Microsoft has detailed the next iteration of its DirectX graphics API

DirectX 12 to release late 2015 – full details

Microsoft has detailed the next iteration of its DirectX graphics API.

Unveiling the updated platform at GDC 2014, Microsoft said that DirectX 12 “introduces the next version of Direct3D, the graphics API at the heart of DirectX”.

“Direct3D is one of the most critical pieces of a game or game engine, and we’ve redesigned it to be faster and more efficient than ever before,” Microsoft explained.

“Direct3D 12 enables richer scenes, more objects, and full utilisation of modern GPU hardware.”

The firm added that Direct3D 12 wouldn’t just focus on high-end gaming PCs – expanding to cover tablet and mobile device uses too.

Questioning “What makes Direct3D 12 better?”, Microsoft responded: “First and foremost, it provides a lower level of hardware abstraction than ever before, allowing games to significantly improve multithread scaling and CPU utilisation.”

“Games will benefit from reduced GPU overhead via features such as descriptor tables and concise pipeline state objects.”

“Direct3D 12 also introduces a set of new rendering pipeline features that will dramatically improve the efficiency of algorithms such as order-independent transparency, collision detection, and geometry culling.”

Microsoft reassured gamers that DirectX 12 will “run on many of the cards gamers already have”.

Demonstrating the improvements over DirectX 11 using the benchmarking utility 3DMark, Microsoft championed DirectX 12’s improved multi-thread scaling and 50 per cent better utilisation of computer processors.

The new technology is said to provide “console-level efficiency” on PC, with Xbox One racing title Forza Motorsport 5 used as an example of using “console-efficient low-level APIs” which were previously exclusive to consoles – and will now be available on PC and smartphones as well.

DirectX 12 already has the backing of the two major graphics specialists – Nvidia and AMD.

Nvidia pledged to match Microsoft OS support for DX12, with all existing DirectX-supported GPUs to receive support for DX12.

Nvidia described the release of DX12 as another step in “invest[ing] heavily in the future of gaming on the PC”.

AMD also backed the upcoming API, echoing Microsoft’s words that the platform would converge console and PC gaming as it described DX12 as a ‘console-like’ version of the graphics API that has inspired PC gaming for nearly two decades”.

"AMD strongly believes in the benefits gamers and game developers can realise from lower-overhead API development," said Matt Skynner, corporate vice president and general manager of the graphics business unit at AMD.

"With the Mantle API, AMD has shown the world our commitment to incredible performance, and we look forward to enabling the same performance gains by supporting the industry-standard DirectX 12."

"AMD has always been an essential partner in the development of DirectX," added Anuj Gosalia, development manager for Windows graphics at Microsoft.

"As we start the next chapter for our historic API, we look forward to continued great collaboration with AMD to bring gamers the best possible performance on AMD hardware."

A DirectX 12 support schedule for AMD’s Radeon GPUs will be published “at a later date”, added the firm.

In regards to when gamers would be able to update to the new API Microsoft said that it was "targeting Holiday 2015 games".

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