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Hardware Farewell to DirectX?

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by arcticstoat, 16 Mar 2011.

  1. ajfsound

    ajfsound Minimodder

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    Very interesting - I had no idea that consoles could still render more geometry than pc (seems unbelievable). I have to agree with AstralWanderer though - I suspect the uptake of developing around popular game engines has a big part to play in games 'looking the same'.

    Also as above I will reserve full judgement until it's clear which games today are being coded direct to metal.

    Maybe this explains why GTAIV struggled to run as well as it shold've on PC?
     
  2. wyx087

    wyx087 Homeworld 3 is happening!!

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    the problem is that CPU have a common instruction set: x86. even if software programmers use assembly language to write highly optimised code, they are still issuing x86 Opcode to be decoded by the CPU decoder.

    different GPU architectures, even Fermi to G80 from the same company will have a vastly different instruction sets, this is the same argument RISC to CISC. it will never happen in this world of everyone wanting backwards compatibility and half-year hardware cycles.

    this is like asking developers to develop for the alternative universe ARM where they release a new ARM instruction set every 6 months. no developer will be able to keep up!.



    API exist for a reason, they do have overhead, but it makes sure there is a common programming standard across all level of hardware. even if DirectX is removed, there is still graphic drivers, if we remove that, we remove those graphics company's source of income from blind/clueless enthusiastic: multi-GPU.

    i see this as a way of trying to make game developers do the hardwork for them, so that they no longer need to provide so frequent driver updates to optimise for games.



    TL;DR: too many different architectures, lack of backwards compatibility. basically AMD asking developer to do their own low level optimisation.
     
  3. Da_Rude_Baboon

    Da_Rude_Baboon What the?

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    Would this not ultimately shift the 'API' from directx to the game engine makes? I.E. Cryengine, Unreal or ID engine effectively becomes the API as the engine authors work to get the most out of hardware leaving the devs free to work on the rest?
     
  4. Siwini

    Siwini What is 4+no.5?

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    So wait Xbox 360 got better game graphics in games than my GTX 570???
     
  5. sb1991

    sb1991 What's a Dremel?

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    It's not really in Microsoft's interest for PC games to be 10 times better than Xbox games though, is it? People will buy their OS even if the games are terrible, and they can make a lot more cash from people paying £40 for the latest Halo than from someone picking up a PC game in the Steam sales that used their software tools at some point. It's a shame, but I wouldn't be surprised if Microsoft were deliberately crippling their API on the PC (yes, it's still better than the alternative, but that says more about OpenGL than it does about DirectX) in order to keep the gap between console games and PC games somewhat manageable.
     
  6. BentAnat

    BentAnat Software Dev

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    The big issue with this that I see is really the compatibility list... "runs only on AMD GPUS".
    Suddenly "the way it's meant to be played" would turn into "the only way to play it".
     
  7. DbD

    DbD Minimodder

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    Silly idea by AMD marketing bloke who obviously doesn't have much idea about programming.

    Here we are and we have trouble getting game devs to add anything to their PC port of the next console hit because they can't be bothered and he's saying they should go back to programming in machine code.... if they don't have the time/inclination to even do the simple stuff that DX quickly allows why on earth do you think they'd take 100 times as long to start low level hacking with all the additional problems and incompatibilities that not using a well defined api brings?

    The guy really is on a different planet.
     
  8. Ayrto

    Ayrto What's a Dremel?

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    Yes, very interesting article indeed, the only problem is, the majority of Game devs don't even fully utilise the latest available DX feature set now. In theory, it could be incredible. However, surely the cost could just be used as a excuse to drop PC support altogether for many Studios who use in -house toolsets?

    What is Nvidia's position on this wasted HW potential, is Mr Huddy and AMD even in favour of it, or is he just throwing out his personal thoughts? Many would love to see HW optimised games that set devs free to use all that power. But Nvidia and Ati in agreement could make this happen?
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2011
  9. law99

    law99 Custom User Title

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    If this happened, I think it's likely you'd see a DirectX version shipped in the same box. What they are talking about will only become probable when the current trend of unified architectures progresses even further. They still weren't talking about this as a genuine to the metal process and it's likely only to support the top end cards I'd imagine, or at least the most popular of each brand.

    I'm surprised how much the consoles have over PC games though still so far on. They always had the advantage of standardised hardware; it was always was more exciting to see what they could do with the PS3 than xbox because of this. We knew xbox had more flexible memory architecture, but we also knew that the performance hit of their particular uma would hold it back. PS3 really went the whole hog. It was just a shame they didn't get a unified gfx architecture from nvidia. And, because of the xbox's popularity, it was always held back by xbox ports the same way the PC is. The 360s UMA was and still is a pain in the ass for the PS3; they should have doubled the memory.
     
  10. Ayrto

    Ayrto What's a Dremel?

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    It raises some other points, basically it can be asserted from this, that MS is both the driver of graphical innovation with each new DX version, but also the biggest, stifler or roadblock to real profound change, at least while ever their DX plays gatekeeper . This all stems from the monopolistic position they're in I'd guess. Many would love it if there was genuinely equal alternative choice to windows, a trimmed down gamer's OS, even a leaner gamers version of windows would be better. Where this sort of thing was possible and could be developed for, safe in the knowledge that there is a huge, non MS DX install base, waiting to use it (unlike Linux).

    This article kinda makes you wonder if CGI game trailer levels (think batman Arkham city) wouldn't be possible in real time on the latest greatest HW - if the layer was removed and 'to the metal' game development proceeded.
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2011
  11. isaac12345

    isaac12345 What's a Dremel?

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    From 10000 to 2000!!! 0_0
    That is a huge difference!
     
  12. Siwini

    Siwini What is 4+no.5?

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    Yah anyone can say that again. We all know bigger number means bigger performance.
     
  13. leveller

    leveller Yeti Sports 2 - 2011 Champion!

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    I've always been of the opinion that DirectX shouldn't be supported. This article just helps weld that view into my mind. All indie developers should be using OpenGL or whatever formats to ensure their products go on as many formats as possible and see a wider audience. As for the direct to metal idea ... would love to see some hardcore tech demo coding for that and what can be achieved on Nvidias 590 without being filtered through any of MS's filters ... make it so Nvidia!

    Great article.

    EDIT: balls ... for some reason I thought it was an Nvidia rep doing the article ... NEVERMIND. Let's see some direct to metal coding on whichever hardware!

    ADDED: AMD (doh!) should be working hand in hand with Valve, seeing as Valve is the only large dev that comes to mind that isn't banging out 4 retarded console games every year and still strives for pioneering ideas in the games industry.
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2011
  14. urobulos

    urobulos Minimodder

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    I am confused. Programming directly to hardware has long been an advantage of consoles. It was the case with both the PS1 and PS2 that PC games would only overtake them in terms of graphics fidelity at least 2-3 years after the release of the console despite high end GPU's having more horsepower long before that (well, not strictly true for the PS 1 I think since it came out before the first Voodoo). But when I compare Bad Company 2 on my PC (i7 920 + 4890) with the PS 3 version (I've got both hooked up to the same HDTV) then the console version is nowhere close in terms of how it looks. Taking one stat (draw calls, which btw would be nice for you to explain in pracitcal terms) and using it out of context is confusing at best.

    Regardless, this will not happen. Direct X might die one day, but it will be replaced by another API. The potential for hardware problems and increase in work hours will be enough to discourage any developer, regardless of how much power potentialy is hidden away in our GPUs.
     
  15. Ayrto

    Ayrto What's a Dremel?

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    @urobulos

    But surely what would happen would be consolidation in the toolset provider field , they'd do most of the heavy lifting in terms of compatibility issues, updates and innovating to the latest tech. With better engines, more intuitive toolsets and functionality, it may actually become easier for the devs to concentrate on just being creative, as fps performance concerns and API bottlenecking is removed, along with other 'to the metal ' gains.
     
    Last edited: 16 Mar 2011
  16. Phil Rhodes

    Phil Rhodes Hypernobber

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    I hate to be the voice of doom once more, but this article contains more bovine excrement than a particularly successful manure farm. Please, for instance, reconcile "getting the API out of the way" with "virtualizing GPU access."

    Possibly there is a grain of sense under it all somewhere, but I can't shift the impression that this was created by two people (a PR guy and a journo), neither of whom really have a low-level understanding about how any of this works.
     
  17. CharlO

    CharlO What's a Dremel?

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    If Crysis didn't use Directx10 no one would have bought Windows Vista :p

    Anyway, I believe that there is a need for a mid level layer, reduced and to interpret a special code.
     
  18. NiHiLiST

    NiHiLiST New-born car whore

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    I wonder if anyone's considered a compiled solution. Rather than "direct to metal" programming working with the individual instruction sets of a vast array of chips, you could write your graphics code in a high-level language similar to how they currently work with DirectX or OpenGL. This would then be compiled for any graphics card required by a compiler included with the graphic card's drivers, effectively replacing the API-layer with a one-time compile stage.

    Thoughts?
     
  19. Landy_Ed

    Landy_Ed Combat Novice

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    :duh:
     
    Last edited: 26 Apr 2011
  20. Deders

    Deders Modder

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    Isn't that how they develop multi platform games? write it on pc's (with console development kits) and then compile it to the other codebases? Doesn't that involve a lot of overhead and unoptimised code?
     
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