Microsoft and Nvidia announced DirectX 12 Ultimate, a new application programming interface (API) that will bring the next generation of graphics functions to Windows 10 and Xbox Series X PCs.
Displayed at a GDC 2020 virtual press conference on Thursday, DirectX 12 Ultimate – which Microsoft cites as “the culmination of 25 years of working on DirectX”, is the first universal graphics API designed to work on consoles and PCs and aims to bring “unprecedented tuning capabilities” between Windows 10 and Xbox Series X games.
Its main feature is DirectX Ray Tracing 1.1, developed by Nvidia in conjunction with Microsoft and AMD. This update for ray-tracing rendering brings better lighting, reflection and shadow effects to a larger number of future games. It is also programmed to make some of the current games look better, with Minecraft as one of the great examples.
“Scenarios with many complex shaders will work best with dynamic shader-based ray tracing, instead of using massive inline beam tracking uber-shaders,” writes Microsoft. “In the meantime, scenarios with minimal shadow complexity and / or very few shaders will work best with inline ray tracing.
DirectX 12 Ultimate also includes mesh shaders, which allow the GPU to control how the level of detail is managed, along with sampler feedback to reduce loading time and stop loading assets more efficiently.
During Thursday’s virtual press, Nvidia announced that DirectX 12 Ultimate games will be fully compatible with GeForce RTX technology.
Separately, AMD – which will power Microsoft’s next-generation Xbox – said it has also worked closely with Microsoft to develop DirectX 12 Ultimate and confirmed that its next RDNA2-based Radeon graphics cards will also support tracking of hardware jets. and the new standard.
“With DirectX 12 Ultimate, advanced effects, such as ray tracing, are expected to reach more games sooner, and this makes life easier for developers by allowing them to create games using the same graphics API and graphics architecture common to PCs. and consoles, “said Team Red in a statement.
For players, DirectX 12 Ultimate, but it should lead to games with more realistic graphics and smoother gameplay. Or, as Microsoft describes it, the standard will make things easier for developers, as well as giving players “assurance that their hardware meets the highest standards of resource support in next generation games.”
In addition, the next generation games that use DirectX 12 Ultimate features can still run on hardware other than DX12 Ultimate, although some of the latest features are disabled.
Microsoft has not yet said when it will launch DirectX 12 Ultimate, but it is no secret that it will be a big part of the Xbox Series X console, which will make its official debut later this year.