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Will the Lack of DX10 on XP Spur OpenGL Dev? 168

Posted by Cliff
from the microsoft-likely-to-release-dx10-on-XP-first dept.
Sparr0 asks: "Microsoft has announcement that DirectX 10 will not be released for Windows XP (which means no Shader Model 4.0 and no Geometry Shaders). I have since been waiting for news of game developers switching to OpenGL, in order to get the best graphics on the best hardware on the most popular gaming OS, however there is nary a whisper of such. Will such a shift occur, even if only in small amounts? When? Why not? It is probably safe to say that Unreal Tournament 3 (AKA UT2007) will have OpenGL as an option in Windows, but that is both unsurprising and also a long way off. Ditto for Quake Wars, and most other games that are planning a native Linux clients. Where are all of the other big names with Windows-only offerings? Why haven't we heard from Valve, Blizzard, Sony, or EA, to name a few?"
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Will the Lack of DX10 on XP Spur OpenGL Dev?

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  • You must be new here :)
  • by ArcherB (796902) * on Thursday March 22, 2007 @01:54PM (#18446465) Journal
    In a word, NO.

    Unfortunately, most game developers will probably continue writing for DX9.0c until the majority of users are running Vista and have DX10 capable video cards.

    The exceptions, as listed in the summary, will be those developers that intend for their games to be cross-platform and run on Linux and OSX as well as Visa.

    • by MeanMF (631837)
      Game developers have never been shy about demanding the latest and greatest hardware to run their games on. I don't seem them coding to DX9 for much longer.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dreamchaser (49529)
        That's a silly comment. It's not a matter of being shy about it. When barely anyone can run your product, nobody will buy it. Once there is a large enough mass of Vista users then you'll see games start to ditch DX 9 codepaths.

        Sheesh, a lot of titles shipping today still have DX 8 codepaths and look pretty damn good on DX 8 hardware.

        Pass me that pipe you're smoking :)
        • by Tim C (15259)
          Dark Messiah has a Direct 7 codepath; I know because I had huge problems getting the damn thing to run at all at first, and set it to DX7 mode via a command line switch as part of my attempts to get it to work.
    • by antdude (79039)
      The bummer part is that users with DX10 cards and Vista will get the enhancements. Crysis and HL2 Ep. 2 will be like this. XP users won't get these even if they have DX10 cards. :(
    • by westlake (615356)
      In a word, NO.

      Every DX10 card must support every DX10 feature. You might see something like physics acceleration appearing outside the DX10 framework. But you will have a more stable platform for development.

      The DX10 card at $150-$180 should hit the market in about a month or two.

      Beyond DX10 you have a common development platform for Windows and the XBox 360. Much closer ties in Vista between the PC and the console gamer. That is something OGL, OSX and Linux can't deliver.

  • XP might be the most popular gaming OS at the moment, but the video cards in most computers with XP are likely going to be upgraded simultaneously with everything else (including the OS -- to Vista). The video cards most folks have in their machines aren't so hardcore that DX10 is very critical. By far most of them don't support it anyway.

    Though I may have misunderstood the question...
    • by rabbit994 (686936)
      Most gamers I know have hardware that will run Vista/Aero and have had that hardware for about year and half. Many cards true are still stuck on DX9 but I would say that's more a software/driver issue then card issue. Most gamers are simply not moving to Vista because many of their games either don't work on Vista or they work but they have issues. Vista security features are really screwing with many games. Gamers will switch to Vista when all these issues are worked out.

  • DX9 (Score:3, Interesting)

    by bung-foo (634132) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @01:58PM (#18446555)
    DX9 should be enough for anybody . . .

    Seriously, I doubt that companies like Valve will switch to OpenGL for winxp releases. They already have extensive directx know-how and will probably just build in DX9 and DX10 support just like they currently build in support for DX7, 8 and 9.

    In the end, most people will upgrade to vista. Either because they want to or because they need it for a certain program to run or simply because it came pre-installed on their shiny new Dell. It is inevitable.
    • Ah, but don't forget that there's no DirectX on OS X either, and the percentage of Mac desktops can only go up. When implementing an engine with OpenGL, it's relatively easy to write a Mac port - and the windows implementation will run much better in Wine.
      • by toleraen (831634)
        ...the percentage of Mac desktops can only go up.

        Really? Because their notebooks aren't doing so hot. [arstechnica.com] I'm pretty sure the same principle could apply to Apple's line of desktops as well.
        • That article uses goofy statistics.

          It doesn't make sense to compare Q1 to Q4, necessarily, especially when a manufacturer just experienced major growth. See this comment attached to that story:

          Apple's FY 1Q07 notebook sales dipped 2% from their FY 4Q06 sales because they had a huge 4Q due to education sales. FY4Q is usually Apple's strongest quarter for computer sales, not FY1Q. This whole issue is like being surprised there's a downturn in retail sales after the holiday season. What is surprising is that t
          • by toleraen (831634)
            Questionable data for sure, thanks for pointing that out. In my above post I was primarily questioning the parent's assertion that Mac Desktop marketshare will only go up, and could never go down.
            • Apologies, I hadn't meant to say that. Let me rephrase: In the near term (2007, possibly 2008), I can see the share of Mac Desktops rising.
  • Nope. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rblancarte (213492) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @01:59PM (#18446563) Homepage
    I think that a lot of what is going to happen out there is going to be like John Carmack said [gameinformer.com]. I think that overall, you are going to see developers stick with DirectX 9 for the time being. I think this is especially true for Windows only games.

    The fact is that if you are developing Windows games, why would you support two APIs when you could support a single one and D9 users would just have to deal with not having the latest bells and whistles? And this doesn't even take into account that D3d is now a more advanced API than OpenGL (which has been mentioned already).

    RonB
    • Re:Nope. (Score:5, Informative)

      by ad0gg (594412) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @02:24PM (#18447047)
      DX9.0L also called DX9EX is going to support the new Shader 4.0, aero transparency and other dx10 features. It just doesn't have WDDM which isn't a direct3d feature.

      DirectX info [wikipedia.org]
      WDDM [wikipedia.org]

  • A Turning Tide (Score:2, Interesting)

    by kornkid606 (1076023)
    It is my hope that maybe, just maybe, this could spur developers to, instead of focusing on making a visually cutting-edge game using the latest and greatest hardware and APIs, start to focus on trying to make the most fun and innovative possible game using the "previous gen technology", if you will. Not to say that both can't be achieved, but I would say that invariably games tend to focus on one in favor of the other.
  • well (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mastershake_phd (1050150) on Thursday March 22, 2007 @02:00PM (#18446589) Homepage
    If game developers started moving towards OpenGL Microsoft might release DX10 for XP. They will do anything to prevent something else from gaining a foothold.
    • by misleb (129952)
      Or they'll just backport the significant new features to DX9... oh wait, they already did with DX9EX ;-)
  • by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@gmai l . c om> on Thursday March 22, 2007 @02:03PM (#18446653) Journal
    Where are all of the other big names with Windows-only offerings? Why haven't we heard from Valve, Blizzard, Sony, or EA

    Sorry, but only one is windows only. Last I checked, World of Warcraft, Warcraft 3, and Diablo II run on Mac. And in the case of WC3, the CD has a Mac and windows version on the same CD. Amazon.com tells me that EA's #1 game (The Sims 2) also runs on the Mac. Can anyone tell me a Windows game Sony makes? The only windows software I can think of is SoundForge and their CD DRM, but the latter I don't think I want to work cross-platform;) That leaves Valve, which is run bun a former MS hotshot, so I think that might have something to do with the company's founder preferring Direct3D.

    I think many developers are already using OpenGL, but of course, that's only one part of being cross platform. Network, sound, and input also need to be implemented cross-platform....
    • by d3ac0n (715594)

      Can anyone tell me a Windows game Sony makes?


      Ok, I'll take this one.

      http://www.station.sony.com/ [sony.com]

      Check the "PC Games" column. Not a single non-Windows compatible game there. They are all Sony products.
      (Yeah yeah, Sony didn't originally make many of them, but they own and develop them now, so they are Sony's.)

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Actually, to be fair, the Sims for Mac is done by Aspyr. A 3rd party company who helps Windows only games work on Mac.

      However, since EA writes games for Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft consoles, I suspect they are familiar with both OpenGL and Direct X.
      • by tylersoze (789256)
        Blizzard is the only major game company I know of that supports both Mac and PC in-house. Aspyr uses their own in-house implementation of the Windows API on OS X to port 3rd party games.
    • by afidel (530433)
      Check under PC games at Sony Online Entertainment [sony.com].
    • Not just that...but the aforementioned Blizzard games *do* support OpenGL. On Windows they use Direct3D by default, but you can change that behavior with the -opengl command line switch when starting the game. This is why they were so easily portable to MacOSX and why they run so well on Wine.
    • by StikyPad (445176)
      Can anyone tell me a Windows game Sony makes?

      http://www.station.sony.com/ [sony.com]
  • Most Games DEVs have already mentioned in various places that they intend to handle the situation at least for now with two render paths, one optomized and used for DX10 and one for DX9.

    Remember that Vista doesn't automatically confer DX10 either you need a card that supports DX10 and those are VERY new still the installed base is still mostly DX9 cards reguardless of OS. There are still some users running on DX8 cards as well, which are still well supported in many even new games. The Source engine is ev
  • Some developers do parallel development in DX9 and OpenGL anyway. Perhaps for increased portability options such as the desire to have an OSX port. You mention Blizzard yet they have already done this. Take Warcraft III for example, the default rendering is of course dx9 but adding the -opengl switch to the command line toggles it over. The game mostly looks the same, although I have to say the fonts look a lot uglier / jagged for some reason. My guess is dx9 must have some sort of font smoothing optio
  • by hoyty (35485)
    DX10 is going to be just like DX9 and DX8 before it. In reality we are mostly concerned with the Direct3D portion of DirectX since the rest is more stagnant. When DX9 libraries and later hardware came out developers simlpy turned on the options now supported or speed up the game. The game would interogate the card to see what features and how well they were supported and went on from there. The same will happen with DX10.

    As for OpenGL getting a bump out of this, I doubt developers will suddenly add an O
    • by Shados (741919)
      Actualy, DX10 is not like that btw. There's no compatibility "bits" or whatsnot. With DX10, its an all or nothing: a card cannot claim DX10 compatibility if it doesn't support the entire spec. Sure, different cards can be slower on certain features than other, but thats it, which is quite very different from previous implementation.
      • by Ash-Fox (726320)

        With DX10, its an all or nothing: a card cannot claim DX10 compatibility if it doesn't support the entire spec.
        AMD's x86 processors often claim support for a family of instructions when it doesn't support them fully. Seeing how ATi is now owned by AMD, I wonder if these idiotic practices will spread through ATi's graphic cards too.
        • by Shados (741919)
          Doubt it. Its still a bit different... since its an all or nothing, there's not flags, like there are in CPUs, either... So for that to happen, they'd have to get non-compliant drivers go by microsoft's certification program, fool them, then somehow not crash when direct x calls functions the GPU doesn't have...

          The worse they can do I think, is pull an Nvidia like the Geforce FX: officialy, and technically support something, but have a totally horrible implementation.
          • by Ash-Fox (726320)

            Doubt it. Its still a bit different... since its an all or nothing

            Which is exactly how CPU flags are supposed to work.

            they'd have to get non-compliant drivers go by microsoft's certification program, fool them, then somehow not crash when direct x calls functions the GPU doesn't have...

            AMD actually put in 'stub' instructions later, to make sure the application/OS doesn't crash when it attempts to use said instruction. Didn't really help applications that depended on those instructions actually working.

            • by Bert64 (520050)
              which instructions are these?
              i also remember intel not implementing all the functions of amd64 on their first 64bit capable x86 chips...
              • by Ash-Fox (726320)

                which instructions are these?

                They were definitely instructions in MMX, SSE and SSE2 families. Unfortunately the support changed between revisions and with AMD putting stubs to trick detection systems, it wasn't easy to check if the processor actually supported it properly or not.

                i also remember intel not implementing all the functions of amd64 on their first 64bit capable x86 chips...

                They made up their own cpuflag for the incomplete family of instructions, so they weren't in violation of the specification.

  • ...but is Microsoft going to have a 360 update in which 360 games can use some of the features that are in DX10?

    It seems silly to me Microsoft would come up with something they think will be such a big improvement for games, and yet not try to get the same tech on the 360...or am I just showing my ignorance here...
  • DirectX 9L (available for both XP and Vista, Aero runs on 9L, not 10) has more better support for the latest graphics hardware and more features than OpenGL.
    The Xbox360 platform shares API details with both Windows and DirectX.

    Unless you're seeking cross-platform compatibility and don't the latest and greatest feature, sure go for OpenGL.

    In other words, Vista doesn't run well on my current hardware, XP does. Will this make me switch to Ubuntu or something? No, it won't.
    • by ADRA (37398)
      "DirectX 9L (available for both XP and Vista"

      I'm sorry, where was the link to the SDK? Thats right. The latest and greatest SDK for the most bleeding edge hardware isn't even released yet. This puts your post well into the FUD category. Thanks for playing!

      Quoting Wikipedia's 'Directx' topic:

      * Direct3D 9Ex (previously known as 9.0L): allows full access to the new capabilities of WDDM while maintaining compatibility for existing Direct3D applications by putting it in a separate AP
  • Since they are owned by MS, they will follow company policy, which means DX10, which also means Vista only. How else is MS going to get all the hardcore gamers out there to upgrade to Vista? I mean, think about it, 10-15% performance hit is not something these people will accept. They tweak and tune and spend hundreds of dollars to get even that last 5fps out of a game. Going to Vista is not on their top of the list of things to do to make their games run faster.

    So MS decided that since this was going to
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Atroxodisse (307053)
      There was a rumor back in January that MS was going to buy Vivendi games, who own Blizzard, but it was only a rumor. There is no mention of the acquisition on Blizzard's or Vivendi's corporate pages. Multiple articles that reported the acquisition have been deleted from various news outlets. It was in fact a hoax. http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/press/2003/Feb0 3/02-03HoaxWebsitePR.mspx [microsoft.com]
    • I think you are confusing Blizzard Entertainment [wikipedia.org] with Bungie Studios [wikipedia.org].
    • by westlake (615356)
      I mean, think about it, 10-15% performance hit is not something these people will accept. They tweak and tune and spend hundreds of dollars to get even that last 5fps out of a game.

      I suspect a performance hit is typical for a new OS with immature drivers running on (mostly) legacy hardware. I also suspect FPS is as much a myth in graphics performance as MHz is in CPU performance.

  • OpenGL is neat and a true standard - but no where near DX feature wise. What I expect is the ongoing XP & Vista lockin / registration / DRM / compliance annoyance MS introduces causing people to look for alternatives and turn to sub-par (compared to DX) OpenGL and work on improving the standard. It's not that OpenGL couldn't do the same thing DX can, it's only that people haven't had a reason in the last few years to do so. Plattforms are getting more diverse performance wise and people need to take a g
  • ... any more than the lack of later versions of Direct X for Windows 2000 spurred game devs to switch to OpenGL.
  • I specifically did not want to "upgrade" to Vista any time soon. Previously Microsoft had indicated DX10 support on XP, so I did not buy Vista, and I didn't get a good video card because I figured I had to upgrade to a DX10 video card shortly. But now it turns out that I have to buy a new card anyway, and if I get a DX10 card and want to use DX10, I'll actually have to get Vista.

    I've never been a big Microsoft hater... for example, when they stopped suppporting Windows 95, Windows 2000, and so on previous

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