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Beyond DirectX 10 - A glance at DirectX 10.1

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the one-percent-more dept.

236

Hanners1979 writes "Although we still appear to be some way away from the release of Windows Vista, and with it DirectX 10, specifications for the first point release of the 3D graphics API, DirectX 10.1, have already been finalised and largely made public. Elite Bastards looks at what's new and what will be changing in this release, set to become available not all that long after DirectX 10 — There's more to it than you might imagine."

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236 comments

First post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15899996)

FP, woot?

Re:First post (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900153)

I wonder when Linux will drop support for the obsolete, proprietary OpenGL-standard and use a modern, open toolkit like DirectX.

Amazing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15899997)

So the old joke about an operating system being obsolete before it's even released has come true?

Re:Amazing (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900188)

There's no such joke, you goddamn retard.

Looks to be a good release (0, Redundant)

nusuni (994260) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900013)

I was reading this and was amazed to see "DirectX 10.1 will also see the introduction of full application control over anti-aliasing" ..... hasn't that been a feature in OpenGL for quite some time? At least it looks like 10.1 will be decent and will have some nice performance improvements, especially with page-fault handling. Is it just me or are GPUs becoming computers on a chip? Thankfully DirectX has grown up since the days of 1995/98... ick

GPUs already are "computers on a chip" (5, Informative)

cos(x) (677938) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900063)

GPU shader processors certainly are Turing complete and there are plenty of people (ab-)using them for general purpose calculations. See for example http://www.gpgpu.org/ [gpgpu.org] . For some types of calculations, GPUs are much faster than CPUs due to their massively parallel processing. In fact, I have written my thesis on that very topic, comparing CPU and GPU based implementations of some algorithms.

Re:GPUs already are "computers on a chip" (1)

codename.matrix (889422) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900152)

sounds like a very interesting topic for a thesis. Have you published your thesis somewhere on the web?

Re:GPUs already are "computers on a chip" (1)

cos(x) (677938) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900164)

I will... when I submit it this Friday :). I am fixing up some last typos and getting it into shape right now. I'll put it on http://www.fabianowski.eu/ [fabianowski.eu] , which is an empty website for now.

sounds boring (0, Offtopic)

gooberguy25 (915147) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900017)

can they make it sound more impresive than a measly point one?

Re:sounds boring (1, Funny)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900045)

You mean like 'DirectX 10.1 - Liger'?

If I hear "DirectX" this or "DirectX" that again (-1, Offtopic)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900028)

I'm going to start hitting people, and I won't care who.

That's all I'm going to say.

WHOM (5, Funny)

mnemonic_ (164550) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900051)

ACCUSATIVE YOU SON OF A BITCH

Re:WHOM (3, Informative)

SpottedKuh (855161) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900161)

Indeed, you are correct that "whom," as opposed to "who," should have been used. However, I believe the term "accusative" does not apply to the distinction between "who" and "whom" in English. I believe the terms that should be used are "subjective" (who) or "objective" (whom).

In modern English, the accusative and dative cases that existed in Old English (and are still used in modern languages such as German) collapsed into a single objective usage. That is, "whom" can be used either as a direct object pronoun, corresponding to an accusative usage in other languages ("Whom did you hit?"); or, it can be used as an indirect object pronoun, corresponding to a dative usage in other languages ("To whom did you give the apple?"). There's a much better explanation here [wikipedia.org] .

Re:WHOM (1, Offtopic)

Dlugar (124619) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900426)

Indeed, you are correct that "whom," as opposed to "who," should have been used. However, I believe the term "accusative" does not apply to the distinction between "who" and "whom" in English. I believe the terms that should be used are "subjective" (who) or "objective" (whom).

Actually, "accusative" [wikipedia.org] just means "objective case" (used to mark the direct object of a transitive verb). The link you posted [wikipedia.org] lists "whom" as being able to be used in Modern English as the accusative, dative, or instrumental. "Objective" is a common way to refer to the accusative case in English however.

Dlugar

Re:WHOM (4, Funny)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900331)

Let my failure to use the objective case be an indication of the severity of my anger.

Re:If I hear "DirectX" this or "DirectX" that agai (4, Funny)

radiotyler (819474) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900054)

DirectX.


DirectX! DirectX! DirectX!

Re:If I hear "DirectX" this or "DirectX" that agai (1)

Jordanis (955796) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900163)

DirectX! Apply directly to monopoly!

or..

DirectX! Apply directly to graphics card!

Re:If I hear "DirectX" this or "DirectX" that agai (1)

jigjigga (903943) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900169)

DirectX! APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD! DirectX! APPLY DIRECTLY TO THE FOREHEAD! As you can see, there are far worse examples of annoying repetition ;)

Hopefully... (2, Insightful)

Ichigo Kurosaki (886802) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900053)

the next gen of videocards wait for this technology or include it so we don't have really short lived video cards.

DirectX does not seem good for the industry (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900058)

DirectX does not seem a good standard for the industry to follow. DX9 came out how long ago? It seems as if 3D technology advances have slowed down. Yes there have been updates to DX9, but I don't really remember anything that was exciting. Yes, there has been talk about DX10 and the changes it would bring, but now it's known that it's Vista only. That's why it has taken so long. So the industry is waiting for Vista to finally have implementation of their new graphics features? Sounds like a bad move. What if MS delays Vista? What then? Are the graphic chip makers gonna sit and wait? What we need is an actual open industry standard. Bring back OpenGL so we can make improvements as they come, and not having to wait for Microsoft to lead it where they feel they can control it to make money, and continue locking out other platforms.

Re:DirectX does not seem good for the industry (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900196)

DX is the best thing to ever happen to computer gaming.

DX9 been around for a while? Well please enumerate for us all what features you were 'missing out on'. DX9 was already ahead of it's time if you recall: most of the DX9 features werent even supported (or fully supported) by the king of the hill video cards at the time it was released.

Look at how great computer graphics were charging forward without Direct X. Um... yeah, right. Programmers are the ones driving acceptance of DirectX, not "teh ev1l M$ monopoly". Apple is a monopoly too, but I don't see great games exclusive to Apple.

Re:DirectX does not seem good for the industry (4, Insightful)

ceoyoyo (59147) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900311)

Bring back OpenGL?

OpenGL is alive and well. It would be great if some of the Windows developers started using it though, since they are in the majority. Please, feel free to join the rest of the world.

Re:DirectX does not seem good for the industry (1, Informative)

EvilMerlin (32498) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900354)

For the LAST time, DirectX != OpenGL.

Direct3D is more like OpenGL, DirectX includes a whole boat load of stuff OpenGL can't even think about touching, stuff like DirectPlay and DirectSound for starters.

People, especially those who love the anti-Microsoft FUD, shoult better educate themselves before attempting to speak about Microsoft...

Re:DirectX does not seem good for the industry (1)

mikael (484) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900357)

The problem is that new features are introduced instantaneously by Microsoft into DirectX, but there
tends to be a delay with the same features becoming univerally available on all graphics hardware (ARB, EXT extensions), although vendors are free to introduce their own custom extensions.

If you're an application developer wanting to develop a bleeding edge application for the PC, you're more or less forced to use DirectX.

Not much of a business case for OpenGL ... (2, Insightful)

AHumbleOpinion (546848) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900423)

Bring back OpenGL? OpenGL is alive and well. It would be great if some of the Windows developers started using it though, since they are in the majority.

If it were in a developer's best interest to use OpenGL they would. OpenGL has a history of having mediocre drivers if you are *not* doing things as Quake does them. In other words OpenGL was of such little interest to ATI and NVIDIA that about all the optimization attention it got was whetever Quake used. Now this was a few years ago and things are better now but developers remembers this and are a little gun shy due to "spotty" support and optimizations. They all know Direct3D will be at the forefront of ATI and NVIDIA's efforts. Now consider the arguments made by other posters where the new features and tools show up first, in Direct3D.

Again, what's in it for developers? Linux gamers? No they dual boot or emulate, they are already Win32/Direct3D customers. There is no new money to be made, a port would merely move a sale from Win32 to Linux, more work, no revenue. The Linux market is really only those who refuse to emulate or dual boot. Mac OS X gamers? Well at least they have a history of spending money going for them, at least when emulation and dual boot were not feasable since an emulator had to emulate the CPU not just a gaming API. However with the switch to Intel dual booting is now an option, and to make things more confusing there is Cider for emulation. Write for Win32/Direct3D and link in Cider to translate the Win32 calls to Mac OS X. I like OpenGL, I come from a scientific visualization background, but come on, there is not much of a business case from a developer's perspective "today". It had slightly better case "yesterday"

Please, feel free to join the rest of the world.

Uh, by "rest of the world" you mean the 5% running Mac OS X and Linux? Hey, if you are discussing soccer then phrases like "rest of the world" are meaningful, but in the context of computer gamers it is a joke.

Re:Not much of a business case for OpenGL ... (1)

Wizarth (785742) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900430)

I think the Rest Of The World is referring to computing that isn't grey boxes on desktops.

Re:DirectX does not seem good for the industry (1)

Jartan (219704) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900434)

I think DirectX sucks for a variety of reasons but the truth of the matter is there are no real video card features DX9 doesn't currently implement. Neither Nvidia or ATI have yet to release a card with the new feature sets in DX10.

Even then it makes me wonder what the point is. When games like WoW get all the headlines using technology that barely require DX8. Maybe if you are into FPS games this will matter but for everyone else the featureset you are calling dated far outpaced the software that runs on it years ago.

I'm pretty skeptical of how OpenGL will survive in games now that Carmack has sold out. It's a bleak future for those of us gamers who want to someday drop Windows and use a real OS.

Repost:EFF Supports GNAA Campaign Against Slashdot (-1, Offtopic)

Jerk City Troll (661616) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900061)

It appears our previous announcement [slashdot.org] was accidentally modded down below the default viewing threshold. To correct this problem, we are reposting. We apologize for any inconveniences this may cause and we promise to hunt down and tea-bag the moderators reponsible for this error. Thank you!

EFF Supports GNAA Campaign Against Slashdot

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Would it be that difficult... (0, Redundant)

miro f (944325) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900064)

to include Direct X 10 in XP? This has to be one of the worst examples of extortion that MS have done in a long time.

Let's hope that most games stick with DirectX 9 (or OpenGL... one can only wish)

Re:Would it be that difficult... (2, Insightful)

mastergoon (648848) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900122)

I don't understand what everyone wants Microsoft to do with their next version of windows. Before everyone was complaining that they needed to ditch all the legacy code and clean things up, and now everyone is pissed off that new software for vista won't be backwards compatible. You've got to drop backwards compatibility sometime, if you want to get rid of legacy code.

Re:Would it be that difficult... (1)

kimvette (919543) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900162)

Here's the problem: Microsoft reputedly shipped DirectX 10.0 on Windows XP to video card manufacturers so they can develop DirectX 10-optimized drivers.

Obviously, if that rumour is actually true, Microsoft is pulling a fast one on "consumers" just to force an upgrade. They know that their market share is in danger (ref: OS X on x86 and being only a baby step away from licensing to OEMs when Jobs comes to his senses, Linux rapidly maturing over the last three to four years, etc.) so they need a short-term boost in their revenue stream.

Re:Would it be that difficult... (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900131)

Good luck with that wish.. If the stuck with old standards, then you wouldnt be forced to upgrade..

Re: Another well thought out Slashdot comment (0, Flamebait)

LinuxIsRetarded (995083) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900142)

If the stuck with old standards, then you wouldnt be forced to upgrade..

That's almost a sentence.

Seriously, though, this is the nature of technology- it improves over time. It's the same reason I can't play MP3 discs in my old CD player (and why I can't play CDs on my record player). Quit whining. If you don't like it, switch to another platform.

Improvement (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900287)

The concept of "improvement' is somewhat subjective. Many would disagree that the move to CD's was an improvement over LPs. ( for example ).

Yes, i need to do better with my proof reading. I type way too fast, and tend not to care about the outcome.

Why would i want to switch to another platform when what i have fufills my needs already? I can complain about 'modern technology' all i want, and still not be part of it.

Re:Would it be that difficult... (1)

I'm Don Giovanni (598558) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900254)

It wouldn't have been difficult to add Spotlight and Dashboard to OSX Panther rather than making those features exclusive to OSX Tiger, yet Slashdotters praised Apple's decision to the high-heavens.

Besides that obvious double standard, I like how slashdotters gleefully mocked MS for removing features from Vista and/or backporting features to XP, thus lowering incentive to upgrade to Vista, and at the same time bitch at MS for keeping a new feature exclusive to Vista. (Not the consistency has ever been a halmark of slashdotters to begin with.)

Re:Would it be that difficult... (1)

MioTheGreat (926975) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900294)

DirectX 10 relies on the completely new WDDM driver display model for Vista. Hell, DirectX 9 games can't even run on DirectX 10. They've got to include both versions in Vista. A few developers have said that any efforts on their part to backport DirectX to the old driver model would have resulted in DX10 features being scrapped, performance hits, and further delays.

Re:Would it be that difficult... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900320)

Would it be that difficult for apple to add all of the OSX "pack" features to the version it succeeds? Now THAT's extortion. XP has had a long support window and will be getting DX9L, what more do you want?

DX10 is a whole different beast and while I'm sure it can be hacked to work under XP who knows how the new driver model interacts with it.

Re:Would it be that difficult... (2, Insightful)

Assmasher (456699) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900363)

The problem is the driver model for DX10 does not work well for the XP WDDM. I assure you they, and all the game publishers, wanted 10 to be available for as many Windows versions as possible. The break with the driver model was fundamental to several things but especially multi-head/multi-device hardware acceleration, changes to the cooperative nature of the 2D and 3D aspects of the video cards (both for fundamental re-factoring of the nature of DirectX Graphics and for the needs of advanced rendering systems like the Vista UI layer.) There's a bunch of great things about DX10 that could have been put into XP but there are other, more fundamental, architectural moves which have great performance benefits and future design benefits going forward.

Personally, I can't wait to see how well displacement mapping will make real-time terrain generation vastly simpler and adaptive to level of detail (doing this now is a fair amount of work.)

Article Text (5, Informative)

insane_machine (952012) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900067)

Just by reading this article title, it may seem rather like we're getting ahead of ourselves here - After all, we still have another handful of DirectX 9 boards to come from ATI, never mind being a fair few months away from the launch of Windows Vista, and with it the latest iteration of the DirectX API, DirectX 10.

Nonetheless, despite all this, DirectX 10 is likely to see a number of point revisions during its lifespan and the first of these, imaginatively titled DirectX 10.1, will be the first of these. It may surprise some of you reading this, but the features which will be added by DirectX 10.1 have already been decided upon and information made available about them, so in this article we'll be taking a look through what we can expect to see in DirectX 10.1 compliant hardware.

I would imagine this goes without saying, but before tackling this article I'd well and truly recommend beginning by reading our look at what DirectX 10 has to offer in our article entitled "ATI on the possibilities of DirectX 10" to get yourself up to speed on everything that this major inflection point in 3D graphics rendering entails, from geometry shaders through to (more importantly for this article) the WDDM driver model. So, if you feel that you know all you need to know about DirectX 10, let's move onwards to the future world of DirectX 10.1.

Introduction

Before we begin outright, we should remind ourselves briefly as to exactly why the API will be seeing point releases as of DirectX 10. The main reason for this move is the removal of cap (or capability) bits in the API. In the past, cap bits allowed for graphics vendors to basically pick and choose what features their hardware would support (albeit within some fairly strict guidelines to ensure compliancy to particular DirectX and Shader Model revisions). Although this left the likes of NVIDIA and ATI with plenty of room to develop and tout features that the other didn't have, it also had the side effect of creating development Hell for any game developers working on titles, leaving them to sort through a myriad of cap bits for different GPUs and configurations to ensure that they were supporting the right features for the right boards - More often than not, this simply meant that advanced features that only one graphics vendor supported were left out of the vast majority of titles altogether (Truform anyone?). The removal of this labyrinth was one of the main things developers were screaming out for when it came to discussing what was required of DirectX 10, and so it came to pass.

Of course, this removal of cap bits had to be offset against the ever changing and progressing world of GPU development, so the graphics vendors still needed a way to push the technology forward and allow new technologies to find their way into games. Thus, DirectX 10 will be seeing point releases, one of the main facets of which will be to facilitate the inclusion of new funtionality for compliant graphics hardware to make use of. This makes life easier both for developers (who can target DirectX 10, 10.1 etc rather than individual features) and consumers - How do you explain to the man on the street that yes, a Radeon X800 and GeForce 6800 are both DirectX 9 parts, but both support different Shader Models in their respective architectures. It isn't much fun, trust me. As DirectX 10 and its point releases will also have very little in the way of features that are only optional in the API, buying a graphics board compliant with a particular DirectX 10 version will ensure that it does everything it needs to do to satisfy game titles that use that level of technology. No more Vertex Texture Fetch-esque confusions this time around then.

The other question to answer (or not answer, such is the way these things work) before we start is - When will DirectX 10.1 be released? From what we've heard thus far, it appears that it may well become available not all that long after DirectX 10 itself. What isn't so likely however, is that we'll be seeing DirectX 10.1 capable hardware before or at the time of the launch of this new iteration of the API. The main reason for this will be the additional requirements necessary to support DirectX 10.1's WDDM 2.1 driver model, but we'll go into that a little more thoroughly in due course. In other words then, although we may see DirectX 10.1 pretty soon in the grand scheme of things, don't expect to be racing out to buy a DirectX 10.1 capable graphics board for the forseeable future.

Improvements over DirectX 10

As I'm sure you've already fathomed by now, DirectX 10.1 will be a superset of DirectX 10 - That is, it will support everything that DirectX 10 does (and thus all DirectX 10 compliant parts), but then add more in the way of features and performance to that offered by the base level of DirectX 10. So, before we start looking at additions to the DirectX 10.1 feature set, let's talk about where we'll be seeing improvements in the API.

One of the main improvements touted by Microsoft in DirectX 10.1 is improved access to shader resources - In particular, this involves better control when reading back samples from multi-sample anti-aliasing. In conjunction with this, the ability to create customised downsampling filters will be available in DirectX 10.1.

Floating point blending also gets some new functionality in DirectX 10.1, more specifically when used with render targets - New formats for render targets which support blending will be available in this iteration of the API, and render targets can now be blended independently of one another.

Shadows never fail to be an important part of any game title's graphics engine, and Direct3D 10.1 will see improvements to the shadow filtering capabilities within the API, which will hopefully lead to improvements in image quality in this regard.

On the performance side of things, DirectX 10.1 will allow for higher performance in multi-core systems, which is certainly good news for the ever growing numbers of dual-core users out there. The number of calls to the API when drawing and rendering reflections and refractions (two commonly used features in modern game titles) has been reduced in Direct3D 10.1, which should also make for some rather nice performance boosts. Finally, another oft-used feature, cube mapping, gets its own changes which should help with performance, in the form of the ability to use an indexable array for handling cube maps.

Additions over DirectX 10

One of the major additions which will impact image quality in DirectX 10.1 regards precision, in a couple of different disciplines. Firstly, this revision of the API will see the introduction of 32-bit floating-point filtering over the 16-bit filtering currently on show in DirectX 9 and 10 - This should see improvements to the quality of High Dynamic Range rendering which use this functionality over what is currently available. On top of this, overall precision throughout the rendering pipeline will also be increased, although to what level doesn't seem to have been publically specified at present. These increases in precision could make for an interesting challenge for the graphics IHVs, as it seems likely they'll be needing to spend a large number of transistors in future parts just to match these new requirements, let alone ekeing decent performance out of their GPUs when dealing with higher precisions than those we have seen thus far.

Again looking towards improvements on the image quality front, DirectX 10.1 will also see the introduction of full application control over anti-aliasing. This will allow applications to control the usage of both multi-sample and super-sample anti-aliasing, as well as giving them the ability to choose sample patterns to best suit the rendering scenario in a particular scene or title. Finally, these changes in DirectX 10.1 give the application control over the pixel coverage mask, a mask which is used to help to quickly approximate sampling for an area of pixels. This in particular should prove to be a boon when anti-aliasing particles, vegetation, scenes with motion blur and the like. All of this additional control handed to the application could allow for anti-aliasing to be used much more wisely and effectively, and controlled by game developers themselves, rather than the current 'all or nothing' implementation available, which basically amounts to a simple on-off switch.

To add further to the additional focus on anti-aliasing in DirectX 10.1, support for a minimum of four samples per pixel (in other words, 4x anti-aliasing) is now required (Although this doesn't necessarily mean that support for 2x anti-aliasing in hardware and drivers is a thing of the past).

WDDM 2.1

Lastly, we come to one final major change which will be seen in DirectX 10.1 - Whereas DirectX 10 will see the introduction of support for WDDM (Windows Driver Display Model) 2.0, DirectX 10.1 moves this on a step as the driver model moves up to 2.1. Again, be sure to have read our look at WDDM 2.0 before you proceed to understand what this driver model is all about. Needless to say, WDDM 2.1 does everything WDDM 2.0 does, but with a couple of significant additions, mainly aimed at improving performance on DirectX 10.1 capable GPUs further still.

First on the list for WDDM 2.1 is further improvements to context switching abilities - This was improved significantly with the introduction of WDDM 2.0, where context switching could be performed after processing a command or triangle (compared to what is required prior to WDDM 2.0, where whole buffers needed to be completely worked through before a context switch could be performed). With WDDM 2.1 however, context switching can now be performed instantly. This means that a context switch is guaranteed when requested with WDDM 2.1, which isn't necessarily the case under WDDM 2.0 when long shaders or large triangles are being processed, whilst retaining the same average switching time between 2.0 and 2.1.

Due to the amount of threads in use and work being done in parallel at any one time on a GPU, efficient context switching (which basically involves switching between the various threads the hardware is working on) is a vital part of processing work on a GPU, so the removal of as much overhead as possible when context switching is most welcome. This is all the more important under Windows Vista, as the possibility of the GPU having to work on more than one application that requires graphics rendering in some shape or form becomes greater, and thus the need to shift seamlessly between different rendering workloads without one application taking up all of the GPU's rendering time increases further still.

The other major addition to WDDM 2.1 is a change to the way the GPU and its driver handles page faults - In WDDM 2.0, a page fault (i.e. a request for data that is not currently loaded into memory) triggers a rather long-winded process, which involves the GPU stalling, informing the Operating System of the missing page, and then restarting again once the correct page (piece of data) has been loaded into memory. In WDDM 2.1, things are handled far more gracefully, thanks to the GPU having additional support to handle page faulting and virtual memory allocated on a per process basis. This means that when a page fault crops up, the GPU doesnt have to stall, and instead the improved context switching capabilities we mentioned earlier are put to good use to switch to the next item on the agenda that needs to be worked on rather than sitting around idly waiting for the correct data to be made available.

As we mentioned earlier in this article, the implementation of WDDM is likely to be one of the main reasons why we don't see DirectX 10.1 compliant hardware springing up any time soon - Quite simply, solving these context switching and page faulting issues isn't a trivial task from either a hardware or driver point of view, and thus a massive amouont of work and resources will have to go into implementing the full 2.1 Windows Driver Display Model as required to gain compliancy. Add to that the necessity to make the other changes required of this point release of the API, and the constant demand of users to see increased performance across the board, in the enthusiast space in particular, then you can see that getting everything together to create a compliant part is going to be a tall order for a little while yet.

Conclusions

Until we've seen both Windows Vista and DirectX 10 running on compliant hardware, with fully WDDM drivers, in the flesh, then there certainly isn't much we can conclude about DirectX 10.1 and how it will improve and impact upon the future of the API and hardware which relies upon it. Certainly, although I'm sure this point release will become another important marketing tick box, it doesn't feature a great deal that will send the jaws of graphics enthusiasts around the world dropping particularly.

Of course, this focus on what the developers want and need over additional eye candy isn't a bad thing - Quite the opposite in fact. It certainly seems that the focus of the DirectX team circa DirectX 10 is to try and solve as many of those age-old graphics rendering issues as they can, allowing developers to wring every last drop of functionality and performance out of their titles which should, in turn, give us some far better gaming experiences on the PC in future.

That isn't to say that additional image quality-related features are non-existent in DirectX 10.1. In particular, the addition of full application control for anti-aliasing is an intriguing one, and it'll certainly be interesting to see how (and if) this is put to comprehensive use in game titles further down the line. We'll also have to wait and see what the increased float and rendering pipeline precisions hold in store for us from an image quality point of view, and perhaps more importantly how any increases in precision will impact upon performance in future generations of hardware.

Certainly, when you look at the thoughts behind DirectX 10.1 as a whole, you can safely say that the consumer 3D graphics industry isn't looking like slowing down any time soon, which means plenty more excitement, arguments and competition for quite some time to come - Heaven for 3D graphics geeks like you and I.

Re:Article Text (1)

Traiklin (901982) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900370)

How do you explain to the man on the street that yes, a Radeon X800 and GeForce 6800 are both DirectX 9 parts, but both support different Shader Models in their respective architectures. It isn't much fun, trust me. As DirectX 10 and its point releases will also have very little in the way of features that are only optional in the API, buying a graphics board compliant with a particular DirectX 10 version will ensure that it does everything it needs to do to satisfy game titles that use that level of technology.
So wait, now instead of upgrading tot he "latest and greatest" card every 2 years, we could be updating them every 6 months?

Am I reading that right or not? I certinally hope I'm not cause if I am reading it right, then basically Microsoft has just made the holy grail for graphics card manufacturers but at the sametime creating a whole new level of hell for them (cause when you spend $500 on a graphics card you want that thing to last, but if it can be taken out in a simple update no one is going to spend that much).

Why is directX still tied to windows? (3, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900074)

Just like Visual Studio and Office it's yet another thing that props up Windows.

If I were a DX developer I'd be more interested in playing "ubiquitous developer" than "Windows Sock Puppet".

I may get modded down for this comment, but honestly, what is so special about windows that makes DX infeasible to implement for other platforms?

Tom

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (2, Informative)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900092)

It's just like the rest of Win32. There is nothing magical. But as you implement it new versions will come out and you'll be in constant catch-up. On top of that, DirectX is used for games so you need to have it perform well. This combination makes it hard. CodeWeavers and Cedega are both trying.

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900120)

DirectX for the most part depends on a decent API to the GPU and nothing more. The networking/sound/etc can all be handled by portable APIs [e.g. on top of BSD sockets, ALSA sound, etc].

The real reason you don't see DX for Linux or BSD [or MacOS] is that they use it to prop up Windows. E.g. "Experience the coolness of DX games, as only brought to you by Windows." The problem is that DX is a viable technology [just like Visual Studio and Office] that in any other market would not be tied to the OS.

Tom

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (2, Interesting)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900134)

Maybe lack of driver support? Then again, even though its feature set moves like molasses and causes developers extension headaches, I still prefer the OpenGL API over DirectX9 even though I use C++ a lot more than C. DX10 is supposed to have an entirely different API so maybe I'll give it another chance.

If someone did make an Open Source implementation, I wonder if Microsoft would pounce with patents. I feel like they only tolerate Cedega because it's far from perfect and in a way helps put out a message (be the message true or not) that Linux isn't ready for gaming.

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900408)

The argument for/against Wine/Cedega/Crossover is that while they do encourage users to switch over to Linux by making apps available now, they also discourage developing a native Linux version for something that works flawlessly under Wine -- or it may be easier to make it work under Wine (or with WineLib) than to do a real port.

As you point out, we have a hard time getting that kind of critical mass that would prompt people to actually do proper native ports, partly because Wine will never be perfect. Especially since DirectX's dominance, the situation has changed. It used to be that the latest games, if they ran at all, ran faster and better under Wine than they did under Windows, and even faster with a native port -- this was Quake 3.

But nowadays, most games run best under Windows or their native console, mainly because of DirectX.

Still, I don't think Microsoft could sue. Don't you think they would have already, or is it just a sign that we were never a threat? I think in the days before and just after the release of Windows 2000, Linux was the better OS not by leaps and bounds, but by light years -- and games ran better under Linux than they did under Windows -- so why didn't anyone get sued then? I think Transgaming was around in some form, even...

And FYI, Cedega is an Open Source implementation of DirectX. We've also got Wine (and Cedega) which are Open Source implementations of the Windows APIs. Then there's Mono, an Open Source implementation of .NET, and mod_mono, which is an Open Source implementation of ASP.NET on an Apache server. And we can't forget OpenOffice, AbiWord, and others, which include open source implementations of the Word format.

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible for the vast majority of people to go MS free. And yet, MS does nothing.

I don't know what that means -- could be beaurocratic inefficiency, could be we aren't a threat yet, could be Hell froze over and MS decided to play nice. But I wouldn't worry about Cedega getting sued, now or ever.

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (1)

Danathar (267989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900149)

The license..it's the intellectual property of Microsoft and they can lock developers into writing games for windows by keeping the API's on windows. Microsoft as never licensed DirectX to ANYBODY and have no plans to ever do so.

Same thing with the the rest of the Windows API. It could be implemented on Mac/LINUX (Wine tries to do it by reverse engineering), but it does not help them (Microsoft). It keeps people from running windows apps on platforms other than Microsoft Windows.

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900206)

That's not a technical reason. In only furthers to incriminate them on the basis they're a monopoly.

Tom

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (1)

Tolleman (606762) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900247)

Well why don't you do it then, because obviously "Do it and get sent to a PoundMeInTheAss-prison" isn't a good enough reason for you to not do it.

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900269)

I don't get your reply. If I reverse engineered it, it would be legal [may violate patents but that's a civil matter not criminal].

My point is people should shun not celebrate DX.

Tom

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900437)

If the people you piss off have enough money, anything can be upgraded to a criminal offense.

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (1)

kormoc (122955) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900278)

erm... Who ever said it was a technical reason? The reason really is purely, Microsoft owns it, and they don't want to put it to other platforms. If you feel that's wrong, you can write to the DoJ, and try to convince them to open up a new anti-trust suit.

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (1)

bradkittenbrink (608877) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900302)

The license..it's the intellectual property of Microsoft and they can lock developers into writing games for windows by keeping the API's on windows.

Now, that's not fair. Windows DirectX games aren't locked to windows APIs, they're totally portable to the xbox and xbox360.

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (2, Insightful)

Merusdraconis (730732) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900217)

"Just like Visual Studio and Office it's yet another thing that props up Windows."

Clearly a workable strategy. End users don't care one jot about the OS, but what they can do with it, and Microsoft have been very good at pouncing on those opportunities and communicating what you can do with Windows.

"what is so special about windows that makes DX infeasible to implement for other platforms?"

90% of gamers use Windows?

Microsoft owns both Windows and DirectX and wants gaming on PC to stay a going concern, and is the only company in a position to make a sizable difference. Microsoft has made gamers an active priority, while their competitors in the OS market haven't.

Re:Why is directX still tied to windows? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900227)

I know the business reason why they do it. I want to see if there is a more technical [and legal] reasoning behind it.

Proping up one failing business with another is a good sign [but not sufficient] of a monopoly. Microsoft wants to lock you into their platform so they invest in otherwise good tools and then lock them down.

Visual Studio strives DESPITE windows. Many people use it for things other than writing windows applications. More people would use it if it worked under other OSes [e.g. port it to Qt]

Tom

Why don't they... (2, Funny)

nascarguy27 (984493) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900089)

Why not call it DirectX 10, and release it with Vista? Heck, by the time Vista is released, it may be DirectX 11.

2 years for adoption (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900112)

Considering the fact that DirectX10 is only available on Vista and that 50% of employers say they are not going to purchase (14% if which say they will wait 15 months before evaluating), it's a safe bet to say that we won't be seeing any games that use DirectX10 for at least 2 years.

Anyone REQUIRING it before then will be severely limiting their consumer base; games failing to be picked up due to a small consumer base will also affect the adoption rate since other game manufacturers will be watching those games that first launch with it.

In alot of ways, Vista is a major gamble for Microsoft and one that alot of people say is going to fail. Only time will tell. In alot of ways, I'm glad that OpenGL development has been put into high gear. This may cause game manufacturers to change tactics since OpenGL is supported on ALL OS's.

Re:2 years for adoption (1)

JorDan Clock (664877) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900146)

I don't think employers care about DirectX 10. Last I checked, most jobs don't encourage playing games on company computers, let alone the latest games.

Besides, that time frame sounds about right for how long DirectX 9 games came along. Atleast, the ones that really utilized it. I'm pretty sure the pattern is the same for each iteration of DirectX: The API is released on X date but it isn't until X+1 year that we see games that really use it. Heck, DirectX 9 is still being pushed further and further with games.

Re:2 years for adoption (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900292)

Yes but they are still a good measure of how the consumer base will respond. Also, governments and businesses are the biggest early adopters. And from the same poll 14% hadn't even heard of Vista.

You can probably safely bet that with the exception of hardcore gamers, these statistiocs will probably transfer to the average consumer as well. Those purchasing Vista will also be in for a suprise due to the monitor DRM and will probably re-install XP before purchasing a new monitor... especially if gas prices continue to climb and the consumer gets squeezed for expendable income.

Re:2 years for adoption (4, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900148)

Considering [...] DirectX10 is only available on Vista and that 50% of employers say they are not going to purchase [soon], it's a safe bet to say that we won't be seeing any games [...] for at least 2 years.

I think I found the flaw in your logic. Employers != Consumers.

The fact is, games will probably drive Vista adoption more than any other factor save factory pre-installs. We proabaly won't see much requiring DX10 for a year or more, but that is because most big games take 1-3 years to develop so that's about the earliest that we'll see stuff.

This may cause game manufacturers to change tactics since OpenGL is supported on ALL OS's.

That fact has always been true, and it hasn't made much of a difference so far, even back when OpenGL and DirectX were much closer in abilities (without needing extensions and such).

Re:2 years for adoption (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900265)

The majority of 3D titles for the PC released for next year's Christmas season will probably have dual Direct3D 9 and 10 support. We'll probably see some of that for titles released this year. This isn't something I know from inside info, it's just duh, common sense. Game developers live on the bleeding edge, but they have to support somewhat older hardware as well, they're used to this sh*t.

Re:2 years for adoption (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900299)

Employers do not equalk consumers... this is true. However this is a good measure of the market. Plus considering that Vista will have monitor DRM, early adopters (aside from hardcore gamers) may not find having to buy a whole new monitor acceptable especially if gas prices continue to rise and put a crimp on the expendable income of the average consumer.

It's not just the perceivable costs but the unperceived costs that will affect adoption.

Re:2 years for adoption (1)

Trogre (513942) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900230)

Yes but how many employers back in '01 said they weren't going to purchase XP? And now, they are all borg.

Re:2 years for adoption (1)

Foofoobar (318279) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900378)

XP had a LARGE DEGREE of backward compatibility... from what I have read about Vista, this won't be the case.

Re:2 years for adoption (1)

iroll (717924) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900383)

Five. Years. Later. And the PC I have at work still runs Win2k. So what's your point? You can't expect from that comment that they would have stayed with Win2k indefinitely; as it was, they often became borg by rolling out new boxes, not by actively upgrading old ones. Look for the same to happen w/Vista--call it "adaptation by attrition." /Fox News, I hold a copyright on that phrase.

revenue protection (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900275)

I see this as forced revenue protection rather than progress. Why are they bothering to release info about 10.1 when 10 isn't even out yet... let alone being used to full potential. This is typical MS. "We're failing now... but look what we'll do next." It's old.

Re:2 years for adoption (1)

banz23 (737504) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900389)

Halo 2 will be DirectX10 only. This is a simple ploy to help get gamers to upgrade, although I imagine most people will just play it on the 360 instead.

No company should want DX 10+ (2, Insightful)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900127)

Why would any company want to lose out on the win98,2000,XP crowd when they market their game? Only Microsoft has any interest in selling stuff that uses DX10+. To me DX10+ is dumb, stupid, and inane.

Re:No company should want DX 10+ (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900157)

Hate to tell you but a lot of recent games don't support 98. It took several years for XP gain that spot though, so don't expect Vista adoption to be immedient either.

Who wants to lose their old dos games (1)

CrazyJim1 (809850) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900209)

I think Win98 is the way to go for Dos game playing. Dos emulators don't seem advanced enough for me, I tried one and the framerate was exceedingly slow, like 1 frame per 5 seconds.

Re:Who wants to lose their old dos games (1)

Talchas (954795) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900361)

Which one was that? I use dosbox and it works with everything I've tried it on, mostly master of orion 1 and master of magic.

Re:Who wants to lose their old dos games (1)

ConceptJunkie (24823) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900401)

You are clearly doing something wrong, or your emulator is broken, or you're trying to run a DOS emulator on a 386-20.

Holding Out (1)

Riddler Sensei (979333) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900130)

I think I'm gonna hold out for DirectX 10.11: For Workgroups. But really, I'm a bit tired of game websites across the net losing their loads over the prospect of DirectX 10. As far as features are concerned, I fail to see what is getting people so worked up about it over OpenGL.

DirectX shuts out porting of games to LINUX/Mac (4, Insightful)

Danathar (267989) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900138)

It used to be that games used both OpenGL and DirectX (especially before Direct3d had the features to compete with OpenGL), but since game developers have made windoze their PC development platform, direct3d has become the defacto graphics library to use. One of the reasons there was no Half-Life 2 native LINUX/Mac port is because there was no OpenGL development and Valve had no inclination to do MAJOR programming work to make it work with OpenGL.

Until somebody writes a game that does something on LINUX/MAC that can't be done on windows because of the underlying OS that is successful I doubt if we'll see any change.

Re:DirectX shuts out porting of games to LINUX/Mac (2, Interesting)

MBCook (132727) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900158)

They simply don't care. The fact is Half-Life was one of the best selling games of all time. They promised a Mac port and showed it off in '98 or '99 but it was never released. I don't think that was because of DirectX.

Actually one of the things that I've heard about the Mac is Havok is a problem. It runs, and Havok as written a port, but no one is willing to pay for it (they have to pay for the port and the license, despite the fact it is already complete). I think I got this from MacGamer, but I'm not sure.

Re:DirectX shuts out porting of games to LINUX/Mac (1)

GaryPatterson (852699) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900379)

Although I sympathise (particularly as I'm a Mac user), the more important point is that it locks devs out of the Playstation and Nintendo markets.

In these days of massive development costs, any game dev company not looking with one eye to porting is making poor financial decisions.

DX10 sounds like it's going to be great. I want OpenGL to match and exceed it though, to spur devs to use it for the portability it provides.

Tired of these articles. (2, Insightful)

aquaepulse (990849) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900165)

But not for the obvious reasons. I'm tired of these articles because then the woodwork of MS bashers comes out and says the same tired comments over and over again. "MS is just doing this so everyone has to buy Vista!" "There is no reason why DX10 can't be backported to XP!" It's like these people never saw these articles posted before, and they really feel like they are making some new contribution. They are not.

Re:Tired of these articles. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900380)

To be fair, many posters may have missed the previous articles. What we need to solve this problem is more re-posted articles. Any article that is worth posting should be worth re-posting at least three times.

OpenGL vs. DirectX (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900180)

After years of pushing DirectX, Nvidia is now betting on OpenGL and has promised first class OpenGL support for their upcoming cards. What does this mean? At the very least it means that there must be good reason for choosing OpenGL over DirectX. Also, keep in mind that OpenGL is an actual graphics standard whereas DirectX is not. Both will co-exist for the next couple of years but it is likely that in the long run OpenGL leaves DirectX in the dust.

Re:OpenGL vs. DirectX (5, Informative)

Tolleman (606762) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900257)

nVidia has always had excellent support for OpenGL. And concidering that alot of the guys at nVidia is former SGI employees, SGI being the ones that made OpenGL, they've always been OpenGL fans. So basicly, is anything you wrote correct?

Re:OpenGL vs. DirectX (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900400)

So basicly [sic], is anything you write polite?

Even more vaporware ! (1)

alexhs (877055) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900205)

Impressive ! DirectX 10.0 isn't even released, yet their PR department is already selling us 10.1 ! Wow ! What about the features for the OS they're planning to release in 2020 ?

Re:Even more vaporware ! (4, Funny)

tverbeek (457094) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900277)

I'm especially looking forward to DirectX11, which will reportedly be based on the XFree86 4.4 implementation of X11 (under a new license, of course).

Not a fanboi (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#15900233)

I'm not an MS fanboy, but to those people who complain that its not good to make Vista-only games because its such a small market, are the same people who complain that there aren't enough games for Linux/Mac. I don't have statistics yet but its pretty much guaranteed that no matter how small, Vista will still have a bigger market share than Linux and Mac combined. I'm not trolling. This is reality.

Those wacky Elite Bastards. (1)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900236)

Usually a /. ed webserver just means I'll revist the article later. A non event.(Doesnt stop me posting though).

But this one tickled my fancy.

"Elite" implies they are impervious to /.

The "Bastards" part implies they will kick my ass if I ever deemed challenge them(Which would be a waste of time as I am not worthy).

Its odd. As I trudge nostril deep through the sewerage that is my work place, this "page cannot be displayed" bought me a smile. And my day feels better for it. Thanks Elite good guys.

Thanks, glad to provide a smile. (1)

digitalwanderer (49695) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900296)

The name actually has a lot longer story behind it, and once we had it and started getting popular we were just stuck with it. The idea was to make it offensive enough to keep people away...y'know, to keep the riff-raff out. ;)

The name doesn't mean what you think, but I got a smile reading your interpretation of it. :)

Good buisness strategy (1)

Spikeles (972972) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900300)

This is good buisness strategy, it allows Developers and Users to see that Microsoft has a plan for the future and is fixing it in stone now so that games/programs can be planned well in advance. It can take years to write a good game(scene) engine, so by finalizing the requirements for DX 10.1, they can start planning and perhaps even writing their engines now to take advantage of the features to be present.

When DX9 first came out alot of the games were still coming out 1 or 2 versions behind the current release of DX because of the costs to change to the new version half-way through were too prohibitive

Same goes for vid card manufacturers, whether DX10.1 will be released 2 or 10 years in the future is irrelevant, by planning it now, the major vid card makers can start planning their buisness models for the future cards too. ( Wow.. that's a scary thought, one company to RULE them all and in the darkness bind them??? ).

It also gives the Khronos Group ( the guys that now handle OpenGL ) a chance to see what Microsoft has in store and to counter them by making sure the next releases of the OpenGL spec match or exceed the functionality of DX10.1

Great another 'standard' (-1, Redundant)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900369)

Another standard that the whole 'Information wants to be free' crowd will gladly embrace, since it allows them to play ExtremeFooDeathFPS9000. This same crowd will then rail against the MS monopoly and how they installed Gentoo using the tweaks at funroll-loops.org, and then line up outside Best Buy to buy the new XBox. The final screams of futility will be when they swap stories about how great SGI was and wouldn't it be wicked cool if they still made machines.

DirectX is MS koolaid nothing more. As such, it will be updated from time to time. It will probably get better. Eventually there will be 3d effects in the Window Manager (or is that called "Explorer.exe"?). Big whoop. Next up, MS updates 'Solitaire', lets discuss.

Beta? (3, Funny)

bky1701 (979071) | more than 7 years ago | (#15900375)

Doesn't this officially make 10.0 a beta? It's outdated before realise; sounds beta to me...
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