Next DirectX may pack Mantle-like low-level features

By on February 27, 2014, 7:30 AM
microsoft, amd, directx, opengl, api, graphics, mantle

There's been a lot of talk recently surrounding Mantle, AMD's low-level API that gives developers better access to graphics card hardware, with less CPU overhead and greater coding efficiency. Tests show that Mantle is quite effective at improving performance on entry-level and mid-range systems, especially where CPU power is lacking, compared to DirectX.

But the guys at Microsoft don't want to be left behind when it comes to DirectX. Looking at sessions for the Game Developer's Conference (GDC), which is scheduled for mid March, reveals Microsoft's own Anuj Gosalia will be detailing what's in store for the next DirectX. Here's an excerpt from the session's description.

For nearly 20 years, DirectX has been the platform used by game developers to create the fastest, most visually impressive games on the planet. However, you asked us to do more. You asked us to bring you even closer to the metal and to do so on an unparalleled assortment of hardware. You also asked us for better tools so that you can squeeze every last drop of performance out of your PC, tablet, phone and console.

Bringing DirectX "even closer to the metal" sounds a lot like what AMD has been trying to achieve with Mantle, although the updated DirectX API likely won't be restricted to just one vendor's hardware. Another session on Direct3D, hosted by Development Lead for Windows Graphics Max McMcullen, also discusses low-level improvements.

Come learn how future changes to Direct3D will enable next generation games to run faster than ever before! In this session we will discuss future improvements in Direct3D that will allow developers an unprecedented level of hardware control and reduced CPU rendering overhead across a broad ecosystem of hardware.

OpenGL won't be left out either, with a session at GDC titled "Approaching Zero Driver Overhead in OpenGL". Hosted by presenters from AMD, Intel and Nvidia, the session will detail "high-level concepts available in today's OpenGL implementations that radically reduce driver overhead--by up to 10x or more."

It's possible some of the components of OpenGL that reduce driver overhead are already available, but we'll have to wait until GDC to learn more about what's in store for the two most popular graphics APIs.

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