Microsoft to launch DirectX 12 with Windows 10

October 3, 2014 // 12:56 p.m.

Tags: #directx #directx-12 #dx #dx12 #windows-10 #windows-threshold

Microsoft has confirmed, in case there was any doubt, that its next-generation DirectX 12 application programming interface (API) bundle will ship with Windows 10 next year, but has yet to say whether it will be exclusive to the OS.

Announced at the Game Developers Conference back in March, DirectX 12 brings Microsoft's media-centric software development kit - originally launched in 1995 as the Windows Games SDK - bang up to date. Promised improvements include lower-level hardware abstraction for improved performance on multi-core processors, reduced GPU overheads, higher efficiency pipelines for selected common algorithms and more. At the time, however, Microsoft was silent on implementation details beyond promising DirectX 12 support across mobiles, tablets, desktops and laptops as well as an upgrade to the AMD APU-based Xbox One console.

Now, Microsoft's Bryan Langley has confirmed that DirectX 12 will be a key feature of Windows 10, the operating system previously known as Windows Threshold. 'As a part of the Windows team, we’re super excited about the Windows 10 Technical Preview that was just released. The final version of Windows 10 will ship with DirectX 12, and we think it's going to be awesome,' Langley explained in a blog post following the beta launch earlier this week. 'Game developers who are part of our DirectX 12 Early Access programme have even more incentive to join the Windows Insider program. These game developers will receive everything they need to kickstart their DX12 development, including: updated runtime, API headers, drivers, documentation, and samples, all of which will work with the Windows 10 Technical Preview.'

Langley clarifies in comments attached to the post that a public SDK release of DirectX 12 is planned, as with previous versions of DirectX, and that the Early Access programme to which he refers will give selected developers early access rather than exclusive access. Epic Games has already been named as a member, with the source code to a DirectX 12 port of Unreal Engine 4.4 having been released to subscribers this week.

Where Langley has been more secretive is in exactly to which platforms DirectX 12 will apply. That it will launch alongside and bundled with Windows 10 is confirmed, but so far Microsoft has been silent on whether it will be available to users of Windows 8.1 or older. Its last point release, DirectX 11.1, was a Windows 8 exclusive, leading to the question of whether DirectX 12 with its improved performance, features and power saving will be part of the carrot Microsoft intends to use to encourage users to upgrade from previous releases.

Those involved in the game development industry and interested in getting involved in the DirectX 12 Early Access programme can fill in a form to request access.
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