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DX9 is dead
Friday, January 7, 2011 | Permalink

Speaking of the state of hardware, Just Cause 2 was kind of early to dump WinXP/DX9 and go DX10 exclusive back in March. I argued back then that this was the right thing to do, despite that at the time a relatively large group of people would not be able to play the game on their systems. I estimated it to 40% in this post from February. Today I would estimate it at maybe 15-20% given 25% left on WinXP of which a number of low-end systems (DX8, SM2.0 etc) would not be able to play a DX9 version anyway. Of course, it's also questionable if those SM3.0 cards would be able to render anything at an acceptable framerate given a DX9 version. Such a version would pretty much only exist for those on XP with DX10 cards, which would be about 10-15% of the market.

In the case of JC2 the decision to go DX10 exclusive for PC was actually made already back in early 2008. A radical move indeed, and given the slow adoption of Vista I suppose it was a good thing that the game got delayed, which of course happened for entirely different reasons, but having the game released some time after Windows 7 certainly helped make JC2 on PC available to a wider audience.

Today of course the situation is different. You'd be crazy to spend development effort on supporting DX9. It's great to see our friends over at DICE reaching the same conclusion. The amount of flexibility you have in DX10 over DX9 is huge, in addition to the performance advantages. You can simply make a better game if you focus on DX10 and above. When it was revealed that JC2 would only support DX10 this created quite a lot of criticism. Once the demo was released though almost all such criticism pretty much instantly went away. The result was speaking for itself.

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Simon Dufour
Friday, January 7, 2011

I was playing Just Cause 2 at release and I agree with you that the results were definitely impressive. I loaded the game and my jaw dropped every times. The strength is mostly in the quality of the LOD and view-distance in general IMO.

Silverio
Friday, January 7, 2011

Oh, so Just Cause 2 was DX10 only?.. I have not even damn noticed, having played the game through

Tomas H
Saturday, January 8, 2011

Well, it did stop me from playing. I was still on WinXP at the time Just Cause 2 was released as Vista didn't seem attractive at all, but I did have a decent graphics card (DX10 compatible). But plural of anecdote != data, etc.

Now, I do have win7 and am finally about to play Just Cause 2.

But I wonder how many sales were lost, to people in similar situations as me. On the other hand, if you needed the features of DX10 to really make the game shine, it also has to be kept in mind that NOT having those might have made the game do less well, sales wise.

I'm an indie developer, currently using DX9, but this post has made me think a lot about maybe switching to DX10, because there's a lot of features in there that my game would seriously benefit from - and I'm not sure my game would run well on anything less than an geforce 8800 anyway.

It would be nice to have DX10, especially for terrain rendering and being able to use MSAA in combination with deferred shading... I think? Haven't looked into all of this too much yet, but especially anti-aliasing is a pretty big deal to me.

Alvar Jansson
Sunday, January 16, 2011

I'm happy too that dx9 is finally being abolished. I think for casual games you don't want to miss out on the mac community. Perhaps things like webGL will be used for casual stuff.

Josh
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

I would argue that DX 10 and 11 are dead. Crysis 2 is being released as DX9 only. Yeah, yeah, they will add DX11 in a few months...the delay only proves it isn't a priority.

OpenGL 3 FTW. (GL4 isn't going to be supported in OSX Lion, it looks like).

BK
Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The reason why DX9 is still around is because it is in a sweet spot. It is supported by all gamers. It gives enough flexibility/programmability through shaders (SM3.0) It is familiar to many programmers. people have tons of code base on it. And the console market is on DX9 Level market. Once the new generation consoles roll out the market will probably move to DX11 or DX12.