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DirectX 'Getting In the Way' of PC Game Graphics, Says AMD 323

Posted by Soulskill
from the stairs-in-the-way-of-getting-to-the-basement dept.
Bit-tech recently spoke with Richard Huddy, worldwide developer relations manager of AMD's GPU division, about the lack of a great disparity between PC game graphics and console game graphics, despite the hardware gap. Quoting: "'We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it's very clear that the games don't look ten times as good. To a significant extent, that's because, one way or another, for good reasons and bad - mostly good, DirectX is getting in the way.' Huddy says that one of the most common requests he gets from game developers is: 'Make the API go away.' 'I certainly hear this in my conversations with games developers,' he says, 'and I guess it was actually the primary appeal of Larrabee to developers – not the hardware, which was hot and slow and unimpressive, but the software – being able to have total control over the machine, which is what the very best games developers want. By giving you access to the hardware at the very low level, you give games developers a chance to innovate, and that's going to put pressure on Microsoft – no doubt at all.'"
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DirectX 'Getting In the Way' of PC Game Graphics, Says AMD

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  • Re:Yeah right (Score:3, Informative)

    by bmo (77928) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @07:16AM (#35541098)

    There is no DirectX on Linux and just look at how laughtable the situation is. Yeah theres nethack and some clone of Civilization 2 with worse graphics, but it's far from both console games and PC games that gamers play. It's a joke

    Funny, Steam games run just fine.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:53AM (#35541436)

    That's not true.

    If you're going to pretend to be knowledgeable, then it's a good idea to at least read the article.

    Carmack's talkng about OpenGL vs DirectX. Arguably... DirectX is now a better API for writing games than OpenGL. I say arguably because I don't think it's a settled question - it is, however, one that is up for discussion - comparing Apples and Apples.

    This article though... that's about the model used by both DX and OpenGL. Which basically means the CPU tells the GPU to draw each polygon (ok... it's a little more high level than that.. shaders, VBOs etc but essentially this is correct). On a console, the standard architecture means the developers hit the hardware directly and make their own in essence make their own API that makes the most of the balance of power between the CPU and the GPU.

    On the PC - despite the fact that PC GPU hardware (even the cheap stuff) is massively more powerful... the CPU is still making system calls to DirectX very low level commands (effectively) to draw polygons. System calls are expensive and this is seriously limiting the ability of PCs to make use of the humongous power of these GPUs to draw real-time scenes.

    The article is calling for a different model from the one used by DX and OpenGL - one that solves this problem. See also: scene graphs.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Informative)

    by perpenso (1613749) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @08:57AM (#35541450)

    And Mac, much to the delight of the four people who want to play games under OS X.

    Last I heard you are about 5 orders of magnitude off with respect to Mac users playing World of Warcraft. :-)

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Informative)

    by drinkypoo (153816) <> on Saturday March 19, 2011 @11:01AM (#35542028) Homepage Journal

    Really? I've been told that the proprietary OpenGL drivers on Linux aren't that good quality, especially AMD's.

    You might use Mozilla's list of Blocklisted Graphics Drivers [] as your guideline to the reliability of drivers in general at this time since they are currently going through it. They assert (in other sources as well) that only nVidia has a working OpenGL pipeline on Linux.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 19, 2011 @11:10AM (#35542084)

    The NVidia one is feature complete with the windows one. Runs beautifully. only thing it doesn't have is hybrid SLI/ Optimus. and that could be possibly fixed when wayland comes out.

    NVvidia has been putting alot of love into linux even if it is tough love like not giving us open source drivers or following standards like KMS.

  • Re:Yeah right (Score:5, Informative)

    by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @12:18PM (#35542410)

    > Let's do a quick comparison of how stupidly inefficient game development is...
    > 2. Wii/Gamecube - OpenGL,C/C++
    > 3. PS2/PS3 - OpenGL, C/C++

    Your facts are wrong. I've _shipped_ games on Wii, PS2, amongst other consoles. Currently, I do compiler support on the PS3 and am familiar with the rendering APIs that drive the RSX.

    * The Wii does NOT use OpenGL. I personally know because I wrote an OpenGL implementation over _top_ of the native GX calls. While the GX*() API _is_ strongly _based_ on OpenGL, it is NOT OpenGL.

    * The PS2 does NOT have OpenGL. You either
      a) manually build a packet to set the GS registers,
      b) use the sce*() calls, or
      c) write your own API.
    At one job, where I wrote the Wii-OpenGL, we had an in-house implementation of OpenGL running on the PS2, but that was, again, over _top_ of the native GS registers.

    * There are 2 rendering APIs on the PS3. CGM and OpenGL. I could probably count on one hand the total number developers that have shipped their game with OpenGL. Almost no one ships OpenGL it because it is SLOWER and LESS EFFICIENT then CGM.

    Please get your facts straight before looking like an ignorant fool.


  • Re:Yeah right (Score:4, Informative)

    by qubezz (520511) on Saturday March 19, 2011 @06:05PM (#35544604)

    Yup, been there. I recently tossed out 'direct to metal' CD versions of Descent, Tomb Raider, Motocross Madness, and many others, that were chipset-specific, made for architectures like the Rendition Vérité [], 3dFX Voodoo [], S3 Virge [], etc. Not because they aren't great games, or because I couldn't run them on a DOS virtual machine or boot to a DOS environment, but because I don't have the video card they were written for, or even a slot to plug one into. However, the majority of Windows DirectX 3 games from ~1996 are install-and-play on even Windows 7. ATI (nee AMD) and NVidia were the graphics chipset makers that rode on DirectX instead of a native hardware API, and are the winners. It's too bad that a cross-platform and cross-vendor platform like OpenGL didn't come out ahead also.

    BTW, I worked for Diamond Multimedia (there's a Diamond card in each Wikipedia reference above) during the graphics good times of six-month upgrade cycles, and got to play with bleeding-edge 3D hardware while the public was still looking at a replica card in a CES glass box.

Whoever dies with the most toys wins.