Friday, December 1, 2006

What DirectX 10 Means To Me

What is DirectX? Simply put, it's a collection of APIs for handling tasks related to multimedia, especially game programming, on Microsoft platforms. It is widely used in the development of computer games for Microsoft Windows, the Xbox and Xbox 360. New features include:
  • Fixed pipelines are being done away with in favor of fully programmable pipelines (often referred to as unified pipeline architecture), which can be programmed to emulate the same.
  • Paging of graphics memory, to allow data to be loaded to Video RAM when needed and move it out when not needed. This enables usage of the system memory to hold graphics data, such as textures, thereby allowing use of more and higher resolution textures in games.
  • There is no limit on the number of objects which can be rendered, provided enough resources are available.
  • Virtualization of the graphics hardware, to allow multiple threads/processes to use it, in turns.
  • New state object to enable the GPU to change states efficiently.
  • Shader Model 4.0, enhances the programmability of the graphics pipeline. It adds instructions for integer and bitwise calculations.
  • Geometry shaders, which work on individual triangles which form a mesh.
  • Texture arrays enable swapping of textures in GPU without CPU intervention.
  • Resource View enables pre-caching of resources, thereby reducing latency.
  • Predicated Rendering allows drawing calls to be ignored based on some other conditions. This enables rapid occlusion culling, which prevents objects from being rendered if it is not visible or too far to be visible.

What the hell does all that mean? It means that if you're running DX10 on your computer it will shoot lasers out from its optical drive, emit ultrasonic waves to deter insects from entering your home and burrowing into your pet's flesh, see through time for you to know in advance if you're going to get that raise/promotion/pink slip, and rip all neural energy from your cerebral cortex and back it up on a storage device of your choosing. Pretty cool, huh?

It will also make graphics look better on your machine. If you play games on a PC, then you probably have heard something about Crysis. This game is coming out from the development team, Crytex, which brought us FarCry. It's being published by EA. The recent DX10 HD video that was released today is *drool* captivating. The game is supposed to be functional with both DX9 and 10, so for all of us non-early adopters who haven't bought the new DX10 graphic cards (like the 8 series GeForce cards from Nvidia) this means that we'll be able to play it. Of course, Vista and DX10 are recommended. These are some *unconfirmed* system requirements.FarCry is an exceptional shooter, and presented huge draw distance in the game, which meant that you could get crisp visuals looking out past a mile. Tree leaves were visible from hundreds of feet away, and you could see fish swimming in the water as you viewed them from a cliff above. The story and gameplay was also, you know, awesome. I'm ready for a mid-life Crysis.

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