DirectX Next

DirectX Next – Oh Pleeeze!

The slides from Microsoft’s Meltdown 2003 are available here. I’ve not been a fan of DirectX’s piecewise distribution of shader technology – not so much for the hardware folks as for the consumers. When I’d chat with the folks who write shader code for a living (outside the Evil Empire) – I’d get hints as to the stuff “for the next release”. This was particularly annoying as I was writing a book targeting this audience at the time and you’d think Microsoft, at the very least, would want to publicize this stuff. The hardware folks, the top-tier game writers, they were all in the know. They’d let me know, generally, that there was more to be had. Even when they did come out and state what was going on, I, under NDA, couldn’t disclose what I knew. It was very frustrating. For all intents and purposes, Microsoft does indeed seem to want to disseminate this info. Unfortunately they don’t seem to speak with a single clear voice since Phil Taylor left for the warm arms of ATI. Sigh, instead of having someone spoon-feed this out to the public, you’ve now got to glean this stuff yourself. Let’s look at the recent Meltdown slides for example.

What’s new with DX?

  1. Completely new DDI – i.e. a new DirectDraw Interface. (It’s not all new, just some new bits)
  2. Model 4.0 shaders!?!
  3. All shaders will “compile”. However, some will be “slow” (i.e. run at < 10 fps @ 640×480)
  4. More General GPU I/O – that is – data written at GPU level won’t have to be passed through CPU to be read by GPU at a later stage.
  5. More support for Higher Order Primitives – a necessary feature – it’s easier to specify a surface mesh that a grid of vertices.
  6. Render to cubemap – in one operation!
  7. Frame-Buffer Access- lots of rendering and non-rendering applications here.
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