Thursday, July 4th 2013

DirectX 11.2 Exclusive to Windows 8.1 and Xbox One

Our recent editorial on adoption of Windows 8.1 by PC enthusiasts concluded saying "...and Microsoft isn't stopping with its innovations that will get increasingly out of reach for Windows 7 users." It looks like the first of such innovations is DirectX 11.2. Microsoft revealed that the latest version of its multimedia API will require Windows 8.1 on the PC, and comes built into its next-generation Xbox One console. With this, Microsoft established that you will need Windows 8.1 or later, to access future versions of DirectX.

Microsoft has often used the tactic of limiting DirectX versions to certain versions of Windows, often citing driver-model changes, to force PC enthusiasts to either upgrade, or lag behind in PC technology, and in the past it worked. Windows XP capped out at DirectX 9.0c, forcing gamers to upgrade to Windows Vista, to experience cutting-edge games of the time, such as "Crysis," with new visual effects that DirectX 10 brought to the scene. DirectX 11.0 had the unique distinction of spanning across Windows Vista and Windows 7. DirectX 11.1 was exclusive to Windows 8 and above, as it required WDDM 1.2 (Windows display driver model). The Direct3D component of the API didn't bring anything substantial to the scene. With Windows 8.1, Microsoft is introducing DirectX 11.2, it requires WDDM 1.3, which the operating system introduces. Since Windows 8.1 will be offered as a free upgrade to current Windows 8 users, it's effectively the Windows 7 user-base, that's being asked to take a hike.

DirectX 11.2 introduces a few new Direct3D features that could matter to games. The "D3D tiled resources" feature is analogous to OpenGL MegaTexture, implemented on id Software's "Rage." The feature offers a better alternative to the current model of streaming textures as a 3D scene is being rendered; by letting developers use larger textures that are fewer in number. Portions of these giant monolithic textures would be accessed by an application, as they become relevant to the scene being rendered. The complete texture needn't be loaded to the memory. In essence, mega-textures heralds a sort of virtual memory system to GPUs, and shifts the focus from increasingly larger video memory to faster memory.

With Windows 7 user-base being cut out from DirectX 11.2, game developers may think twice before spending time to implement D3D tiled resources, but there's also Xbox One to consider. DirectX 11.2 is at the heart of the console, and Microsoft could recommend developers to take advantage of tiled resources, to optimally use the console's limited hardware resources. That could hasten the adoption of DirectX 11.2 by developers, on the PC front.

Among the features DirectX 11.2 introduces are:
  • HLSL shader linking
  • Inbox HLSL compiler
  • GPU overlay support
  • DirectX tiled resources
  • Direct3D low-latency presentation API
  • DXGI Trim API and map default buffer
  • Frame buffer scaling
  • Multithreading with SurfaceImageSource
  • Interactive Microsoft DirectX composition of XAML visual elements
  • Direct2D batching with SurfaceImageSource
Sources: Microsoft, NextPowerUp
Add your own comment

192 Comments on DirectX 11.2 Exclusive to Windows 8.1 and Xbox One

#1
OnePostWonder
by: TheMailMan78
And I'm sure when Windows 9 comes out you will be crying about how Windows 8 can do everything it can with some tweaks and how you won't be fooled into buying Windows 10. You will still find funny ways to spell Microsoft like "Microshaft" and "M$" while they provide you with a platform that gives you a place to not only bitch but, to provide a platform that has given you THOUSANDS of hours of entertainment. The saga continues....WU TANG!
By all indication, he won't being crying about how Windows 8 can do everything Windows 9 can because he sees no added benefit of using Windows 8 over Windows 7. If anything, he'd complain Windows 7 can do everything Windows 9 can, but it is 100% speculation as we know nothing about what Windows 9 entails.

It's also a bit of a straw-man argument that because Windows has provided "THOUSANDS" of hours of entertainment and a platform to complain about problems, that all is right with it and that it has no irredeemable qualities.
Posted on Reply
#2
Red_Machine
The only thing stopping Microsoft porting DX 11.2 to Windows 7 and Vista is themselves. Look at it this way: Windows 95 started with nothing and got updated all the way to DX 8.0a, 98 started with DX 5.2 and got updated all the way to 9.0c, XP started with 8.1 and again got all the way up to 9.0c. Vista was when it started going downhill, I had my doubts that it was ever going to get DX 11 the way M$ were going about things but it did eventually. Now Windows 7 is stuck with DX 11, not even a single update, which is just unacceptable.

It's all bullshit to try to get people to upgrade to the latest and "greatest" version. Not that it really matters to me, because I got Windows 8 free through TechNet anyway, I'm merely standing on principle here. I was forced to upgrade from Vista to 7, when I didn't want to, because Microsoft wouldn't patch TRIM support into Vista and I'd just bought an SSD, plus I desperately needed a more stable file transferring system. It sucked trying to transfer large files, because if I brought up another window it would cause Explorer to lock up and not show me transfer progress, so I had no idea if my transfers were failing or continuing as normal and would just have to wait to see if it finished or not. That and the whole mainstream support cycle ending was looming overhead and I didn't want to risk any security holes that MS would be lazy over patching.

TL;DR: It's got nothing to do with drivers, it's just then trying to force people to upgrade. Just look back at DirectX's history and see for yourselves.
Posted on Reply
#3
Mussels
Moderprator
to stir up flames, i saw a news report that basically said windows 9 will go back to the aero interface - however, its going to be 'new'
Posted on Reply
#4
MxPhenom 216
Corsair Fanboy
by: nt300
PC gaming has been growing faster than console growth. By 2014 PC gaming would have surpassed all consoles combined in revenue.
That's only because current console life is ending. Once next gen consoles launch. Console growth will grow faster then PC once again.
Posted on Reply
#5
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
by: Am*
The Xbone has no power over developers, consumers or anybody else -- as it stands right now, it barely survived the huge user backlash from DRM. At this moment in time, about 89% of people are on either DX10 or DX11 GPUs on the PC and 360 and PS3 will still be sold for the next 2 years at least. That means about 95% of multiplatform console games in the next 2-3 years will be ported in some form on the 360 and PS3 which are not going anywhere. That still means developers will be making games in engines that are DX9 compatible. Once PS3/360 die, the developers will jump on the next most common API, which will be DX11.
Explain to me why 64-bit games are few and far between then. Publishers love consoles because they are a DRM-rich, walled garden. That's why they focus on consoles and Windows often gets ported.

Also Xbox One could outship PS4 3-to-1 this year so the "huge user backlash" is likely coming from people that aren't likely to buy an Xbone in the first place.

I said developers would use 11.2 because it is the easiest conversion path from Xbone to Windows; however, I also said that they would likely offer "backwards compatibility" too, most likely down to at least DirectX 11.0 because that's where most of the current customers are.

TL;DR: Microsoft is paving the way for the future; developers will use what they want.

by: Red_Machine
TL;DR: It's got nothing to do with drivers, it's just then trying to force people to upgrade. Just look back at DirectX's history and see for yourselves.
Yes it does. Windows 8.1 = WDDM 1.3 = Direct3D 11.2: requires compatible hardware/drivers with all of the above to function with all of the above.

Since Microsoft is offering 8.1 as a downloaded update to 8, there's likely no hardware changes required to upgrade the driver to WDDM 1.3; however, as will all previous versions of Direct3D, the hardware must support it in order to use it.

People are only "forced" to upgrade if a developer decides to support only Direct3D 11.2 and these "people" must play the game. It's no different than when people were "forced" to upgrade to Windows Vista (or newer) to play Direct3D 10 games.
Posted on Reply
#6
Red_Machine
by: FordGT90Concept
Yes it does. Windows 8.1 = WDDM 1.3 = Direct3D 11.2: requires compatible hardware/drivers with all of the above to function with all of the above.
That's what they're saying, but I think it's just a convenient excuse. Back in the days of 98 and XP, DirectX was deliberately coded to be backwards-compatible with older driver models, which also allowed older cards designed for previous versions of DirectX to be given software support for later versions' advanced rendering features. That miraculously stopped when Vista came out and they first used the driver excuse. MS knew it was going to be hard to get people to make the transition from XP to Vista, because they'd used it for so long and people generally hate new things, so they tempted gamers with DirectX 10 claiming it wasn't compatible with XP, but the community proved that was a load of bollocks when they ported it. They even got the "Vista exclusive" Halo 2 working on it.

So yeah, you'll forgive me if I don't believe everything Microsoft says. Hindsight tells me that they lie through their teeth.
Posted on Reply
#7
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
Here's the lineage:
WDDM 1.3 = Windows 8.1
WDDM 1.2 = Windows 8
WDDM 1.1 = Windows 7
WDDM 1.0 = Windows Vista
XDDM = Windows 2000/XP

Prior to this, displays didn't have a discreet driver model. See VxD, Windows Driver Model, and Windows NT Driver Model.

Remember, we're talking about drivers here. Even an older card like a GeForce 8800 GT which was originally designed for WDDM 1.0 can work on Windows 8.1 provided NVIDIA releases a WDDM 1.3 driver for it. Here is the caveat though: In Microsoft's documentation, they said Windows 8.1 requires a WDDM 1.3 driver. If NVIDIA didn't release an updated driver for 8800 GT for WDDM 1.3, the card wouldn't work for Windows 8.1.

I just checked, NVIDIA already released a WDDM 1.3 driver for the 8800 GT so you can use that old card with Windows 8.1. It's really no different than XDDM in that regard: the drivers aren't backwards compatible but they can make old display devices work on new operating systems if updated.


WDDM is all about adding new intrinsic display features to the operating system. It has little to do with the hardware itself and most to do with manufacturers providing forwards compatibility for older hardware.

Do some research on WDDM for why Microsoft released new versions of it. All of them are pretty significant changes (e.g. WDDM overrides a full screen application when pressing ctrl+alt+del where XDDM did not).

Direct3D 10 is not, was not, and never will be compatible with XDDM (Windows XP). WDDM is largely what made Direct3D 10 what it is (more efficient, more capable). Direct3D 10 debuted over five years ago. Now virtually all new games use it or one of its derivatives.


Halo 2 had DRM to allow it to only install on Windows Vista. Crackers removed the DRM and thus, removed its Vista-only lock. Halo 2 was a Direct3D 9.0c game so the DRM was the only obstacle to making it work.

Now, try to run a game like Stormrise on XP which is Direct3D 10 exclusive. DRM or not, it's not going to work.


As if the above wasn't enough, let's talk about why WDDM 1.3 and Direct3D 11.2 are tied together. The major feature Direct3D 11.2 adds is the ability to have gigantic images and have Direct3D only load parts of that image into the video memory for rendering. This basically means virtual memory (in the main RAM or HDD/SDD) to artificially expand how much video memory is present. This is a WDDM issue, hence 1.3; but it is also a graphics card issue because to accomplish that goal, they need a plethora of new commands for the GPU. Add to it the fact that Windows Vista, Windows 7, and Windows 8 don't know what to do with a WDDM 1.3 driver (the new features like partially caching huge images), if you want Direct3D 11.2, you need at least Direct3D 11.2 hardware and Windows 8.1 (including WDDM 1.3 display driver) software.

Yes, it is complicated but what Microsoft is doing here is really nothing out of the ordinary. WDDM 1.3 drivers are widely available already and no one is going to care much about Direct3D 11.2 for several years anyway (which is normal).
Posted on Reply
#8
eidairaman1
by: Mussels
to stir up flames, i saw a news report that basically said windows 9 will go back to the aero interface - however, its going to be 'new'
Glass Tiles- Ala Metrosexual
Posted on Reply
#9
rtwjunkie
@Ford: I thought I saw on Nvidia's site they were only making WDDM 1.3 available for Fermi and above, meaning 400 series and later?
Posted on Reply
#10
m4gicfour
by: eidairaman1
Glass Tiles- Ala Metrosexual
:laugh:

That made me laugh, and almost choke.

Now, back to lurking.
Posted on Reply
#11
FordGT90Concept
"I go fast!1!11!1!"
by: rtwjunkie
@Ford: I thought I saw on Nvidia's site they were only making WDDM 1.3 available for Fermi and above, meaning 400 series and later?
They don't have 8.1 64-bit drivers for GeForce 5, 6, and 7 series but they do have them for GeForce 8 series and above. They must have changed their mind I guess.
Posted on Reply
#12
rtwjunkie
by: FordGT90Concept
They don't have 8.1 64-bit drivers for GeForce 5, 6, and 7 series but they do have them for GeForce 8 series and above. They must have changed their mind I guess.
Cool! That will probably make alot of people happy that are still running pre-Fermi.
Posted on Reply
#13
campdude
This is just as dumb as DX9 Halo 2 Windows Vista only. Too bad Mantle isnt as cool as it was supposed to be... or maybe it will become the new cool (hopes)
Posted on Reply
#15
Prima.Vera
by: FordGT90Concept
They don't have 8.1 64-bit drivers for GeForce 5, 6, and 7 series but they do have them for GeForce 8 series and above. They must have changed their mind I guess.
My laptop is running Win8.1 on a nvidia Go 7900GTX card with no issues...
Posted on Reply
#16
Mussels
Moderprator
by: Prima.Vera
My laptop is running Win8.1 on a nvidia Go 7900GTX card with no issues...
mobility might be different, wouldnt be the first time.
Posted on Reply
#17
Prima.Vera
by: Mussels
mobility might be different, wouldnt be the first time.
Drivers are for Vista x32 :)))
Posted on Reply
Add your own comment