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DirectX 12 May Not Help Xbox One That Much, According To Developer

By William Usher 2014-06-01 10:44:08 discussion comments
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DirectX 12 was supposed to be the super secret sauce of the Xbox One. It was supposed to be the “Banana Surprise” that popped out and caused the competitors to get their Jimmies jangled. Well, that may not be the case in a real-world application.

Gaming Bolt has continued to let leak small bits of interview information like Taco Bell's sauces leak through buns, as they discussed a number of different topics with Flying Wild Hog's lead engine programmer Krzysztof Narkowicz and the company's CEO and game director, Michal Szustak.

The interview surrounds the upcoming release of the re-imagined Shadow Warrior for the eighth-gen home consoles, and the conversation turned to a hot topic of discussion lately, DirectX 12.

As many Xbox fans and eager tech beavers have been touting since the announcement of DirectX 12, it's supposedly going to help the Xbox One in a huge way, possibly even enabling it to hit the holy grail of 1920 x 1080p and getting it out of the gutter-trash region of 792p, a resolution so fake that it makes Jocelyn Wildenstein's face seem homogenous to the rest of humankind.

Anyway, Krzysztof Narkowicz put a pin in the bubble, saying...
“It’s targeted at lowering draw call overhead on PC, which isn’t such a big issue on Xbox One, as some low level access is already available there. On the other hand having one API across multiple platforms decreases development time”.

So technically, DirectX 12 is setup to help the pipeline and not necessarily the performance. Even more than that, it's going to help PC more than it helps the Xbox One.

What you end up with is easier porting because lower-level call access on PC will make it easier to port to the Xbox One. In very loose terms, this could theoretically help some games achieve 1080p, only if they were solely and purely optimized for PC and they had trouble porting it to the consoles, in which case DirectX 12 might help a game that might have gone from 1080p on PC down to 720p on console – due to certain functions – to maintain a better base of optimized performance, so there's a lesser need to turn down, truncate or completely remove features in the process (i.e., such as removing ambient occlusion or shadow resolution to compensate for the API difference between platforms). Again, that's just a potentiality.

Nevertheless, Narkowicz verifies that better API access means faster port times, and he also acknowledged that as it stands it's pretty easy porting between the PS4 and Xbox One, saying...
“The hardware is very similar to PS4. Xbox One is using familiar APIs like DirectX. Adding Xbox One support after having a PS4 version up and running was an easy task,”

Even still, the APIs are only for optimizing software and not for performing miracles. This is why Shadow Warrior is still only 900p on the Xbox One and 1080p on the PlayStation 4.

The issue of not hitting 1080p is going to be one that follows the Xbox One around like a string of toilet paper on the shoe of a McDonalds addict.

The Xbox director of development, Boyd Multerer, tried to pass it off on a complex GPU, but the reality is that it's because of a weak GPU, limited ESRAM, and the fact that the console was tweaked to the tune of watching TV on your TV.

This article was first published on May 31, 2014 and was last updated on June 1, 2014.
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