AMD – DirectX SUCKS (Too Much Overhead, That Is)

Posted by on March 18, 2011 at 9:25 pm

The CPU / GPU Developer and owner of Radeon (formerly ATI) has gone on the record saying that the DirectX API is the source of many a woe in the game developers world.

Richard Huddy, Manager of ATI’s GPU division has claimed that game developers want the API to disappear and that it is getting in the way of creating dramatically better graphics.

He told Bit-Tech, in a interview:

“I certainly hear this in my conversations with games developers and I guess it was actually the primary appeal of Larrabee to developers – not the hardware, which was hot and slow and unimpressive, but the software – 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.”

And, for good measure:

“It’s funny, 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 also made the point that many developers wish the API would “go away.”

At this point, most game developers are devoting most of their resources to the high end consoles such as the Xbox360 and Playstation 3 and then porting their games over to the PC which means that the PC versions are only slightly better than the console versions, graphically speaking, even with the extra power under the hood.

The problem, according to Richard Huddy, is that the API’s overhead steals tons of performance that, if freed up, would allow developers to innovate.

What does all of this mean for the future of DirectX? Probably nothing. At this point the API is what allows developers to program across a range of hardware and also allows the security of a software layer between the code and the hardware. Taking away the API will lead to instability and a lot of extra work for game developers.

So I have to wonder…When will someone come up with an API that is fast, lightweight and powerful and oust DirectX from it’s spot as the king of the gaming graphics API’s?


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