New graphics features: Games will install DirectX 12 in the future


New versions of the graphics API DirectX 12 will no longer appear exclusively via Windows 10 updates. Instead, Microsoft is bringing back a distribution model of earlier APIs such as DirectX 11: studios will in future be able to include suitable DirectX 12 versions with all the required Direct3D features in their games and have them installed automatically.

Microsoft provides developers with the DirectX 12 Agility SDK for this purpose and rebuilds the folder structure in Windows 10. The previous D3D12.dll will be converted into a loader that refers to the new D3D12Core.dll. The latter can be updated either through game installations or, last but not least, through Windows 10 updates. Developers are not required to use the SDK.

Studios can thus implement new graphics functions before the majority of the players have installed the most recently released Windows 10 version. Currently this means: On PCs with Windows 10 (1909), i.e. the November 2019 update, all graphics functions of Direct3D 12_2 can be used, including the latest ray tracing and variable rate shading (VRS). So far this only worked with the May 2020 update.

Microsoft is currently distributing the DirectX 12 Agility SDK with the new shader model 6.6 to studios, which has not yet come with a Windows 10 update. This is particularly helpful for game developers because they may no longer have to maintain multiple code paths together with Xbox versions for many months.

Gamers benefit from potentially prettier graphics and higher frame rates. All you have to do is accept the additional installations that are known from DirectX 11.


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