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DirectX is "getting in the way" of PC performance

Developers calling for API removal claims hardware manufacturer AMD

Hardware manufacturer AMD has suggested that bypassing APIs such as DirectX would be the best way to unlock the full potential of current PC hardware, which the company claims is being held back by the prioritisation of console development.

"It's funny," said AMD's GPU worldwide developer relations manager Richard Huddy in an interview with bit-tech.net. "We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it's very clear that the games don't look ten times as good."

"To a significant extent, that's because, one way or another, for good reasons and bad - mostly good, DirectX is getting in the way," he added.

We often have at least ten times as much horsepower as an Xbox 360 or a PS3 in a high-end graphics card, yet it's very clear that the games don't look ten times as good

Richard Huddy, AMD.

According to Huddy one of the most common requests from developer is to, "Make the API go away."

"Being able to have total control over the machine, which is what the very best games developers want. By giving you access to the hardware at the very low level, you give games developers a chance to innovate, and that's going to put pressure on Microsoft – no doubt at all," said Huddy.

Although a standard 3D API is intended to ensure code can run on as wide a range of hardware as possible, Huddy suggests that the access it provides to tools such as shaders can be a double-edge sword.

"The funny thing about introducing shaders into games in 2002 was that we expected that to create more visual variety in games, but actually people typically used shaders in the most obvious way. That means that they've used shaders to converge visually, and lots of games have the same kind of look and feel to them these days on the PC."

Huddy admits that removing the API would not suit all developers though, with the report quoting Introversion's Chris Delay: "I don't want anything to do with that, but presumably it depends on what you're developing. If you're making Crysis 3 or something like that, then it may be exactly what you want."

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