Unity Founder: DirectX 12 API Alone Doesn’t Give A Significant Performance Boost

David Helgason also talks about the use of Enlighten in Unity.

Posted By | On 29th, May. 2015 Under News | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet


During this year’s GDC, Unity delivered a extensive demonstration which showcased the advantages of using DirectX 12 along with Unity Engine. During the demonstration, Kasper Engelstoft, Unity’s Graphics Engineer spoke about shadow maps rendering in the Unity Engine. When using multiple threads which all doing their thing, the frame time to render shadow maps was 23 ms but when the developers switched over to DirectX 12, the frame time was reduce to 13 ms. However Kasper stated that this did not happened on its own as they had to revise their threading schedules.

In short, developers would need to make top level changes to their framework structure if they want to include DX12 support in their game engines. In order to get more clarity, GamingBolt caught up with Unity CEO David Helgason to know how the new API will work.

“The API alone doesn’t give a significant performance boost, it simply allows scaling on multiple cores, and that’s what we demonstrated at GDC,” Helgason said to GamingBolt. However he believes that once their threading and scheduling strategies are in place, rendering in Unity will be much faster. The developer won’t require to change a thing in frameworks resulting into native DX12 support. “Once our code is ready Unity rendering will just be faster – most users probably won’t have to change a thing in their projects to receive the performance improvement,  because all we will do is scale their rendering on to multiple CPU cores.”

Helgason also spoke about Enlighten, a lighting middleware from Geomerics.

“One of the great things about Unity 5 is the inclusion of Enlighten from Geomerics. It’s known for in-game real-time GI, but it also provides is a vastly improved lighting workflow for artists. Faster workflow means faster iteration which means better looking levels and content in general. Part of this is due to an iterative mode which removes the need for explicitly baking the scene. This basically means the scene will precompute and bake in the background and the Editor will automatically track changes made to the scene and execute the tasks needed to fix up the lighting. Many of these lighting iteration tasks will be nearly instantaneous.”

Given that Unity is the go to engine for several independent developers, PC games and to an extent Xbox One may see some performance improvements compared to the older versions of Unity. This could only mean great things for performance and graphical parameters in video games.

Stay tuned for our complete interview with Helgason next week.

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  • Starman

    One question to ‘GB’ , ‘IGN’ , FANBOYS and other gaming sites..
    Why is your research set toward shooting down DX12 instead of looking for the good of it … It seems you all are worried .. and trust me they’re not going to tell you all it can do , don’t be so naive … stop choosing sides …

    • Psionicinversion

      Because they think its threatening the cripple station4

    • Modi Rage

      No, they all ready know it’s not threatening. That is what they’ve been saying. It’s just Xbox fan boys who want to believe and wish it will save the Cripplebox 180.

    • Reddz Foxx

      Why you trolling if the ps4 was so good you should be playing it, right?

    • Cypher-Unknown

      That’s the daftest argument ever.

    • Przemysław Lib

      Silly. We already know that PS4 had very alternative from day one.

      Yes PS4 had their own DX12 for years now.

      On top of that Sony supports Vulkan at least on PCs/mobile.

      So why exactly would they be threatened by DX12?

      * Sony API’s called GNM.

  • JerkDaNERD7

    Clickbate, lol

  • Terminator

    Some say devs say its good and it will have an impact others say its good but wont have an impact… so which is it? Only when games start using Dx12 is that we will see who was right. Now XbotMK1 is not and will never, ever be right.

  • Starman

    All articles get pushed to the next page as new ones are posted …. plz tell me/us , why you are keeping the article on the first page “about DX12 not doing much ?
    Now if that’s not purposely trying to create negativity about DX12 XB1 AND PC using it … then Idk what is …YOU’RE FANBOYING ‘GB’……..newer articles have been bumped to the next page , but not this one that has been up since this morning…

  • d0x360

    Well no **** dev… Microsoft said from day 1 they are taking control away from the Ali and giving it to the developers. You have to code for it.

  • XbotMK1

    None of you Xbox fan boys know anything about what Direct X is. You’ve been hyping up Direct X12 because you are hypocritical fan boys who can’t stand your favorite console being out performed. I will explain it simply for you.

    No amount of software tweaking will change the hardware limit. There is no secret GPU or advanced RAM in the Xbox One. The Xbox One and PS4 are the same architecture. This is not the PS3 vs Xbox 360 days. That means whatever software tweaks are in DX12 can also be done on the PS4 and PC. The only difference is the PS4 has a stronger GPU, faster RAM, and more ACE units. DX12 will let developers take advantage of ACE units which boosts frame rates. The PS4 has 8 ACE units and the Xbox One only has 2. 32 mb of ESRAM will never make up the difference between 5 gigs of DDR3 and 5.5 gigs of GDDR5.

    The PS4 had a lower level API from the beginning that is more advanced than DX12 and allows developers to do more, but 3rd party devs haven’t really used it because Microsoft holds everyone back with Direct X, so why are you hyping up DX12 when it is nothing new? Because you are fan boys.

    When developers say, “DX12 is giving us huge gains” they’re refering to PC, not Xbox One. These developers haven’t used DX12 for Xbox One yet. Microsoft themselves haven’t even shown what DX12 will do for Xbox One. Why is that? If is was going to be a massive change or solve their problems against the PS4, they would be shouting it from the roof tops which they aren’t. Phil Spencer stated DX12 won’t be a dramatic difference for Xbox One like it will PC. He also stated Xbox One all ready has DX12 features which should tell you something. PCs don’t have lower level access like consoles all ready do. DX12 will boost CPU efficiency FOR PC. Consoles are not CPU bound. They are GPU bound.

    Why is Microsoft making such a big deal about DX12 when Vulkan does the same? Because Microsoft wants developers to use DX12 so they are bound to Microsoft products and hardware? Why is Microsoft making such a big deal about DX12 when the PS4 all ready has these abilities? Becuse DX12 was never made for Xbox One. It was made for PC. Xbox was made to compliment Direct X. Why has Microsoft not released DX12 before? Because they’re using it to force you to upgrade to Windows 10. Direct X was made to control hardware manufacturers. Microsoft leads you around by your nose laughing because you’re hyping up an Direct X that was originally made to screw you and only benefit Microsoft.

    If you trully care about PC performance than you should be more thrilled for Vulkan. It does the same thing but it isn’t bound to Windows and Microsoft products.

    • Terminator

      LOL as if you even understand it yourself apart from the garbage you heard for your Sony Drone brethren. Keep it up, no matter how much you keep crying, b*tching and copying the same comment over and over it wont change anything.

  • Przemysław Lib

    XboxOne have already most of performance oriented features of DX12 in form of DX11.x (x there is not mistake 😉 )

    PS4 have their own GNM.

    Vulkan/DX12 are needed on PC cause not only performance impacting features. But also they lower difficulty of making graphically complex games.

    Yes devs now will have to think about all those things…. But they will not have that 2-3 millions lines of critical code they have no access to to wrangle with!!!

    This freedom to reason about gpu/cpu will greatly lower barier for making high quality games.

    Even if particular game do not get free performance boost on green hw, quality will be better. No reason to stick to DX11 version of the game if someone have that choice.


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