At long last, after months of speculation, Microsoft has revealed a few details regarding its upcoming DirectX 11. The company promises that, following the somewhat icy reception that the Vista only DirectX 10 has had, it will create a gaming graphics API that will improve the looks and the performance of AAA game titles.
The big news in Microsoft's announcement is the fact that the Graphical Processing Unit, essentially the processor on your graphics card, will be used for more than graphics processing if DirectX 11 is installed. In other words, you might see the load on the CPU lessen as the GPU takes over the role of a parallel processor. This is big news for game developers because it means that they can use the freed up main processor to create more intelligent AI or to implement more diverse movement patterns for the characters in their games.
Microsoft is also saying that multi-core machines, which are more and more common, especially among gamers, will get better routines to handle distribution of the processing load and to make sure that all resources that a computer has are used by videogames.
|There's also talk of introducing tessellation support, which means that the overall graphical look of the games will receive an impressive upgrade. Tessellation basically makes character models move and appear smoother when viewed up close, which means that the difference between pre-rendered cutscenes and in-game scenes, which are rendered in real time, will be much smaller, graphically wise. Once the new DirectX 11 is supported by game developers and starts being used, we can expect to see games in which the graphical quality surpasses that of say Crysis without requiring an equal amount of computing power.
Microsoft is also making some vague references to adding new features to existing DirectX 10 compatible hardware, but it is not clear what this means or what the features will be.
The bad news regarding DirectX 11 is that, for the moment, the software giant is saying that the API uses technology that can only work under Windows Vista and future generations of its operating system. So, gamers, if you want to get DirectX 11 you'll also have to get Vista.