All About DirectX
DirectX is a Microsoft Windows extension (library) that translates operating system commands, programs, and games into the language of your computer’s sound and graphics card. The main purpose of DirectX is to display 3D animations on the screen, primarily in games. DirectX 11 ( DX11 ) is the next stage in the development of this technology. We will try to take a closer look at it.
DirectX 10.1 vs DirectX 11
The differences between the two technologies mainly concern new image generation and processing techniques. It is more detailed and thus creates virtual reality to a much better extent. The list of the biggest changes includes:
Shadows: Shading objects and their surroundings is now more precise. In addition, long shadows of trees, for example, can now lengthen even more as the sun goes down.
Structures: A new technology of so-called tessellation automatically refines the game developers’ basic skeletons predicted for the objects displayed in the game.
Surfaces: For texturing (texturing) surfaces such as animal fur and tree bark, DirectX 11 developers can use images at higher resolutions than DirectX 10.1. The border from 4096×4096 pixels has been moved to 16384×16384 pixels. As a result, the surfaces of objects and characters now contain much more detail and look much more realistic.
Transparency: Thanks to Order-Independent Transparency ( OIT ) technology, DirectX 11 can display even a few overlapping transparent objects correctly.
Multi-core processors: even computers for PLN 2,000-2500 today have processors with at least two cores. In more expensive PCs, there are processors with up to eight computing units. DirectX 11 uses this potential in games and programs thanks to the so-called multithreading – if the conversion of images is not done fast enough, DirectX 11 forces unused processor cores to work. This, of course, only makes sense with programs and games that support multithreading. One such program is, for example, the video editor Adobe Premiere CS5.
Speed: In new games, DirectX 11 can display 30 percent more images per second than DirectX 10. Unfortunately, current AMD and NVIDIA GPUs cannot translate this into smoother playback, although you can expect the problem to disappear as the drivers are improved.
Additional tasks: thanks to Compute Shader technology, a DirectX 11 compatible graphics card does not have to be limited to image playback. It can help, for example, with video conversion and thus relieve the main processor, but the program used for this must support the Compute Shader. Among the few currently available programs that use this technology is the video processing application Nero Move it.
New Computational Technologies: The Shader Model used in DirectX to realistically display objects is available in version 5.0. The method of performing calculations has been changed, which is to speed up the generation of 3D scenes, among other things.
Game notes and DirectX 11 requirements
DirectX 11, like Windows 7, has been on the market for one year, so the game selection is still very modest. Currently, there is a minimal range of games that support DirectX 11 on sale, and several more are in the preparation phase. One exception: Electronics Arts has updated the Battle Forge online game to meet DirectX 11 requirements. All available DirectX 11 games also work with older Windows extensions, i.e., DirectX 10 and 9.
The second point is to use all the new technologies that DX11 brings with it. Theoretically, games compatible with the new libraries still do not give us the full opportunity to enjoy the high level of reality. This is because DirectX 11 support is often “added” to old engines. A good example is the XRay Engine in STALKER: Call of Pripyat. Despite the support for DX11, the engine itself is quite a few years old. The adaptation of new technologies is therefore limited. The breakthrough (as was the case with DirectX 10) will probably be the premiere of Crysis 2, based on a completely new graphics engine.