Much has been made about the benefits of Microsoft’s recently revealed DirectX 12 API. While some proclaim its capability of increasing performance for the Xbox One, others have doubted whether it can actually do much more than increase the efficiency of the hardware.
Persistant Studios CEO Camille Mirey, responsible for the particle effects middleware PopcornFX, provided his view on one of the benefits of DirectX 12 – that is, the reduction of CPU overhead since PopcornFX particle effects rely on the CPU. With DirectX 12 being such a low level API, will this provide benefits to the middleware?
“We aren’t really affected by this, as we usually make very few driver calls, but we are looking forward to Microsoft’s DirectX 12.”
Camille further clarified that while there is a reduction in CPU overhead, it doesn’t make a very big difference to PopcornFX when calls are made to DX12. “This is a reduction in CPU overhead when calling the graphics driver. We intensively use the CPU, but make very few calls to the graphics driver. Therefore, while this improvement is great when you have lots of drawcalls, in our case, it will be like removing a droplet from a bathtub.”
Speaking about AMD’s own API Mantle, which can increase the number of drawcalls – which the middleware seems dependent on – what kind of benefits would this provide for particle effects? Camille responded that, “Some features of Mantle seem interesting for us, it allows lower level control similar to what we have on consoles.
“About drawcalls specifically, there seems to be a misunderstanding here – our middleware is not hungry for draw calls. This is one of the advantages of our batching system. We typically only have a few drawcalls even with thousands of different emitters.”
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