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Vole shoots foot with 10.1 upgrade

DX10 hardware is already obsolete
Thu Aug 09 2007, 10:13
REPRESENTATIVES from the almighty Vole have been speaking at Siggraph over the last few days, and what they've said hasn't exactly lowered the blood pressure of many attendees.

Microserfs were there to espouse the greatness of DirectX 10.1, the next revision to the DX graphics spec, which is due to arrive with Windows Vista SP1.

Here's the thing. DX10 hardware - such as the GeForce 8800 or the Radeon 2900 - won't work with the new 10.1 features. The 0.1 revision requires completely new hardware for support, thus royally cheesing off many gamers who paid top whack for their new hardware over the last few months on the basis of future game compatibility.

But these gamers shouldn't fret too much - 10.1 adds virtually nothing that they will care about and, more to the point, adds almost nothing that developers are likely to care about. The spec revision basically makes a number of things that are optional in DX10 compulsory under the new standard - such as 32-bit floating point filtering, as opposed to the 16-bit current. 4xAA is a compulsory standard to support in 10.1, whereas graphics vendors can pick and choose their anti-aliasing support currently.

We suspect that the spec is likely to be ill-received. Not only does it require brand new hardware, immediately creating a miniscule sub-set of DX10 owners, but it also requires Vista SP1, and also requires developer implementation.

With developers struggling to justify including DX10 features in their games (see the recent comments by John Carmack and Mark Rein), they're going to be about as likely to further limit their product's market as they are to start developing NES games again. This is especially true given the incredibly limited benefits 10.1 is bringing to the party.

Simply put - if you're a developer, why bother with 10.1? Answers on a postcard, please. µ


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