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Valve To Support DX10 With Episode 2 96

Posted by Zonk
from the really-really-shiny-alyx-vance dept.
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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Valve To Support DX10 With Episode 2

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  • Screw you Valve (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ShadowsHawk (916454) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:10AM (#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 (Score:3, Insightful)

      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.
      • 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.
      • by *weasel (174362)
        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 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 (Score:4, Insightful)

          by PingSpike (947548) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @02:53PM (#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.
          • 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 post
          • 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? W
    • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

      by illeism (953119) *
      Maybe Micro$oft got to them and brainwashed them into adding support for Vista...
      • by Samdroid (1001824)
        Since Windows is the primary gaming OS and vista is the latest release of Windows, I expect valve to include full support for Vista.
        • Since XP is the version of Window mosts gamers have I would expect value to include "full support" for XP.
          • by bluemonq (812827) *
            Ok, so they'll have full support for XP with DX 9, and full support for Vista with DX 10. What's the problem?
            • 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 e
      • 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?
      • by westlake (615356)
        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 a

    • by Chazmyrr (145612)
      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.
  • Valve's guys are so sloooooow. ;)
  • 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: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Aadain2001 (684036)
      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.
      • 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.
      • by brkello (642429)
        Which DX10 features? The ones that make games run slower than in XP? (I'm kidding, sort of)
    • by Tackhead (54550) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @11:34AM (#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."

    • by Tim C (15259)
      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".
    • 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
  • "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.
    • by EnsilZah (575600)
      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.
      • 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 no
    • 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 c
  • I thought that the HL II was written at opengl wasn't it??
    • Re: (Score:1, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      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.
      • by Aleshus (1075827)
        oh yes I'am sorry.. to today I lidved in illusion that HL 2 is written at opengl too.. thx
    • by AP2k (991160)
      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.
    • No. You are wrong. HAND.
  • 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)

    • by Knnniggit (800801)
      Episode 2 came out?
    • 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.
      • by smaddox (928261)
        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.
    • 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 to
    • "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 o
  • Great but... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by LingNoi (1066278)

    ...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 licens

    • 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... (Score:5, Informative)

      by ardor (673957) on Thursday March 15, 2007 @12:25PM (#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.
      • by Yvan256 (722131)

        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 ea

        • by stratjakt (596332)
          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, yo
          • by ardor (673957)
            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
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by vonPoonBurGer (680105)
        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. I
        • by ardor (673957)
          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.)
      • 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 Open

        • by ardor (673957)
          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, w
      • by LingNoi (1066278)
        thanks for derailing the thread and opening the whole DirectX vs. OpenGL holy war..

        Maybe next time you'll stay on topic.
        • by ardor (673957)
          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'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 w
  • 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
    • The biggest deals (Score:3, Informative)

      by Sycraft-fu (314770)
      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
      • 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.

        • 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,
  • 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
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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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