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Valve To Support DX10 With Episode 2

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the really-really-shiny-alyx-vance dept.

Graphics 96

In an interview with Game Informer from last week, representatives from Valve confirmed that they'll be supporting DirectX 10 functionality in the release of Half-Life 2: Episode 2 and Team Fortress 2. This will be the case even for those folks who haven't upgraded to Vista yet. No worries if you don't have a DX10 card, though. They've got functionality nailed all the way back to DirectX 8, and are trying to push it all the way back to 7.

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96 comments

Screw you Valve (3, Interesting)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363337)

I love the Half Life series, but I really hope they didn't delay Ep2 just so they could put DX10 in there. What happened to the short development and low cost of episodic gaming? This is just another slap in the face for fans of the series.

Delay (2, Insightful)

fistfullast33l (819270) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363419)

I don't think the delay was primarily DX10. I think between both next gen consoles and DX10 migration, they had their hands full. They had to develop code for both the hardware and the network for each console, which takes a pretty long time. They figured that it'd probably take them a while to put this one out, but they figured that after this they had the channels set up to deploy episodes much more quickly for the next gen products.

Re:Delay (1)

ShadowsHawk (916454) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363655)

Yours is a far more moderate response to the news than mine and probably more accurate. I suppose I'm still a little bitter about the moderately high cost and the extremely long wait.

Re:Delay (1)

*weasel (174362) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364261)

Their hands are so full... they had idle time to add DX10 compatibility?

From the gamer's perspective, the benefit of episodic gaming is to refocus on the content.
The frustration comes from Valve paying lip-service to that idea, while still focused on the technology behind the content. Valve broke an implicit shift in priorities.

If the console versions were causing the delay, then they should have been delayed and the PC Episode 2 should've been on Steam months and months ago.

Just as long as (1)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364899)

Just as long as they continue to support DX9 fully, I don't really care. I'd rather have them support OpenGL, but that's wishing for the whole pie.

Re:Delay (3, Insightful)

PingSpike (947548) | more than 7 years ago | (#18366753)

I agree. This is whats so annoying. Valve positions themselves as the champion of episodic gaming, then when it comes time for execution they do virtually everything completely wrong. Its like they don't even actually understand what episodic games are suppose to be. I personally don't care for episodic games, but understanding that there is a audience out there hungry for them its pretty annoying to watch valve botch delivery over and over again.

Its "release often" with new levels and story. Thats it. You must meet the release date to make episodic gaming work. I guess its not surprising that valve, who in their short history has made their name a synonym for delays screws this up so bad. Is something holding the release up? Then cut it. Console ports? New graphical features? Cut it, and release it later. There will be more episodes, you can include the features then. And your stuff comes over the steam platform...release now, add that crap later. Parent said, the focus is on content...and I'd say content delivered regularly.

Its in the name, episodic. They want people to come home on friday (end of the month, quarter, whatever) and go "Oh good! Its X day! I'll go buy the latest episode off of steam!" The very idea of episodic gaming business model is that it becomes habit to buy the episodes. This doesn't work if the people come home and go "Oh good! Its X day!" and then find out the episodic is delayed until next tuesday. You move the schedule around and they're going to stop looking out for the release. You can't expect people to make buying your games a habit if you can't make releasing it on time a habit too. And here's a little secret...all the episodes don't even have to be good, just the first few and most of the rest. Same way with TV shows, even my favorite shows have crummy episodes that I watch anyway because...its a habit.

Re:Delay (1)

pureevilmatt (711216) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370123)

Some delays are alright with me so long as a decent finished product is delivered... what's not alright, is when the episode will eventually get canceled before it's complete, but after you've invested in the first couple episodes. Look at what happened to "Sin: Episodes", IIRC, it was the first episodic game pimped by valve... I bought it, played it, had a bit of fun... was actually anticipating the second episode, and bamn, Ritual gets bought out, their developers leave, and the second installment is postponed "indefinitely". Fuck episodic gaming.

Re:Delay (1)

shut_up_man (450725) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371143)

I totally agree. Although they're throwing the word episodic around, Valve is doing expansion packs the same way they did with HL1. I'm beginning to wonder whether they're even capable of doing it (and this may not be such a bad thing). It requires a different way of development than what they're used to... fast, brutal and simplistic. Can't get that scripted event working in a week? It's gone. The main level only looks good instead of great? Tough cookies. Find a show-stopping bug an hour before release? Well... hmmm.

Valve seems like they're perfectionists, and it shows in their games. They polish, polish, polish, tweak, test and test again, and it shows. I'm not sure they would be able to deal with a hard and fast schedule.

Re:Screw you Valve (1, Troll)

illeism (953119) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363423)

Maybe Micro$oft got to them and brainwashed them into adding support for Vista...

Re:Screw you Valve (1)

Samdroid (1001824) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363595)

Since Windows is the primary gaming OS and vista is the latest release of Windows, I expect valve to include full support for Vista.

Re:Screw you Valve (1)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365291)

Since XP is the version of Window mosts gamers have I would expect value to include "full support" for XP.

Re:Screw you Valve (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18366595)

Ok, so they'll have full support for XP with DX 9, and full support for Vista with DX 10. What's the problem?

Re:Screw you Valve (1)

PoderOmega (677170) | more than 7 years ago | (#18367275)

I guess if by "full support" you mean they test it with that OS and you can submit tech support issues to them without a "we don't support that OS" response. I was thinking more along the lines there would be "cool effects" in Vista that they don't support in XP.

I guess I am more frustrated by the fact they plugged eposodic gaming as being more frequent, yet now they are annoucing DX10 features after delaying the game twice. If the game was still on the original schedule and they wanted to add DX10 or even EGA graphics support I really wouldn't care.

Re:Screw you Valve (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364865)

Or maybe Valve is just interested in getting the most out of the Source engine as possible, and DX10 allows them to explore and expand it even more?

Re:Screw you Valve (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365005)

Maybe Micro$oft got to them and brainwashed them into adding support for Vista..

while maintaining backwards compatibility with older versions of DX 10 and Windows is a good thing,
Vista and DX 10 aren't going away:

Intel's Crestline integrated graphics to run DirectX 10 [engadget.com], NVIDIA's GeForce 8600 series brings DX10 without breaking the bank [engadget.com]

Details of NVIDIA's upcoming GeForce 8600 series have been revealed, with the 8600 GT going for roughly $150 and the 8600 Ultra demanding a $180 price tag... The specs aren't anything to sneeze at, either, with both 8600 cards being built with an 80nm process and 300 million transistors. The GT runs at 350MHz, with 256MB of RAM to call its own, while the Ultra sports a 500MHz core, with 512MB of memory.

Re:Screw you Valve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363523)

i just love how you just to such an unfounded conclusion. you must be a real asshat.

Re:Screw you Valve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363999)

oh fuck you you worthless pantsshitting nerd

Re:Screw you Valve (1)

Chazmyrr (145612) | more than 7 years ago | (#18367215)

No, they made the mistake of tying it to the release of Team Fortress 2. The HL guys will probably have Ep2 running on DX12 by the time TF2 is actually ready to go.

Re:Screw you Valve (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18367793)

The Half-Life series still has fans? After years and years nothingness from Valve, we got two crummy sequels and... Steam... blah.

DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

andersbergh (884714) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363571)

How do they access DX10 features in the Source engine on XP? If that is the case, why upgrade to Vista for DX10 at all?

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (2, Informative)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363669)

MS has said that DX10 will be Vista only, so if you are using XP you won't be able to use any of the DX10 features of the Source engine. Of course when MS realizes that almost nobody is buying/using Vista and DX10, they'll make a port for DX10 back to XP. They just won't do it for a year or two.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

Ramble (940291) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363709)

I doubt MS is going to rewrite major parts of it's kernel and driver system just to make someone who spends £500 on a DX10 card buy can't afford £80 on Vista happy.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364299)

It's not a question of MS wanting to make people who can't afford Vista happy. Most people can afford Vista, they just don't want it (for very good reasons). And since MS has been wooing game developers and card manufacturers with the promise of DX10 being the greatest advance in gaming since texture and lighting engines, its safe to bet that MS will be forced to port DX10 back to XP due to the low uptake of Vista. Vista, as a whole, is crap. It took over 5 years to complete and at most it's Windows with a prettier interface (Max OSX) with a very very annoying security system and no drivers (Linux). Why pay $250 - $500 for an operating system 5 years behind the times that doesn't give you anything over XP but DX10?

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

balthan (130165) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364723)

its safe to bet that MS will be forced to port DX10 back to XP due to the low uptake of Vista.

You're forgetting the part that if DX10 was actually available for XP, you'd still need to wait for the video card companies to develop new drivers. It's not going to happen. That's too much time and money.

Not going to happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18364993)

... its safe to bet that MS will be forced to port DX10 back to XP due to the low uptake of Vista.
Forced? How could they be forced? Who can exert that much pressure on MS?

Why pay $250 - $500 for an operating system 5 years behind the times that doesn't give you anything over XP but DX10?
The same reason people spend that same amount on a new graphics card: games. People will upgrade to Vista to play the shooter du jour. Microsoft would be making a huge mistake to give up Vista's only "killer app". The only circumstance I see that could compel them to port DX10 back to XP is if they faced a realistic challenge to their dominance as the platform for PC gaming. I would really like to see that happen, but it doesn't appear to be coming soon.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18365047)

Damn. Bring something to the table rather than just regurgitated slashdot doctrine. Or are you that hard up for karma? Wow, you're a moron.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365071)

Every complaint lodged about vista was lodged against XP, 2000, and 95 but people bought those. "Oooh, those rounded window edges are destroying all my CPU cycles. What, I need a pentium 3 just to run windows? F U microsoft! There arent any 32 bit apps, this 95 stuff is bullcrap!"

There's no reason to upgrade existing hardware to vista, but new machines will ship with it, or it will be installed by the gamer building his own rig.

It's like thinking Nintendo would release a wii-mote for the N64 or Gamecube.

You dont have to buy a new graphics card to run vista. You have to buy vista to get the most out of your new graphics card. Just like you had to get 98SE to get the most out of your new USB ports.

Driver and app support will trickle in like always, and eventually the "annoying security feature" will go away. We all know it's the apps fault, and we've all been squawking about fixing those problems for years. Now, they have to.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (2, Interesting)

7Prime (871679) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365705)

To a certain degree, I agree, but it is getting worse.

When Windows 95, everyone jumped on board, at least, most tried to and did so fairly quickly. Windows 98 came along, people were fine with jumping on fairly quickly. Even ME came out, and a lot of unfortunate fools decided to upgrade. But then when XP came out, people were a lot more reluctant (possibly because of the ME debacle), in fact, if anything, XP showed people how similar 2000 was, and MANY companies simply "upgraded" to 2000, and went for years without upgrading to XP. Only just a year ago, in 2006, many computers in the company I work for ran 2000. Now, it's probably accurate to say that a good 90% are on XP, and people are fairly comfortable with XP, but aren't willing to switch. So, at this point, Microsoft, in about 3 cycles, has gotten about an entire cycle out of sync with the public. So, yes, Vista isn't going away, but upgrade adoption of Windows versions IS getting undeniably slower, so things are changing. Interestingly, if MS had been able to release Vista two years ago, they probably would have gotten A LOT more adopters.

The bottom line is that Microsoft's constant delays are bringing to attention a lot of concerns about the quality of their product line. The result is that the slower Microsoft becomes in releasing new versions, the slower, still, the public will be to snatch it up.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18368885)

I went from Windows 3.0 to 3.11, and it was a big improvement. I went from 3.11 to NT 4.0, and it was a huge step up; proper pre-emptive multitasking and protected memory meant no more application-caused crashes (still a few driver-related ones, but it wasn't too bad). A few DOS apps didn't run, but the only one I remember was Laplink (which used the parallel port directly), and that was obsolete almost as soon as I got a network card. There were a few games, though, that required me to reboot into DOS (but I was used to that; you couldn't run most games in Windows 3.11 either). Then DirectX happened, and I started having to keep a Windows 9x partition around (although Quake ran nicely in NT).

Then came Windows 2000. Finally, I got the plug and play stuff and DirectX that the 9x branch had had. The student license for 2000 was the same price as '98, so it was a no-brainer. Then, only about a year later, came XP. It had... a really ugly theme. Oh, and some appallingly bad UI choices. And was slightly slower. It had remote desktop, but almost everything else was a step backwards, so I didn't bother. I do actually have an XP partition on my ThinkPad, but only because Microsoft hand out licenses like candy to computer science students. I occasionally boot it to play games that are too new to run in DOSBox. I gradually found I was spending more and more time on my Windows box running a full-screen X session to my FreeBSD box. FreeBSD didn't quite have the laptop support, so I got a Mac. I haven't even tried Vista yet - it seems to have no compelling features that would make me want to, and yet I was running Windows 2000 from beta 2.

Meanwhile, game developers started emphasising copy protection. Copy protection used to be something you bothered with when you installed the game, and then forgot about. Used to be, being the operative phrase. It started to be something that got in the way when you were playing the game too. Steam was the worst offender, but games that required the CD in during play were a big problem for laptop gamers (spinning the CD while using the GPU and CPU generates a lot of heat, and spinning the CD while mobile dramatically cuts battery life). This article is telling me that a company that lost my custom due to its anti-customer attitude is supporting a technology from a company that lost my custom due to their inadequate products. I guess I shouldn't be surprised.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371015)

Interestingly, if MS had been able to release Vista two years ago, they probably would have gotten A LOT more adopters.

What makes you say that ?

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18365075)

If you seriously think people won't adopt Vista I want you to bookmark this post and read it again in two years. Of course there will be lots of people who don't, but the mass market of people who don't really give a shit will inevitably end up on Vista - it came with their PC.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365761)

It's not a question of MS wanting to make people who can't afford Vista happy. Most people can afford Vista, they just don't want it

the Slashdot Geek doesn't want it - but the Slashdot Geek isn't Vista's market.

on Day 1 of Vista's release Walmart.com had thirty Vista systems ready for sale against one lone OEM Linux box.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

bluemonq (812827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18366953)

> Most people can afford Vista, they just don't want it (for very good reasons). Most people don't buy OSes, they just buy the computer that it comes installed on.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (0)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370993)

It's not a question of MS wanting to make people who can't afford Vista happy. Most people can afford Vista, they just don't want it (for very good reasons).

What are these "very good reasons" that apply solely to Vista ?

And since MS has been wooing game developers and card manufacturers with the promise of DX10 being the greatest advance in gaming since texture and lighting engines, its safe to bet that MS will be forced to port DX10 back to XP due to the low uptake of Vista.

As GP said, Microsoft aren't going to spend major $$$ modifying XP so DX10 can be ported when the target audience is people playing games on relatively expensive hardware. If they can afford the hardware, they can afford Vista.

Vista, as a whole, is crap. It took over 5 years to complete and at most it's Windows with a prettier interface (Max OSX) with a very very annoying security system and no drivers (Linux). Why pay $250 - $500 for an operating system 5 years behind the times that doesn't give you anything over XP but DX10?

Ah, I see, you only know about Vista from the FUD on Slashdot. That explains your ignorance.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

Aadain2001 (684036) | more than 7 years ago | (#18378919)

I've used the Vista betas. My first though when I used them were "pretty", just like when I used Mac OSX for the first time. After that, I wasn't impressed by its functionality or features. Now if we had gone from Windows 95/98 to that then I would agree it was worth the wait and the price. But from XP to Vista, it really isn't much of an upgrade.

Also, what makes you think they don't already have a port for DX10 for XP ready or almost complete? They wouldn't release it right now because it would directly compete with one of the selling points on Vista, but they could see it as necessary if Vista doesn't sell well right out of the gate.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18398343)

I've used the Vista betas. My first though when I used them were "pretty", just like when I used Mac OSX for the first time. After that, I wasn't impressed by its functionality or features. Now if we had gone from Windows 95/98 to that then I would agree it was worth the wait and the price. But from XP to Vista, it really isn't much of an upgrade.

From a software perspective the change is significant. On the same order of Apple's re-engineering of NeXTSTEP to get to OS X 10.2.

Vista is a large upgrade and improvement over XP in basically every way. If you don't find it compelling, that's more of a compliment to XP than it is criticism of Vista.

Also, what makes you think they don't already have a port for DX10 for XP ready or almost complete? They wouldn't release it right now because it would directly compete with one of the selling points on Vista, but they could see it as necessary if Vista doesn't sell well right out of the gate.

Because it would be a monumental waste of time and developer effort. "Porting" DX10 to XP would require non-trivial changes to XP, a product now over 5 years old and soon to be entering its EOL phase. Further, for most of the people who would be interested in DX10 (higher-end gamers) the software cost of upgrading to Vista is a drop in the bucket compared to yearly upgrades of video cards, CPUs, etc.

In short, there is no real reason to put DX10 on XP, nor is there ever likely to be. The proportion of customers wanting DX10 but not prepared to upgrade to Vista will be insignificant.

Vista's uptake isn't slow because it's bad, it's slow because XP is good enough. When DX10 games start showing up in real numbers, XP will no longer be at the "good enough" stage (at least for some people) and Vista uptake will increase.

DX10 isn't really very different... (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369587)

All this "DX10" is mostly just marketing fluff.

There's not really no need to rewrite kernels or anything like that to get it working on XP - just remove the backwards compatibility code of DX9 and put the new shaders in.

I am soooo hoping you're right. (1)

Knnniggit (800801) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363857)

DX10 is pretty much all Vista has going for it, as far as I'm concerned. I'll probably forgo getting Vista entirely and switch to Linux eventually. Maybe someone will make a DX10 compatability layer for XP, or even Wine or Cedega.

Re:I am soooo hoping you're right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18368501)

The DirectX 10 API work will likely be part of this year's Google SoC. Several people have stated interest, even though doing the basic setup was described as 'boring' and 'too easy' by possible mentors. DX10 is mostly the same as DX9, so the initial work is to create a DX10 interface that will reroute DX10 calls through the WineD3D interface. That should get DX10 stuff up and rendering, though some features will be missing. Then comes the bit-by-bit work of adding the DX10-specific stuff on top.

  Several people have noted that it should be possible to run Wine's DirectX on Windows with a little effort, which means that in a year or so you may have a way to run DX10 stuff on XP.
  - mantar

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18364463)

Are you still using XP? LOL. Oldtimer.

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

brkello (642429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365647)

Which DX10 features? The ones that make games run slower than in XP? (I'm kidding, sort of)

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (3, Funny)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363779)

> How do they access DX10 features in the Source engine on XP? If that is the case, why upgrade to Vista for DX10 at all?

Today: "Valve to support DX10 with Episode 2"
The Mysterious Future: "Microsoft to support DX10 on XP with the release of Duke Nukem Forever."

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365021)

How do they access DX10 features in the Source engine on XP?

They don't, those features simply won't be available, just as things like HDR aren't available to people with cards that don't support them.

Remember, "$foo will support $bar" is different to "$foo will require $bar".

Re:DX10 on Windows XP? (1)

elFarto the 2nd (709099) | more than 7 years ago | (#18368567)

How do they access DX10 features in the Source engine on XP?

Use OpenGL? OpenGL has extensions added by NVIDIA to do all the stuff DX10 can do, on any OS you can get their drivers for (Windows 2000/XP, Linux, FreeBSD, Solaris).

Regards
elFarto

DirectX 7 (1)

oskard (715652) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363589)

"They've got functionality nailed all the way back to DirectX 8, and are trying to push it all the way back to 7."

With a few simple commands in the console, the Source engine currently supports DirectX 7, although it is sometimes buggy and displays a few textures improperly. I believe the Episode 2 engine should have no problem performing at least on the same level as the current iteration.

Re:DirectX 7 (1)

EnsilZah (575600) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364323)

I fail to see the point of this, i just checked Wikipedia and apperantly GeForce 3 series supports DX8.
I doubt anyone having older GPUs is going to be able to do much with any Source games anyway and would not be anywhere near the target audience.

Re:DirectX 7 (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18368959)

My guess would be that they are aiming for the growing mobile gaming market. Currently, Intel (or possibly whoever bought their XScale business; I'm not sure if mobile GPUs were part of the deal) are selling an improved version of the PowerVR-based chip used in the Dreamcast for mobile devices. I believe nVidia are selling something similar in power to the original GeForce. Getting their engine working on DirectX 7 would mean scaling it down to the kind of GPU you can get in a high-end PDA-type device now. This means, the kind of GPU you will get in a mobile phone in the next 2-3 years. The mobile phone market is a lot bigger than the PC market, and is growing at an incredible rate.

Re:DirectX 7 (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370871)

Actually, the engine supports graphics cards supporting features from right back to DirectX 6.0 [valvesoftware.com].

From a design point of view, surfaces in the game are defined by materials [valvesoftware.com], which include however many texture references and shader parameters as are necessary for each set of hardware features. The difficult thing about backwards-compatibility is more making sure that there's always a fairly good-looking fallback for lesser hardware - meaning a fancy shader effect might have to be replaced with something much cruder. Neglecting to do so might result in an important prop, character or whatever appearing as wireframe or a magenta-and-black checkerboard.

The DirectX 10 support in Episode 2 is more just forwards compatibility, I imagine - I wouldn't be surprised if the visual enhancements were very subtle, but nice nevertheless for people with the necessary hardware and software. Other changes might make the rendering pipeline more efficient, or whatever it is DirectX boasts about. Plus, with the materials system, it's more just a task for engine programmers and artists - updated materials will slot straight into previously designed maps. The actual, time-consuming gameplay design and implementation can run entirely in parallel, done by completely different people...

dx10 in xp is impossible - they meant fast+AA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363609)

That's an ambiguous sentence, I'll give you that. But it will be clarified to: "We meant dx10 cards are fast at dx9, and they have new/nice AA bits." NOT dx10 under xp. If it was an openGL engine, they could use 'dx10 hardware features' under xp.

I'm confused. . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363613)

I thought DX10 features were vista-only. Is Valve trying to say that: "You'll still be able to run our DX10 game (albeit in DX9.0 mode)- even if you don't have vista" , or did they actually manage to support DX10 on xp?

Re:I'm confused. . . (2, Insightful)

amuro98 (461673) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364457)

Valve is saying that Episode 2 will support DX 9 AND 10 (AND 8 and...7?) If you have Vista and a DX10 compatible video card you'll be using DX10.

If you're like the rest of the world, and still using XP, you'll use DX9 (or 8 - I guess depending on your video card.)

Right now, there is no way to use DX10 under anything other than Vista.

Re:I'm confused. . . (1)

Raynor (925006) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364617)

This is so that 5 years from now when Vista SP2 comes out and it is finally worthwhile to switch over you can go back to episode 2 and play it (in anticipation for the soon-to-be released episode 3).

Re:I'm confused. . . (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18365359)

Wow. I wonder why they would put in all that effort when they could develop against OpenGL+OpenAL and get all Windows versions working in addition to OS X and Linux support.

Re:I'm confused. . . (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#18368957)

Probably because it was built as a DirectX engine, and selling to Linux users is worth around 1000 sales and a huge spike in piracy.

So far as Mac - who games on Mac?

You can rail til the end of time, but the only effect will be an increase in Slashdot karma (and you've even forsworn that.)

Re:I'm confused. . . (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371075)

Wow. I wonder why they would put in all that effort when they could develop against OpenGL+OpenAL and get all Windows versions working in addition to OS X and Linux support.

Probably they save more money using DX than they they would make selling to the 0.1% of the market who plays games but doesn't have a Windows box to do it with.

opengl? (1)

Aleshus (1075827) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363653)

I thought that the HL II was written at opengl wasn't it??

Re:opengl? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363771)

You might be thinking of the original half-life, which allowed you to play in either openGL or DirectX modes (IIRC). Half-Life2 was DirectX only.

Re:opengl? (1)

AP2k (991160) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363895)

You can still use the -gl arguement to render some OpenGL at least in Counter-Strike:Source. However, playing in linux on an MX440 Mobile with the latest drivers doesnt work out too well, so I cant be certain exactly how much OpenGL rendering it actually does.

DX10 on XP (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363731)

Is Valve simply accessing the graphics card directly instead of going through DX10 to achieve this functionality on XP? Does anyone know?

Re:DX10 on XP (1)

ADRA (37398) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364379)

Like any other sane engine, they'll have multiple code paths depending on what system you're using. I can't imagine that Valve will keep DX8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 support much into the future, but they'd be a bunch of idiots to dump DX9 any time soon.

Dual core? (1)

Library Spoff (582122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363737)

What about Dual core support?
Wasn't steam/half life 2 engine supposed to have this when episode 2 came out?

Thats of more interest to me...

(I won't go on again about how i can't get cs:s to work on my Athlon 64x2 setup
as someone will tell me to try stuff i've already tried.
yes i've tried the hotfix etc)

Re:Dual core? (1)

irc.goatse.cx troll (593289) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363993)

I won't go on again about how i can't get cs:s to work on my Athlon 64x2 setup
as someone will tell me to try stuff i've already tried.

Have you tried giving up and switching to a game where developers actually support and improve their products? Pretty much the only option when dealing with Valve.

Re:Dual core? (1)

smaddox (928261) | more than 7 years ago | (#18366503)

When you find a game developer who supports and improves their products released several years ago better than valve does, you come and tell me, and I might try them out.

Re:Dual core? (1)

Dr. Eggman (932300) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364555)

I don't have the link, but a recent video interview did mention they are excited about having multicore processing, so there's been no announcement that they have dropped working on that. However, they have repeatedly said that you don't really start to see benefits (on the developer's side) until you reach quad-core. The quad-core statement was said not too long ago in an article detailing how they were trying to implement multi-core processing in a scalable manner, which from the article sounded pretty tough. If I had to make two guesses what caused the delay, it be either their multicore implementation or the console work.

In addition, considering the XBox 360 supports directx 10 and both the xbox 360 and PS3 are some premutations of multicore processing, I suppose it makes sense to try an integrate any cross-platform available features into a single scalable Source solution. I could see how their decision to delay now to do such a thing would speed the console adaption of later games based in the Source engine. It's not only a smart buisness decision, but it will benefit customers as well; no one wants a game to be delayed just because the engine has splintered and bloated up so badly that it takes independent teams significant work to port. If a delay now save time later and maintains coherency, I say its a good thing and eagerly await the results.

Oh, btw, the mulitcore article [slashdot.org] and a good suppliment article With Videos! [bit-tech.net] (on the 4th page. Woah, deja vu.)

Re:Dual core? (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 7 years ago | (#18381399)

"I won't go on again about how i can't get cs:s to work on my Athlon 64x2 setup"

I play CS:S every day with my Opteron x2 (939 pin), what exactly doesn't work? This should be the same processor type as the athlon64x2. I use a nforce 4 939 pin chipset..

For me it worked out of the box...meaning... I built the system, installed XP 32 bit, all of the latest drivers (as of Nov 2006) then installed steam (the downloadable client), logged in with my user account to generate the profile, then copied over all of my old files and restarted and it updated it to the latest settings. Voila works..

Same with any other game i played on my old athlon 468 box (although some games get freaky if you don't set affintity).

I can even run it without specifying affinity, although i like to just so I can multitask and avoid any glitchiness which seems to happen every so often.

You know what... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18363921)

Valve is great at making their games playable by nearly any kind of computer. For that I commend them.

The delays are a little lame, though.

Yeah, except Nintendo (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364527)

Valve is great at making their games playable by nearly any kind of computer.
Then when can I get a Valve game on my handheld game system or my Wii console? PS2 has Half-Life, and Xbox has Counter-Strike (which runs in Xbox 360 back-compat), but what can Wii play?

Re:Yeah, except Nintendo (1)

kv9 (697238) | more than 7 years ago | (#18366057)

PS2 has Half-Life, and Xbox has Counter-Strike (which runs in Xbox 360 back-compat), but what can Wii play?

Zelda Life?

Great but... (2, Insightful)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18363997)

...I would rather they spent time making the Source engine use openGL so that game developers would be able to use the Source engine on the Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, etc.

Unreal 3 is openGL hence why more companies are using that compared to Valve's Source engine. Hopefully they will get the hint sooner rather then later.

Both DirectX and openGL just tell the gfx card what to do. The fact that they decided to use DirectX which only works on Microsoft platforms for a game engine they're trying to license to other companies is pretty stupid from a business point of view.

Get paid not to port your engine (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364563)

The fact that they decided to use DirectX which only works on Microsoft platforms for a game engine they're trying to license to other companies is pretty stupid from a business point of view.
Unless Valve is getting a commission from Microsoft for each Source engine game that carries the "ONLY ON XBOX 360" logo.

Re:Great but... (5, Informative)

ardor (673957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364707)

...I would rather they spent time making the Source engine use openGL so that game developers would be able to use the Source engine on the Playstation 3, Nintendo Wii, etc.

Unreal 3 is openGL hence why more companies are using that compared to Valve's Source engine. Hopefully they will get the hint sooner rather then later.


You do realize that PS3 and the like use OpenGL ES, which is NOT the same as the GL on computers?
Besides, they have tons of custom extensions necessary to use these machines efficiently...

Oh, and forget about a Source rewrite for OpenGL. There just is not point in this. Direct3D works on the platform 96% of all PC gamers use. A rewrite is EXTREMELY time-consuming, because of the differences in the API designs. We're talking about at least a 6-month-delay here (very likely more).

Both DirectX and openGL just tell the gfx card what to do.
But not equally. GL binds sampler states to a texture, D3D binds them to sampler stages. D3D has +Z as "inward", OpenGL -Z. D3D has +Y as "down", OpenGL "up". There is no equivalent to an OpenGL rectangle texture in Direct3D. The GLSL API works quite differently than the HLSL one etc. Do you want to finance the rewrite, the bug-fixing, beta-testing?

The fact that they decided to use DirectX which only works on Microsoft platforms for a game engine they're trying to license to other companies is pretty stupid from a business point of view.

"Only" is quite funny. Windows is an enormous gaming platform. Also, you get Xbox support nearly for free. As for machines like the PS3 and the Wii, forget about having one universal engine for all of them. ALL AAA titles are written specifically for one title, and maybe ported to another, requiring substantial rewrites (this is why usually console titles arent ported to other consoles). Try porting Shadow Of The Colossus from PS2 to Wii for example.

Sorry, but your suggestions are absolutely suicidal for all but the wealthiest of all game development companies. Because of the ARB being much too slow, OpenGL stagnated in the important years 1996-2001. Heck, a decent render-to-texture mechanism got introduced 2005, while DirectX already had one 1998. OpenGL was in an excellent position back in the 90s: Direct3D 3 sucked, OpenGL was better, easier, finer. But if you have graphics card manufacturers and game developers on one side, demanding more features, and an obscenely slow ARB on the other side, there can be only one solution - create another API. Nowadays many codebases are D3D based precisely because OpenGL just sucked in the post-D3D7 era. And rewriting the entire codebase is suicide, as already said. Which is a shame, because OpenGL is pretty decent now, and if the OpenGL 3 rumors are right, it will rock.

Re:Great but... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365117)

Direct3D works on the platform 96% of all PC gamers use.
That may be a fact, but that doesn't mean it's right.

"Metroid works on the platform that 100% of all Nintendo gamers use." doesn't mean people on other consoles wouldn't want to play Metroid, either.

Direct X = Microsoft lock-in. Saying that "96% of PC gamers use it" is pointless since there's pratically no other choice.

OpenGL = Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, some consoles, etc. Even if slight tweaks or rewrites are required for some platforms, it's still easier than porting from Direct X, if at all.

Re:Great but... (1)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365229)

OpenGL ultimately means an inferior product. It's been true for a long while. The Windows customers you lose are hardly replaced by the white elephants of "people who only game on linux or mac osx, and dont have a windows partition for games".

As the parent said, PS2, Wii, and so ons implementations of OpenGL are, for all intents and purposes, proprietary languages of your own.

Direct X = Microsoft lock-in.

Writing a game for any console = lock-in, but like the parent said - developing for DX on windows, you pretty much get XBox for free. The same isn't true trying to get a PS3 or Wii game on windows.

Maybe Sony and Nintendo should play the same game, release implementations of their console software APIs for windows, to facilitate ports.

Given their stances on emulation, however, it's pretty clear that Sony and Nintendo absolutely loathe the PC as a gaming platform. Has Nintendo ever released a PC title? I can only think of those twinky little pokemon cds, which I would hardly call games, just more pokemon merch.

Sony or Nintendo could also design their APIs to be more in line with DirectX, or even license DX from Microsoft. The fact that they are so different is by their choice. They want their kingdoms, and full control over them.

Nintendo has no desire for you to play metroid on anything but Nintendo hardware.

Re:Great but... (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365689)

I agree with your posting, but want to go into detail about this point:
OpenGL ultimately means an inferior product. It's been true for a long while.

If you meant it from a purely technical POV - no. OpenGL 2.1 is on par with D3D 9. D3D 10 is another matter entirely, although OpenGL 3 seems like being at least on an equal level.

But the fact that 70-80% of the necessary functionality is in the extensions makes OpenGL in sum inferior. It is more expensive to develop for OpenGL than for Direct3D. With D3D I have a VERY GOOD documentation, tons of examples, all in *one* SDK. OpenGL? Everything is fragmented. There is GLee, GLEW etc. for extension handling, GLFW, GLUT, SDL and the like as a low-level handler layer for platform-specific stuff, and the documentation is often hard to get (I am not talking about basics, I am talking about things like framebuffer objects). "Read the extensions specs then." is a frequent answer. The truth is, they are often hard to understand - the D3D docs are orders of magnitude clearer and easier to read. Also lets not forget about the problems with bugfixing GL code since OpenGL provides very little feedback (software like glDEBugger and glIntercept help only to a certain degree...)

In sum, you get longer development times, more betatesting, more worries, and lose more money.

Re:Great but... (2, Informative)

vonPoonBurGer (680105) | more than 7 years ago | (#18366801)

ALL AAA titles are written specifically for one title, and maybe ported to another, requiring substantial rewrites

First, I'm assuming you meant to say that all AAA titles are written specifically for one platform, etc. Assuming that is what you meant, I also think this is a pretty faulty statement. Have you looked at console gaming lately? The majority of titles out there appear on at least two consoles, if not all three. The latest iteration of the Call of Duty franchise would be a good example. It can be found on the Xbox and Xbox 360 and PS2 and PS3 and Wii. Clearly it's not that onerous to port from one system to another, if the makers of A and AA titles are willing to spend the money to do so. They're clearly getting back more money than it costs them to do the port, probably many times over, otherwise they wouldn't keep doing it.

The reason AAA titles don't get ported has very little to do with technical details, and a whole lot to do with marketing and business strategy. In the console world, developers making a AAA title shop their project to the various console manufacturers, and hope to make it an exclusive for one of those systems. In return, the console make cuts them a nice fat check. That check buys them the time they need to spend on polishing the game in order to make it a AAA title. In the case of Valve, there is no real competition in the PC gaming space, so there's no manufacturers to play off each other in order to get a check for making your game exclusive. But Valve doesn't really need the money anyway, they've got quite a nice little warchest as it is. They could easily spend the money to either hire talent or outsource production to allow ports of their games. However, they don't want to give up creative control, or have some semiautonomous internal division produce a half-assed port. Basically, they don't want to risk "diluting their brand" through ports. Either way you slice it, though, it's a marketing/business thing, not a technology thing.

Re:Great but... (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18367461)

This does not invalidate my statement. Writing a game for two platforms from the start is something different than porting it after the game has been released for one platform. Besides, writing for multiple platforms is still costly. The PS3 quirks are totally different from the Wii ones, for example. In case of CoD, it pays off, but often enough it doesnt. (The aforementioned SOTC for example, which uses every PS2 trick in the book.)

Re:Great but... (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369119)

You do realize that PS3 and the like use OpenGL ES, which is NOT the same as the GL on computers?
It's pretty close. ES is basically OpenGL with a load of legacy crap removed. Things like removing glbegin/glend and using display lists for everything (they're much faster on OpenGL anyway, and now they're the only way of working on OpenGL ES). And it's not just the PS3 and Wii that use OpenGL ES, it's increasingly common in mobile phones, and that is an incredibly large gaming market.

Besides, they have tons of custom extensions necessary to use these machines efficiently
The thing about extensions is that they are extensions. They are not core. It is fairly easy to write a core in OpenGL ES without extensions, and then add eye-candy when you detect NV_SHINY_BUZZWORD_OPTION or ATI_SPARKLY_WHATEVER. For the most part, extensions can be added to optional code paths quite easily.

Re:Great but... (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372227)

First, I doubt they are using display lists. VBOs would be the better candidate.

Second, if you have one locked-down platform, then it is stupid not to exploit this situation and introduce tons of custom extensions specifically for the PS3.

Third, its not like the PC. The *architectures* are wildly different, and so will be the extensions and OpenGL usage. For example, the PS2 had a ridiculously large bus to the vector processor; you were supposed to pass data through it all the time, in contrast to the PC, where you specifically avoid this (regarding the AGP bus here). On the other hand, you only have 32 MB RAM on a PS2, so it is very likely you have to redesign large parts anyway, unless you aim for the lowest common denominator, which gives you a crappy game (at least from a technical POV).

Optional code paths, you can afford that if the paths do not really vary much in structure. In Doom 3, all code paths had a similar structure, their differences were mainly in pass count and state setting, not more. However, a code path for a Wii is very different from one for the PS3 and the PC.

Re:Great but... (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 7 years ago | (#18371069)

thanks for derailing the thread and opening the whole DirectX vs. OpenGL holy war..

Maybe next time you'll stay on topic.

Re:Great but... (1)

ardor (673957) | more than 7 years ago | (#18372205)

If you actually read my post, you'll notice this is not about Direct3D (not DirectX) vs. OpenGL. This is about why it is a VERY BAD IDEA to rewrite existing codebases to use OpenGL 2.1, which is pretty decent. Learn to read.

I'm Neither Enthused Nor Impressed (1)

Zero_DgZ (1047348) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364195)

I'll be much more impressed when I can actually buy a damned copy of Episode 2. I don't give two farts through a tin whistle (or something to that effect) what kind of zooty-ass technology it has embedded in it when I can't play the damn game already. I already don't have a graphics card powerful enough to do HDR and some of this other folderol; I, like most of the gaming populace (I'll wager) would rather be shooting zombies than waiting even longer for my promised "quickly developed" episodic gaming and whacking off over the technical specs in the meantime.

What is DirectX 10 (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364725)

Can someone explain what is new in DirectX 10 [wikipedia.org]? Someone commented that DX10 support just means that XP/DX9 users won't get some of the new fancy graphics. But DX10 doesn't look like it is new features - just restructuring of DirectSound, joystick input, deprecating some old stuff, etc. If that is the case, I don't see how someone can easily make code to support DX10 and DX9 simultaneously without major effort. Maybe DX10 supports geometry shaders? But that wouldn't require a whole new API though - just a few extensions (a la OpenGL).

The biggest deals (2, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18365399)

1) No caps bits. Previously, cards could support a rather wide or narrow range of a DirectX spec and still be at that level. They ten set caps (capability) bits to let software know what they could do. Major pain for developers. DirectX 10 does away with that. There's a sepc and you either meet it or you don't. There's no performance requirements, just features. So if a card is DX10, you know it supports a given feature set.

2) Unified shader API. All shaders (pixel, vertex and geometry) are talked to in the same fashion in DX10. Makes for easier design. However it also allows unification on the back end. Though it isn't required, as a practical matter the shaders will be unified on the cards. The GeForce 8800, the only DX10 card out, has unified hardware shaders and ATi's R600 will as well when it hits the market. This means that shaders can be tasked to different things as needed. If a scene is complex pixel shading wise but simple vertex wise, no problem, the shaders can do that, and then switch around the very next scene.

3) Geometry shaders. DX9 didn't support them, and DX9 class hardware doesn't have them.

4) Support for video memory virtualization and preemptive multitasking of the GPU. Basically giving the GPU to really share its resources effectively.

Re:The biggest deals (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369155)

There's no performance requirements, just features. So if a card is DX10, you know it supports a given feature set.
Of course, the implementation might be slower than a software-only implementation (or might even be a software implementation, only now it's in the manufacturers' drivers instead of Microsoft's, so it's less tested). So, now, instead of testing for capability bits, game developers have to test for individual cards and maintain a database of which cards suck at what.

Re:The biggest deals (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18369417)

No not really, it is required to be implemented in hardware not only as part of the spec but as a practical matter. You can't do pixel shading in software unless you do the whole rendering pipeline in software. As for speed, that's very easy to deal with. You just run a test and then set detail based on that. You also probably allow users to override that. Basically, how games already work. However you needn't worry about features support.

Also as a practical matter it isn't a problem with individual cards, there are all of three major graphics card makers: nVidia, ATi and Intel. Between them, that's almost all computers you encounter, with nVidia and ATi being the lion's share of the game market.

Old DX (1)

Applekid (993327) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364811)

Yes, you *can* run HL 2 on DX7. There are some command line switches to do it, and Valve tech support told me to give it a try when it would consistantly crash on my machine right when it was time to move Gordon around.

It wasn't that... neither of us ever got to the bottom of it since I had to reformat my system due to another problem.

But, while putting on the switches to force it to run in DX7, gotta tell you, it was UGLY. Source was definitely made to use DX9. DX7 support looked like it consisted of just a bunch of if statements that turned everything off except the polys themselves and capped textures to 64x64. Gross.

HL2 on DX7 (1)

BobDigiDigi (957534) | more than 7 years ago | (#18364839)

I currently play HL2 Deathmatch on DirectX 7 hardware. And I play in a clan.
I wonder if they are gonna put DX10 up for XP, and if they're gonna drop older hardware support.

LIES! (1)

Presence2 (240785) | more than 7 years ago | (#18368495)

How can we expect *anything* said in the same sentence as "Team Fortress 2" to be true!? I'm waiting for dramatic press releases regarding StarCraft/Diablo 3, Duke Nukem Forever, The phantom Gaming system, Fallout 3, and other classic vaporware jumping on the DX10 bandwagon.

Imagine the pressure... (1)

ichbineinneuben (1065378) | more than 7 years ago | (#18370739)

Can you imagine the pressure M$ must be bringing to bear on Valve - pressure to make Episode 2 DX10 ONLY??? I'm betting this announcement is the first in a series; next we hear about how much better E2 will be on DX10, then that the DX10 version will be released first, finally DX10 only. I hope Valve can hold out, but I'm putting my money on M$. No matter how they cut it, Vista boils down to Aero carrot, spyware stick.
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