DX12’s Bonuses Only Achievable by Dropping DX11 Says Hitman Dev

When new technology comes out it tends to take time for systems and developers to get to grips with them, with their advertised bonuses normally offered at some price, but is it too steep with Hitman’s developer saying that if you want to experience DX12’s bonuses only achievable by dropping DX11 support completely.

Hitman was released earlier this year to favourable reviews, with an entire YouTube series putting people in command of Agent 47, including the likes of the chuckle brothers. The lead developer behind the game, Jonas Meyer of IO Interactive, has not stated that if you want the 20% CPU and 50% GPU bonuses that Microsoft promise with DX12 you will have to drop DirectX 11 support entirely. Hitman, on the other hand, was more of a port from the former framework to DX12.

With games getting released more and more often with DX12 at their core, such as the remake of the classic Gears of War games, suffering from less than amazing performances the new graphical library doesn’t look to show off as much as it was advertised just yet.

When asked about another low-level API for graphics, Vulkan, Meyer responded by describing the API as a “graphics programmer’s wet dream” but stated that they don’t have any plans to add Vulkan support to Hitman.

Hitman PC Patch 1.03 Enhances DirectX 12 Performance

The Hitman franchise quickly became a firm favourite with stealth aficionados due to the tense takedowns and open world environments. Even though Hitman Absolution felt a little out-of-place, the game’s core mechanics were solid and provided an excellent experience. Its sequel was originally intended to be a standard full price release but this was quickly changed to suit an episodic business model. This sudden alteration raised concerns about the game’s content and value proposition. However, the reception for the first episode was overwhelmingly positive and looks like it helped improve the overall pacing.

Today, the latest Hitman patch has been released which includes a number of performance enhancements using the DirectX 12 render. This is vital because the DirectX 12 option created some performance issues on numerous setups. There’s also new challenges and a host of other content in the 1.03 update. Here is the changelog in full:

General game improvements

  • The Vampire Magician Challenge Pack : 10 new challenges that were inspired by how our community have been playing the game.
  • Continued improvements to load times: The improvements will be most notable when loading The Showstopper mission in Paris and we’re already working on improving all loading times even more.
  • Improved responsiveness for in-game menus and image loading: We’ve implemented an image caching system that will improve responsiveness and loading times for all images in the game menu.
  • Fixed issues with scoring: Primarily, this fixes an issue that resulted in many players earning a “0 second” time bonus and an incorrect score of 210,000. A leaderboard reset will be implemented at a later date.
  • Continued improvements to connectivity: Server stability improvements.

PC-specific improvements

General gameplay

  • Prompts for dumping a body now appear, regardless of the positioning of the game camera, both in Showstopper and Final Test missions.
  • 47 no longer drops a body immediately after starting to drag it.
  • Unnoticed kills or subdue will no longer trigger a brief “compromised” state. This previously caused players to fail the ‘never spotted’ reward.
  • The ‘visibly armed’ warning is now always shown when 47 is carrying a large weapon on his back.
  • The light rig (Showstopper) and life raft (Freeform Training) can now be reliably dropped using explosives.
  • Opportunities in Showstopper and Final Test have been made more consistent.
  • Fixed an issue where the first few seconds of the game would appear to run at double speed.

Showstopper

  • Novikov will no longer get stuck in an infinite loop during the Rare Scoop opportunity. This would happen if the player gets Max Decker to call Novikov whilst he is on his way to the interview.
  • Novikov will no longer talk to Dalia on the phone when she has already been eliminated.
  • Fixed a rare issue that made the “In Seine” challenge impossible to complete. This would happen when the Private Meeting opportunity overlapped with Novikov on stage at the Fashion Show.
  • Fixed an issue where the Showstopper mission could not be completed if the player calls Dalia during the Fireworks show whilst disguised as Helmut Kruger.

Crash Fixes

  • Fixed various crash issues that could occur when doing the following: loading a new stage in Escalation Contracts, loading the game or after exploding a gas cylinder.
  • Fixed a crash that occurred when shooting at the target in Freeform training during the “Searching” state.
  • Fixed many other crash issues that were occurring during gameplay.

Options

  • Added an option to the game launcher that allows players to override the ‘default memory safeguards’ and allow them to use any available resolution and graphic quality settings.
  • Increased resolution cap for players with 3gb graphics cards from 1920×1200 to 2560×1600.

DX12

  • DX12 shader and pipeline cache now included in all Steam builds.
  • Fixed a graphical issue with transparent windows on DX12.
  • Improved vertex colours on DX12.

Misc.

  • Briefings for Featured Contracts can now be viewed at the planning stage.
  • The ‘Contract Assassin’ achievement can now be completed.
  • The mouse cursor is now always visible on the ‘Load Game’ menu.
  • Fixed an issue where the game would get stuck at 12% loading between the Prologue missions.
  • Fixed a rare issue where players were asked to (re)download the Showstopper mission.

Hardware

  • Fixed a rare issue where the game was switching between controller and keyboard controls, due to detecting specific hardware as a ‘game controller’.

Oracle Asks For $9.3 Billion in Copyright Trial Against Google

Google is known for many things, from the search engine that started it all to the chrome web browser that so many uses these days. One of the things Google is known for is the Android mobile operating system, something that could Oracle want a piece of in a copyright trial against Google.

The copyright claim refers to several infringements that Google made as part of 37 java API’s that were used in the creation of the Android operating system. In total, the damages Oracle are seeking come to $9.3 billion, an absolutely staggering figure that seems to dwarf even what Google made in the last quarter ($4.9 billion).

Previously the largest copyright verdict stood at $1.3 billion in a case that Oracle won against SAP in 2010. The value of $9.3 billion was figured out by using “a weighted average analysis of what Google pays to others for the contribution of their non-Android mobile platforms in connection with generating search advertising revenue”.

When it comes to code and copyright the law is a little indecisive. Some say that code can be copyrighted and protected under law, some say it can’t be. This case should set an interesting precedent, with it being the largest intellectual property verdict in history.

AMD’s Raja Koduri Talks Future Developments – Capsaicin

Even though a lot of information was shared from the Capsaicin live stream, some details weren’t made known till the after party. In an interview, Radeon Technologies Group head Raja Koduri spoke in more detail about the plans AMD has for the future and the direction they see gaming and hardware heading towards.

First up of course, was the topic of the Radeon Pro Duo, AMD’s latest flagship device. Despite the hefty $1499 price tag, AMD considers the card a good value, something like a FirePro Lite, with enough power to both game and develop on it, a card for creators who game and gamers who create. If AMD does tune the drivers more to enhance the professional software support, the Pro Duo will be well worth the cash considering how much real FirePro cards cost.

Koduri also see the future of gaming being dual-GPU cards. With Crossfire and SLI, dual GPU cards were abstracted away as one on the driver level. Because of this, performance widely varies for each game and support requires more work on the driver side. For DX12 and Vulkan, the developer can now choose to implement multi-GPU support themselves and build it into the game for much greater performance. While the transition won’t fully take place till 2017-2019, AMD wants developers to start getting used to the idea and getting ready.

This holds true for VR as well as each GPU can render for each eye independently, achieving near 2x performance benefit. The benefits though are highly dependent on the game engine and how well it works with LiquidVR. Koduri notes that some engines are as easy as a few hours work while others may take months. Roy Taylor, VP at AMD was also excited about the prospect of the upcoming APIs and AMD’s forward-looking hardware finally getting more use and boosting performance. In some ways, the use of multi-GPU is similar to multi-core processors and the use of simultaneous multi-threading (SMT) to maximize performance.

Finally, we come to Polaris 10 and 11. AMD’s naming scheme is expected the change, with the numbers being chronologically based, so the next Polaris will be bigger than 11 but not necessarily a higher performance chip. AMD is planning to use Polaris 10 and 11 to hit as many price/performance and performance/watt levels as possible so we can possibly expect multiple cards to be based on each chip, meaning probably 3. This should help AMD harvest imperfect dies and help their bottom line. Last of all, Polaris may not feature HBM2 as AMD is planning to hold back till the economics make sense. That about wraps it up for Capsaicin!

Instagram Blocks App That Lets You Be Other Users

In a very brief burst of popularity, the app that allowed anyone to view the Instagram feeds of any public user has had its access to the Instagram API removed. In only 8 days since its launch, Being had already accumulated 400,000 users, with 11,000 people downloading the app during the last day that it was available. The app had even managed to be placed on the featured page of their App Store, which may have been the downfall of the app. Whether the app’s loss of access to the Instagram API was intentional on the part of either the app developer or Instagram themselves is yet to be confirmed.

The purpose of Being was to enable people to see Instagram as another person would, be it friends, family or even celebrities. Being functioned by collecting information on who the person you were to become followed and using this to reconstruct their feed on the app like they were viewing Instagram themselves. This allowed users almost a window into the lives of any other users, able to see all of the feeds they follow, from entire lists of friends to their interests.

While nothing that Being does is illegal, it is easy to see why the app may have been shut down, as while all of this information could likely be collected manually by one dedicated enough, it could be seen as infringing their privacy, even though all of the data was public. If Instagram willingly pulled the plug on the app, they are yet to release a comment.

Dolphin Emulator Now Has DirectX 12 Support

DirectX 12 is a low-level API which has the potential to allow for console-like optimization across a wide range of PC hardware. While it’s still early days, there’s a great deal of excitement surrounding games with plans to use Microsoft’s revolutionary API. For example, Quantum Break is a DirectX 12 exclusive so it will be fascinating to see the performance numbers on various setups. Additionally, there are rumours circulating which suggests that Rise of the Tomb Raider might receive a DirectX 12 patch. On another note, the Vulkan API is an open source alternative supporting Windows 7, 8.1, 10, Linux, Android and more! Competition is vital to push technology forward, and it’s not beyond the realm of possibilities to see emulators adopt both APIs.

Dolphin is one of the most promising emulators and allows users to play Gamecube and Wii games! This is a fantastic project because it’s possible to experience iconic Nintendo games at high resolutions. On the original hardware, the output resolution is quite limiting and features a really murky look on modern Televisions. As always, it’s incredibly difficult to create a working emulator with low hardware demands. Currently, Dolphin works very well using the DirectX 11 but there’s some room for improvement.

The user “hdcmeta” on the Dolphin forums, has created a DirectX 12 backend which exhibits performance improvements of up to 50%:

“Generally, graphics-intensive games get a nice win, while (Gamecube CPU)-bound games (Zelda OOT from the ‘bonus disk’ is a good example) are the same – graphics wasn’t on the critical path there. At higher resolutions, graphics becomes more important, so the relative improvement can increase there. In general, CPU usage is now much lower for the same workload relative to DX11/OpenGL.”

Here we can see the percentile difference between DirectX 11, DirectX 12, and OpenGL:

 

This is astonishing and showcases the kind of optimization on low-mid range hardware. I’m interested to see if the performance increases scale in a similar fashion on higher end GPUs. Whatever the case, it seems DirectX 12 has a major benefit in emulators and this is going to be great news for anyone wanting to play older Nintendo games in glorious detail.

Vulkan 1.0 Specification Released

DirectX 11 has been the dominant API for a significant amount of time and doesn’t really allow for effective scaling across a wide range of hardware configurations. Thankfully, DirectX 12 is a major step in the right direction and could revolutionize the way game engines communicate with hardware. Theoretically, the new API should reduce CPU overheads and result in better optimization, although this is down to the developers. DirectX 12 isn’t the only low-level API on offer and there’s a great open source alternative, codenamed Vulkan which supports Windows 7, 8.1, 10, Android and Linux!

This is going to be an enticing proposition for anyone who dislikes Windows 10, and it could help with optimization on SteamOS. AMD originally submitted the XGL proposal from their work on Mantle and this was accepted by the OpenGL Next working group. As a company, AMD’s open source ethos ties in extremely well with Vulkan and they are going to release a beta driver with Vulkan functionality.

Raja Koduri, Senior Vice President and Chief Architect, Radeon Technologies Group, AMD said:

“The release of the Vulkan 1.0 specification is a huge step forward for developers. The Vulkan API, which was derived from Mantle, will bring the benefits of low-overhead high-performance Graphics API to the benefit of cross-platform and cross-vendor targeted applications,“ 

“The promotion of open and scalable technologies continues to be the focus at AMD, as a pioneer in the low-overhead API space. As a member of the Khronos Group, AMD is proud to collaborate with hardware and software industry leaders to develop the Vulkan API to ignite the next evolution in PC game development.”

I cannot wait to see Vulkan’s impact compared to other APIs and it’s quite plausible to see major performance benefits. However, I think it will be challenging to encourage developers to adopt Vulkan because the majority of users seems to be excited for DirectX 12 and prepared to upgrade to Windows 10 despite many concerns regarding privacy.

DirectX 12 is Coming to Rise of The Tomb Raider

Rise of the Tomb Raider is a spectacular adventure game which beautifully honours the series’ roots while adding a modern twist. The motion capture showcasing Lara’s subtle emotional changes is a sight to behold and almost defies belief. Originally, the game launched as an Xbox One exclusive, and caused a great deal of animosity from fans. This is because the Tomb Raider franchise traditionally released on various platforms including the PlayStation One, SEGA Saturn and PC.  The original reboot featured a fantastic PC version with superb optimization and an ample supply of visual settings. The developer responsible for this impeccable work is Nixxes Software and went onto product Rise of the Tomb Raider for the PC platform.

As you might expect given Nixxes’ reputation, the game is absolutely stunning, supporting various aspect ratios, advanced lighting effects, HBAO+, SMAA and more! This level of graphical fidelity does require a good PC with NVIDIA recommending a GTX 970 or above for the optimal 1920×1080 experience. At this time, the engine is based on the DirectX 11 API and does a good job of scaling across hardware. However, a recent finding by Reddit member ‘-Olek‘, suggests the latest low-level API, DirectX 12 will be implemented into the game fairly soon. To acquire the latest patch with DirectX 12 functionality, all you have to do is replace the game’s executable with the original .exe from the retail version. Steam users can perform this action by selecting the Beta update.

Please note, the DirectX 12 patch does not work at this time, but it shouldn’t be too far off as there’s an option for it in the revised menu. Additionally, it looks like the developer will add TXAA support which is another great inclusion. It will be fascinating to see the performance benefits moving from DirectX 11 to DirectX 12 especially when you consider how demanding the game is. This could be the first indication we have of the benefits of DirectX 12 in real world scenarios.

Fable Legends DX12 Engine Offers up to 40% Performance Gains

Fable Legends is an upcoming free-to-play cooperative action RPG developed by Lionhead Studios. This is a major departure from the traditional Fable formula which focuses on providing an enthralling single player experience via humorous characters and a thrilling story. Sadly, the series has progressively got worse and I really didn’t care for Fable III at all. This is a crying shame because Fable: The Lost Chapters is so charming and one of my favourite RPGs of all time. While Fable Legends is an interesting concept, many users simply want to see a brand new Fable game based on a standard business model. The advent of microtransactions makes the core gaming demographic quite concerned about a game’s value and ability to continue without having to grind for hours.

Currently, Fable Legends is accessible to a small number of users in the closed beta. I am one of the lucky ones and able to play the game, but an embargo agreement means I cannot publicly discuss it. As a Windows 10 exclusive, Fable Legends is opting for a DirectX 12 engine and offers significant performance gains compared to the older DirectX 11 API. Lionhead Studios’ director, Stuart Whyte said in a recent interview with BidnessETC that the performance enhancements on PC could be as much as 40%. This obviously depends on the hardware in question and I’d like to see a more detailed analysis of which configurations showcase the biggest gains.

Also, Whyte went onto discuss the effect on DirectX 12 on the Xbox One and said advanced features including asynchronous compute and efficient multi-threaded rendering would help “push the visual bar higher than would otherwise be possible.” Please note, this doesn’t mean DirectX 12 will be able to leverage extra frames-per-second, unlike the implementation on PC. Perhaps, it will help to improve texture quality or allow for a higher rendering resolution.

AMD Says DX12 And Vulkan “Serve a Need And Add Value”

The advent of low-level APIs such as DirectX 12 and Vulkan have the potential to revolutionize the way modern games scale across various hardware setups. Clearly the gains compared to DirectX 11 are still unknown until a game’s engine offers a direct comparison between the two APIs on identical hardware. Theoretically, it could be the most significant change to PC gaming in years and allow for enhanced optimization. There’s a huge debate regarding Microsoft’s DirectX 12 system and the open source Vulkan API. In a recent interview with Tom’s Hardware, AMD’s VR director, Daryl Sartain described the current state of modern APIs and how mantle contributed to the development of DirectX 12:

“I view Mantle as something – because we did a lot of contribution to the features into DX12 –  that has been spun into DX12 in so many ways. But to your question on Vulkan versus DX12, without getting into all the religious aspect, what I said yesterday [on the VR Fest panel] is that I think that both serve a need and add value. Can you make an argument that one is better than the other? You can make an argument about anything. Just bring a lawyer into the room.”

“But I do believe that, and what I most am concerned about is our ISVs, the ISV community, where they gain the greatest benefit. You know, there are some people developing on Linux, all different flavors of life – so it’s a difficult question as to which [API] should we be focused on, which one is better”.

“My opinion is that Windows as a platform, as an OS, is far better and far more evolved today than some of the previous generations, and that’s to be expected. DX12 and its integration into Windows is a great experience, is a great development environment, and has great compatibility. Does that mean that Vulkan doesn’t have a place? No. I think that answer really has to come from the development community, not from us.”

This is a fairly non-committal response but it’s too easy to see a clear advantage from either API. At least there’s a clear alternative to DirectX 12 if you want to go down the open source route. Given the success of Windows as a gaming operating system, I cannot see DirectX 12 being overtaken unless there are some very clear performance or feature benefits.

Twitter Suffers Massive Outage

Twitter didn’t have the best stability record when it first launched and there were so many downtimes that we even got a nickname for them, the fail whale. Recently Twitter has upped the service standard and the outages have become rare, especially a complete one like it is being experienced this morning.

The web service, mobile services, and the APIs for Twitter were down and inaccessible starting at 8:20 am GMT, with users getting error messages warning that the network was over capacity and also suffering an internal error. Roughly 40 minutes later Twitter confirmed the outtake, but via a Tweet on the @support channel that no one could see, because the service was down. They later emailed the same statement to several news sites to let people know that they are aware of the issue and working hard on getting it resolved.

“Some users are currently experiencing problems accessing Twitter. We are aware of the issue and are working towards a resolution.”

Twitter’s own status board also began updating with the status at 9 am this morning, confirming the outage. Four out five public APIs went down at the same time, but the company hasn’t revealed whether it was hardware issues, software updates that failed, or whether they experienced any form of attack. We’ve seen quite a lot of high-profile sites being hit with severe DDoS attacks lately, including the BBC.

At the time of writing, the servers are responding again, but the service isn’t available yet. Visiting the site will show the well known “Something is technically wrong. Thanks for noticing, we’re going to fix it up and have things back to normal soon.” 

Are you missing Twitter or wouldn’t you have noticed it at all if we or someone else hadn’t told you? Let us know in the comments section below.

DirectX 12 3DMark Shown For The First Time!

3DMark is an essential tool in the technology industry and predominately used to differentiate between various graphics cards. More specifically, FireStrike, FireStrike Extreme and FireStrike Ultra determines the GPU’s performance at different resolutions and provides an accurate score which many leading hardware websites depend on. That’s not to say it’s just for professional use though, as some enthusiasts like to bench hardware and see the enhancements in driver revisions as well as small core clock adjustments. DirectX 11 is a functional API but doesn’t offer anywhere near the optimizations and low overheads in DirectX 12. As a result, DirectX 12 is often perceived as a revolutionary step which encourages multi-GPU configurations and utilizes each person’s setup in a more effective manner.

The latest big update to 3DMark revolves around these major changes and has been kept under wraps for some time. However, 3DMark’s product manager, Pasi Virtanen showcased the current working build of 3DMark using DirectX 12 during a presentation. According to Pasi Virtanen, the upcoming edition will feature two GPU tests, including the “Time Spy” benchmark and a CPU test. Apparently, this will provide some of the most complex benchmarking tools ever devised and incorporate leading DirectX 12 attributes in the testing procedure.

Currently, there’s no firm release date as the software suite is being worked on. Although, early reports suggest it will probably launch sometime in 2016. I cannot wait to see if DirectX 12 lives up to its potential and how developers manage to cope with the new API.

Fable Legends DX12 Benchmark Show AMD Gains

Ever since the first AOTS DX12 benchmark showed major gains for AMD, many have been waiting for another benchmark. Today, Microsoft released a DX12 benchmark for their new Fable Legends game. Once again, it looks like AMD has managed to secure some strong gains in DX12, with cards throughout the lineup showing good relative gains compared to their Nvidia counterparts.

Comparing stock reference cards, the R9 290X/390X shows significant improvement, being able to secure a strong lead over the GTX 980. The 290/390 also leads significantly over its GTX970 competitor and even manages to edge past the GTX 980. These figures hold true across multiple resolutions which shows that the differences are more architectural rather than CPU bound. One reason for this is likely the ASync Compute that Fable developers have noted is nearly free to implement on AMD’s GCN.

Higher up the product stack, the GTX 980 Ti manages to hold onto its crown against the Fury X, with the two cards trading blows. This really shows how strong GM200 has been for Nvidia and also how the current GCN architecture is bottlenecked. Lower down the 380 takes a commanding lead over the 960 tough not quite enough to match the GTX 970. For older cards like the 7970 and the 680, AMD also managed to post a strong lead, showing off how GCN really was forward looking.

One variation to look out for between benchmarks is that some sites are using non-reference  factory OC models that clock more and are not labelling them. Once you consider overclocking the numbers go flying and Maxwell’s ability to OC would likely narrow some of the gains showed by AMD. However, it’s still early days for DX12 so there may yet be more changes until the ecosystem stabilizes. The biggest takeaway is how 290/290X owners will be loving their cards more and more as DX12 games roll out. With many DX12 to be associated with AMD, who knows if this trend will continue?

Thank you ExtremeTech for providing us with this information

Valve’s Dan Ginsburg Claims Vulkan is Better than DirectX 12

Valve developer Dan Ginsburg spoke at length regarding the two upcoming APIs, DirectX 12 and Vulkan, during this year’s SIGGRAPH event. While both are much anticipated, offering low-level access to a PC’s GPU and CPU, Ginsburg claims that there is no reason to create a DX12 back-end for games, and that Vulkan is the superior API.

Ginsburg said:

“Unless you are aggressive enough to be shipping a DX12 game this year, I would argue that there is really not much reason to ever create a DX12 back end for your game. And the reason for that is that Vulkan will cover you on Windows 10 on the same class of hardware and so much more from all these other platforms and IHVs that we’ve heard from. Metal is single platform, single vendor, and Vulkan… we are gonna have support for not only Windows 10 but Windows 7, Windows 8 and Linux.”

It must be noted that Ginsburg is working on the Khonos Group’s Vulkan API, and so may have a vested interest in its success. Conversely, he is also in a fine position to extol the virtues of Vulkan, having worked so closely on it.

Thank you Dark Side of Gaming for providing us with this information.

Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to Feature DX12 & Built-in Benchmark from Day-One

We caught the news this week that Deus Ex: Mankind Divided will be reaping the benefits, or should I say augments, that come from DirectX 12. This is great news for those who are wanting to tap into more of their GPU hardware, but even better news as there’s not exactly a lot of games out there right now that are flexing DX12!

The good news is that the game will support DirectX 12 from day one, so no waiting for a future patch or update to see what all the fuss is about. What is going to make this game even more interesting, at least as far as I am concerned, is that it’ll feature a built-in benchmark; something that is sorely missing from many modern games.

Given that the game features DirectX 12, as well as a bunch of features such as AMD’s TressFX 3.0 tech, it’s going to be an interesting one to push the limits of the latest graphics cards and we can’t wait to get benchmarking with it.

Of course, Direct X 12, benchmarking tools and more are a big win for consumers, as you’ll be able to better fine tune your games visuals to run on your hardware. Let’s just hope they sort out that bloody awful pre-order campaign!

Thank you DSO for providing us with this information.

AMD: Deus Ex: Mankind Divided to Support DX12 at Launch

Possibly, the greatest benefit in Windows 10 is the highly-optimized DirectX 12 API. Unfortunately, very few games take advantage of DirectX 12 functionality and it’s unknown if current DirectX 11 titles will be updated. Despite this, future games should scale much better across various configurations on the newest API and has been widely implemented as it’s been in the hands of developers for some time. In an interview with TweakTown, AMD’s Chief Gaming Scientist, Richard Huddy, has confirmed Deus Ex: Mankind Divided would launch with DirectX 12 support.

Furthermore, AMD’s TressFX Hair 3.0 technology will be implemented and the options menu features an integrated benchmark. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how AMD and NVIDIA GPUs compare with a AAA game designed around DirectX 12. There has been a great deal of controversy regarding Asynchronous Shaders which supposedly favour AMD. Of course, Deus EX: Human Divided is an AMD-sponsored game in a similar vein to its predecessor. In theory, this means the game should be optimized better on AMD hardware.

Although, on launch this could become complicated as it’s difficult to gauge if DirectX 12 or AMD’s involvement in the game will be the major determining factor. Personally, I’m just pleased to see DirectX 12 support out-of-the-box and cannot wait to see how various cards perform.

Are you looking forward to Deus Ex: Mankind Divided?

Thank you TweakTown for providing us with this information. 

Vulkan API Almost 50% Faster Than OpenGL

Intel showcased the benefits of the Vulkan API during SIGGRAPH 2015 and exemplified its viability as a mainstream alternative to OpenGL. The Stardust graphics demonstration was conducted on an Intel PC with a fairly modest quad-core processor to gauge typical performance gains. The OpenGL benchmarks signified a complete lack of multi-threaded optimization and only fully utilized 1 core. The other 3 cores were virtually dormant and showed how OpenGL heavily relies on single threaded performance. Subsequently, this resulted with a final benchmark figure of 25fps.

In direct contrast to this, the Vulkan API provided a more consistent workload and spread the processing power across 4 cores. This improved the framerate by almost 50% and hovered around 50fps.  Additionally, the CPU power consumption was exponentially reduced. To work out the exact figure, the benchmark featured an fps lock and compared each API at identical performance numbers. Unbelievably, Vulkan’s CPU power demands hit a maximum wattage at almost half the figure of OpenGL.

Other benefits surrounding Vulkan include an open ethos allowing it to run to any operating system such as Ubuntu, SteamOS, Windows XP and Android. Additionally, the API is designed to work across a wide array of devices from mobiles to gaming PCs. This makes it extremely flexible and should scale quite well across various software packages. Also, the API is backed by industry behemoths and has a bright future ahead.

At this time, Vulkan is rather impressive and could be the future API of direct 3D graphics. I highly recommend checking out the video footage below which shows Vulkan in all its glory.

 

https://youtu.be/llOHf4eeSzc

ARK: Survival Evolved DirectX 12 Patch Coming Friday

ARK: Survival Evolved is a visually stunning survival-adventure game and already amassed a huge community. As with any graphical masterpiece, the GPU demands are quite high especially at UHD and QHD resolutions. The developer, Studio Wildcard, has announced a huge update via the Steam Community which releases this Friday. Included is a DirectX 12 patch which promises performance gains of 20% compared to the DirectX 11 rendering. However, it will be interesting if this is an average figure and how it scales across various GPUs. Will the DirectX 12 functionality work better on lower-end cards or AMD GPUs going by previous results?

Below is the complete patch notes for Friday’s update:

“– Specific Representative “on-ground” meshes for all dropped items
– Water Raft
– Driveable Dune Buggy Modding example (we’ll let modders have the first crack at vehicles with this example
– Human and Dino Warpaint

– Collidable Saddle Platform & Build-on-Saddles: make your big brontos and plesios into mobile bases, build just about anything up from them! Build ladders to climb up onto them, whatever — the possibilities are nearly endless!!! We originally were gonna limit it to sleeping bags and turrets, but let’s just go all-out and make it work with everything.

– Powered Elevator Structures
– Controllable Ballistas/Turrets to place on structures and on the backs of your dinos
– Swamp Biome & New Swamp Cave
– Snow Biome & New Snow Cave
– Random GPU Driver crash fix: TrueSky”

In addition to technical improvements, there will also be a new creature called the Doedicurus. To accompany this announcement, the ARK team has unveiled a trailer and explanation of the animal’s abilities.

“The Armadillo-like Doedicurus is a handy creature to have in your stables, as it can efficiently harvest stone on an industrial scale. It also has tremendous defensive protection via its hard shell, to which it will retreat if threatened. Most importantly, when riding it, you can enter “shell-charge” mode and roll through the ARK as a hardened, nearly indestructible ball… similar to a certain blue rodent! This ability is great for rapidly closing the distance towards enemies, or just plowing through them like a bowling ball, making the Doedicurus fun for the whole tribe.”

With DirectX 12 powered games finally becoming mainstream, there’s no better time to get into PC Gaming the reap the rewards of a truly optimized API.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information.

Will DirectX 12 and Cloud Gaming Be Possible for VR Games?

There have undoubtedly been a lot of attempts in introducing Cloud Gaming in the past. The concept is great and it will really help reduce a lot of computing power on a user’s machine, but failed attempts so far don’t make it practical, so how about adding DirectX 12 and VR to the mix?

Elijah Freeman, Executive Producer at Crytek, told GamingBolt about some interesting ideas of combining all three technologies, and from what I understand, it might just work. Of course, VR requires low latency and high FPS to run the latest games, so optimizations for all titles using the technology should be on the developers’ minds all the time.

DirectX 12 already revealed its power of optimized draw calls and high FPS, so the API should be a must for developers looking to get a lot of ‘fancy’ stuff in their titles and get good frame rates at the end. This is why Crytek believes that combining the cloud, DirectX 12 and VR might just do the trick.

You can’t actually play a fully fledged VR game straight from the cloud, but Crytek believes that using it to simulate complex code which is not required on a user’s PC will greatly increase the performance and free up more resources. They presented such a concept when showing off a lot of explosions being simulated in Crackdown 3 without having a performance drop. You can view the title’s trailer below.

So what do you think? Is DirectX 12 and Cloud Gaming the future for complex VR games? Let us know!

Thank you GamingBolt for providing us with this information

Vulkan Will Make Android Gaming Faster and More Powerful

Google has announced that it is introducing low-overhead API Vulkan to its Android devices, bringing with it improved speed and graphics while reducing the load on the CPU.

“Even the most careful developers can hit unforeseen bottlenecks, in part because the drivers for some graphics processors may reorganize all of that data before it can actually be processed,” Shannon Woods, Shannon Woods for Google’s Android operating system, explained in a blog post. “In order to address some of the sources of CPU overhead and provide developers with more explicit control over rendering, we’ve been working to bring a new 3D rendering API, Vulkan, to Android.”

Vulkan allows programmers to access the hardware of whichever Android device a game is running on, much in the same way as Apple’s Metal, giving them more flexibility and power to exploit while saving the processor much of its usual overhead.

“We’ll be working hard to help create, test, and ship Vulkan, but at the same time, we’re also going to contribute to and support OpenGL ES,” Woods added. “As a developer, you’ll be able to choose which API is right for you: The simplicity of OpenGL ES, or the explicit control of Vulkan. We’re committed to providing an excellent developer experience, no matter which API you choose.”

High-end Android smartphones and tablets released over the last six months – featuring Qualcomm’s Adreno 400-series GPUs and Nvidia’s Tegra K1 – should support Vulkan, with further hardware integration planned for future devices.

Thank you readwrite for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of diit.cz.

Square Enix Pulls Plug on OS X Final Fantasy 14

Pulling game sales after a failed launch seems to be a more common occurrence. Square Enix has announced that they will be pulling the Mac version of Final Fantasy 14 A Realm Reborn after a launch riddled with poor performance. In addition to stopping sales, Square Enix is facilitating refunds for customers interested. In the meanwhile, Square Enix plans to work on the Mac version of the game until performance is up to par. Square Enix has admitted the game was accidentally released too early before all the bugs were fixed.

Producer and Director Naoki Yoshida noted that Square Enix had made a number of serious mistakes. First, the Mac system requirements were inadequately communicated and released incorrect system requirements, meaning those some bought the game thinking it would play fine on their system when it couldn’t. Yoshida admitted that if accurate system requirements had been communicated, many might not have purchased the game.

One major source of the low performance was blamed on OpenGL. Square Enix turned to TransGaming to provide a WINE based middleware to let the DirectX native game work on OS X. A native port was not possible due to development cost concerns and relatively low demand. According to Yoshida, coding a version to OpenGL would be sub-optimal due to a 30% performance deficit compared to DirectX for FFXIV specifically. While work continues on the OpenGL version, hopes are that Apple’s new Metal API will kick in to improve performance in the future.

When creating cross-platform games, creating a native version of each platform can be a pain and getting a good OpenGL port out can be problematic as most devs are focused on DirectX. However, this is where cross-platform game engines like Unity Unreal Engine 4 and Cryengine come in, moving the responsibility for managing multiple APIs to the engine developers. Big devs can and do create their own engines to run their game. In these cases, enough attention has to be given to the secondary platforms, something that Square Enix did not seem to do.

We Wave Good Bye to AMD’s Mantle

AMD had a brief moment with their low-level API Mantle, but it looks like Mantle won’t be a term used for much longer. With DirectX 12 just around the corner and the next generation OpenGL, dubbed Vulcan, there just isn’t any room for it anymore.

Nvidia denied to back it from the start, which isn’t any surprise at all. If AMD created it, they won’t touch it – at least that’s the way it looks to the outside world. DirectX 12 and Vulcan are pretty much doing the same thing, so it would be a waste to continue it for AMD.

That doesn’t mean that they’re completely ceasing the support and AMD will continue to support Mantle for its GCN graphics cards, but they have ceased all further optimizations for future GPUs.

“AMD has confirmed that while they are not outright dropping Mantle support, they have ceased all further Mantle optimization. Of particular note, the Mantle driver has not been optimized at all for GCN 1.2, which includes not just R9 Fury X, but R9 285, R9 380, and the Carrizo APU as well. Mantle titles will probably still work on these products,” Anandtech wrote

GCN 1.2 includes all the new top cards such as the R9 Fury X, R9 285, and R9 380. It is a bit sad to see AMD stopping this development, but it is an understandable decision and it might very well have set the new standards in motions by its pure existence. So it wasn’t for nothing.

Thank You DSOgaming for providing us with this information

More Characters in Twitter’s Direct Messages From Next Month

We all tried to explain some things to friends over Twitter, but it proved to be so difficult and frustrating. The social media giant still has its 140 character restriction and it’s just not enough when you type like a true writer. But that’s about to change, according to an announcement Twitter made on its Developer Forums.

Twitter is now officially dropping the character limit and encouraging developers to deal with the change before it goes live. And you know the best part of it? The limit will be dropped as soon as next month.

We’ve done a lot to improve Direct Messages over the past year and have much more exciting work on the horizon. One change coming in July that we want to make you aware of now (and first!) is the removal of the 140 character limit in Direct Messages.

Twitter also made some quick notes on what developers should take into account in the new API so it all goes smoothly from the start. Also, Twitter made it clear that nothing will change on the ‘tweets’ side, meaning that all tweets will still be 140 characters long.

Still, it’s better to send your friends an endless scroll message than have you scrolling down endlessly on the feed to get past that one tweet. But this does not mean Twitter will not be considering expanding the character limit of its tweets too. We might see that in the near future, but until we do, what do you think of the latest change? Do you like spending long DMs or are you scared you will be spammed? Let us know!

XCOM 2 Will Be a Modders Dream

It’s barely a week ago that we could tell you the great news, a new XCOM game was in the works and set for a November release. Part of the news was also the fact that it will be a PC exclusive, something that I openly cheered at. I got absolutely nothing against consoles and I think they are great for the casual gamer, but a cross-platform development will limit the game’s capabilities in comparison.

One of the things that was missing in the last XCOM: Enemy Unknown game was the ability to mod it, a thing Creative Director Jake Solomon states as a “missed opportunity they don’t intend to repeat”. Firaxis intends to release a full suite of modding tools, an Unreal Development Kit, and the editor the developers use to create content. You can run absolutely wild with it, “It is yours now; do with it what you want”.

“People will see the gameplay source, all the scripting,” he promised. “This is the code that makes the game what the game is. Here is the editor and all the assets that went into this game.”

Supporting modding isn’t just great for us as gamers, just see what has been done to games such as Skyrim or Grand Theft Auto V, but it is equally great for the people behind it. They will not only have a game that is played now, but for a very long time.

XCOM 2 modding will be available through Steam Workshops, making it easy to use and apply as well as distribute.

Thank you IGN for providing us with this information

Apple Moves Closer to the Gaming Market

We know that Apple’s hardware, especially its OS X operating system, was not designed with gaming in mind. This is why gamers and developers alike chose Windows and its DirectX when it comes to graphics, but Apple seems to want a piece of the gaming market too and this was clearly shown today at their Worldwide Developer Conference.

If you are familiar with last year’s WWDC, then you know all about the company’s Metal API. If you don’t, then you should know that the latter is Apple’s gaming platform previously announced for their iOS devices. However, this year the company wants to integrate it into their latest OS X too.

Dubbed El Capitan, Apple’s latest OS X 10.11 seems to move closer than ever to the gaming market, bringing 10x rendering performance compared to their previous OS X. To demonstrate El Capitan’s potential, they brought Epic Games to show everyone how gaming can be made possible on low-level graphics performance.

Also, Epic Games is not the only company to back Apple’s decision. Metal seems to be endorsed by other big name gaming companies such as 2K Games, Blizzard, and Unity. The companies have announced that they will be integrating Apple’s Metal API into their engines, which means we can look forward to more titles coming to Apple’s OS next year.

Than you TechCrunch for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of iC

Microsoft Killing off Facebook Integration

Microsoft have taken a strange move in their plan of development.

The business giant, Microsoft is killing off one of the key selling points of the Windows Phone operating system. Facebook integration. Microsoft first launched the Windows Phone operating system in 2010 as the first to feature deep integration with Facebook contacts and the news feed. It was a unique feature, but due Facebook updating their Graph API, Microsoft have now been forced to shut down all of their Facebook Connect features.

Microsoft note that Facebook contact integration in Outlook.com, Windows 8.1, and Windows Phone will now no longer work. “Contact information for the Facebook contacts shown will no longer be updated with information from Facebook,”Microsoft state. The changes go even further than just the much loved Facebook contacts integration though. Microsoft’s social connector for Outlook 2013 is now rendered useless, and the company’s Office 365 Outlook Web App will no longer pull in any Facebook information.

I can imagine a lot of Windows phone users will have a lot to say about this rather dramatic and un forewarned change. I know several Windows phone users and they all love the facebook contact integration feature. I highly suspect they will not be best pleased with the change.

Thanks to TheVerge for providing us with this information

Image courtesy of wallpapers111