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State of Direct X 11: current and future games

For more than one year, DirectX 11 capable games have been available. Besides graphics cards of AMD and Nvidia, Microsoft's Vista and Windows 7 support DirectX 11. There are about a dozen suitable titles - upward trend. PC Games Hardware summarizes once more.
In September 2009, AMD's Evergreen-Generation took off. The Radeon HD 5870 was, at this point of time, the fastest single-GPU graphics card and the first one to support DirectX 11. However, gamers had to wait until October for Microsoft to release a DirectX 11 update for Vista and Windows 7 operating systems.

Civilization 5 (September 2010)
Civilization 5 (September 2010) [Source: view picture gallery]
WoW Cataclysm (Beta running)
WoW Cataclysm (Beta running) [Source: view picture gallery]
Crysis 2 (Probably in March 2011)
Crysis 2 (Probably in March 2011) [Source: view picture gallery]
Duke Nukem Forever (When it's done ... oh wait, 2011)
Duke Nukem Forever (When it's done ... oh wait, 2011) [Source: view picture gallery]
The current API consists of the main features compute shader, tesselation, multithreading, dynamic shader linking and advanced texture compression. In games, you predominantly meet the first two of these features. Tesselation raises the number of polygons by using a dedicated hardware unit and certain shader routines (hull and domain). Compute shaders are mostly often used to accelerate post processing.

Since the appearance of suitable hard- and software one year has gone by and several games supporting DX-11 have been released or existing titles have been patched accordingly. The first games went under AMD's flag: The release dates of Stalker: Call of Prypiat and the Radeon HD 5870 have been matched, in December Colin McRae Dirt 2 and in Feruary Aliens vs. Predator followed up. Nvidia's launch of Fermi was backed by Metro 2033, an update for Battleforge and Battlefield: Bad Company 2. After that, the tide was going out. As recently as in September, the next native DX 11 Game Civilization followed. The latter offers improved visual appeal and more performance with DirectX 11 enabled. The new Medal of Honor, the Lost Planet 2 benchmark and the coming WoW-add-on Cataclysm are stuck in beta- oder demo-status.

DirectX 11 games already available:
• Aliens vs. Predator (tessellation, MSAA, improved shadows, higher fps thanks to CS during post processing)
• Battleforge (with patch, higher fps thanks to compute shader for SSAO)
• Battlefield Bad Company 2 (filtered shadows)
• Civilization 5 (MSAA, higher fps and improved textures thanks to CS as well as tessellation, multithreading)
• Colin McRae Dirt 2 (tessellation, HBAO with compute shader)
• Lost Planet 2 Benchmark-Demo (tessellation, compute shader for Akride mesh, improved shadows)
• Medal of Honor Multiplayer-Beta (filtered shadows)
• Metro 2033 (tessellation, nicer depth of field thanks to compute shader)
• Stalker Call of Pripyat (tessellation, higher fps thanks to CS during post processing)
• WoW Cataclysm Beta (higher fps thanks to CS during post processing)

Since presumably AMD will be releasing its new Radeon-Series within this month, the spread of DirectX 11 graphics cards will increase even further. In a few weeks Two Worlds 2 will be ready but we still don't know what features Reality Pump will integrate - same thing with HAWX 2 (but the latter with great hopes for DX11). Crysis 2 we could salute at the Gamescom, but Crytek didn't release any details about the PC version. But what we can tell already is that the developers managed to accelerate deferred lighting and the post effects drastically by using compute shader. Tesselation should also be found. Battlefield is going to be a PC-only title which will forgo DirectX 9. The Frostbite Engine 2.0 might very well make use of each and every feature the new API has to offer.

Future games with DirectX 11 (not all of them confirmed)
• Battlefield 1943
• Battlefield 3
• Colin McRae Dirt 3
• Crysis 2
• Duke Nukem Forever (higher fps)
• F1 2010 via Patch
• LOTR Online via Patch
• Tom Clancy's HAWX 2
• Two Worlds 2
• Race Driver Grid 2

Picture gallery  (enlarge to view source)

Author: Marc Sauter (Oct 12, 2010)

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