Next-Gen Graphic APIs: DX12, Vulkan, and Metal


Registered User
Validated User
Strange that Blizzard is supporting an ancient version of Windows when they refuse to support any Mac OS that's more than two years old.

I mean, the market share difference is huge, but still. When I talked to their CS rep about why I was canceling my subscription, they said something to the effect of "we only support the last two major releases of Windows too."

Though to be fair, Mac OS updates have since become free, so Blizzard's policy isn't so bad any more.


Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
Apple is willing to cut machines out of the update loop, so there is that risk with them and updates :/

That said, Apple and most Mac software companies I've dealt with in the past are more than happy to leave you in the dust if you don't keep up, so its sort of the norm so far as I'm concerned. Keep up or dig in. Not much middle-ground.

I'm more concerned with Overwatch not being on Mac since Apple insists on putting house paint (Intel GPUs) on most of the Ferraris they make.


Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
Addition to DX12: "Variable Rate Shading: a scalpel in a world of sledgehammers"
What is Variable Rate Shading?

In a nutshell, it’s a powerful new API that gives the developers the ability to use GPUs more intelligently.

Let’s explain.

For each pixel in a screen, shaders are called to calculate the color this pixel should be. Shading rate refers to the resolution at which these shaders are called (which is different from the overall screen resolution). A higher shading rate means more visual fidelity, but more GPU cost; a lower shading rate means the opposite: lower visual fidelity that comes at a lower GPU cost.

Traditionally, when developers set a game’s shading rate, this shading rate is applied to all pixels in a frame.

There’s a problem with this: not all pixels are created equal.

VRS allows developers to selectively reduce the shading rate in areas of the frame where it won’t affect visual quality, letting them gain extra performance in their games. This is really exciting, because extra perf means increased framerates and lower-spec’d hardware being able to run better games than ever before.

VRS also lets developers do the opposite: using an increased shading rate only in areas where it matters most, meaning even better visual quality in games.

On top of that, we designed VRS to be extremely straightforward for developers to integrate into their engines. Only a few days of dev work integrating VRS support can result in large increases in performance.
Emphasis theirs.

I'll need to read more, but looks neat. That said, I don't know if they're getting ahead of Vulkan and Metal or catching up. Good either way.


RPGnet Member
Validated User
I doubt the fact that VRS has VR in its name is entirely coincidence. The concept of drawing a small area of intensely detailed pixels, with a peripheral region that cannot be perceived so directly, is pretty core to VR optimisation.


Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
Speaking of Nvidia (bolded for emphasis):
From engine updates to exciting games to developer tools, NVIDIA and its partners are making a number of ray tracing announcements at GDC 2019 to drive the ecosystem forward around this exciting new technology.

For decades, NVIDIA has been working towards the dream of real-time videogame ray tracing. It required millions of hours of research and development, focusing on everything from GPU hardware and software, to updated APIs and game engines, to development tools and denoisers. In 2018, all that hard work came to fruition with the launch of GeForce RTX GPUs, the world’s first consumer graphics cards with dedicated RT Core ray tracing hardware, enabling realistic ray-traced effects to run in real-time in high-fidelity and at high resolutions.

In the time since, our software and developer teams have kept working, allowing us to optimize our ray tracing technology, make new software advancements, and help developers further accelerate ray tracing performance in games. Because of this work, we have dramatically sped up ray tracing performance for GeForce RTX GPUs, and can now enable DirectX Raytracing ( DXR ) on GeForce GTX 1060 6GB and higher graphics cards via a Game Ready Driver update, expected in April.

The much larger install base of RT-capable GPUs will fuel developer adoption of ray tracing technology, bringing more games for both GeForce RTX and GeForce GTX users to experience. GeForce GTX gamers will have an opportunity to use ray tracing at lower RT quality settings and resolutions, while GeForce RTX users will experience up to 2-3x faster performance thanks to the dedicated RT Cores on their GPUs, enabling the use of higher-quality settings and resolutions at higher framerates.
Nice. Free upgrade for folks who have one of the eligable cards.


Neo•Geo Fanboy
Validated User
And related:
But path tracing has a downside: its random sampling algorithm introduces ‘noise’ that makes gameplay appear grainy and speckled, as seen in 2016’s Q2PT. To solve the problem, Christoph and his university colleagues built upon ideas originally conceived in 2016 during his NVIDIA internship, when he co-invented a fast way to remove said graininess by combining the results of multiple game frames, in a manner similar to that used by Temporal Anti-Aliasing.

As Christoph states on his site, Q2VKPT is the basis for future research, and a platform for more ray tracing goodness. So, we reached out shortly after Q2VKPT’s release to ask if our own ray tracing experts, many of whom he worked with previously, could develop some additions. He said yes, and this week NVIDIA is presenting the newly-created Quake II RTX with Christoph at GDC 2019.

Running on a Vulkan renderer, with support for Linux, Quake II RTX is a pure ray-traced game. That means all lighting, reflections, shadows and VFX are ray-traced, with no traditional effects or techniques utilized.

“But what’s new with Quake II RTX compared to Q2VKPT?”, you ask. A lot. We’ve introduced real-time, controllable time of day lighting, with accurate sunlight and indirect illumination; refraction on water and glass; emissive, reflective and transparent surfaces; normal and roughness maps for added surface detail; particle and laser effects for weapons; procedural environment maps featuring mountains, sky and clouds, which are updated when the time of day is changed; a flare gun for illuminating dark corners where enemies lurk; an improved denoiser; SLI support (hands-up if you rolled with Voodoo 2 SLI back in the day); Quake 2 XP high-detail weapons, models and textures; optional NVIDIA Flow fire, smoke and particle effects, and much more!

Take a first look in our screenshots below, and check back later for a video.
Kinda cool stuff! And its Vulkan, so I'm quite happy to see this.
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