and pixel operations, and it will be interesting to see how developers move forwards. I think that displacement mapping (and evolutions of it) will still be used in the future though, because my understanding is that it's a lot more efficient. :)
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