The Nitrous Engine team also explains how DX12 has benefited the engine itself and the upcoming Ashes of Singularity.
GamingBolt recently had a long chat with Dan Baker, Tim Kipp and Brian Wade from the Nitrous Engine. For those of you who are unaware, Nitrous is a state of the art engine which was built from the ground up for current gen consoles and modern gaming PCs. Nitrous Games are working with StarDock Studios on Ashes of the Singularity, an upcoming real time strategy with breathtaking visuals. Ashes of the Singularity is currently using DirectX 12 to render thousands of physical effects and independent light sources.
In the past Oxide games has claimed that DirectX 12 will improve visuals, and this has become apparent on the PC. But DirectX 12 will also be coming to the Xbox One. As far as we know the Xbox One already has an API library which is similar to DirectX 12, so can this be improved further when DirectX 12 actually arrives on the console?
“We’re not experts on the Xbox One, but I can tell you what my understanding is. There are two benefits with DirectX 12 that are performance related. It’s a lot lower CPU overhead. That’s important because the CPUs on the consoles are not powerful. You have many of them but each one is not powerful. You’ll get a huge CPU benefit if you were having trouble with that by using DirectX 12. The other thing that DirectX 12 really does is that it offers more support for advanced GPU features. And there’s not a great way of doing that at all on DX11. By enabling that on Xbox One you can get pretty big performance improvements on consoles. There should be tangible benefits. It will take people a few years to acclimatize to how to program and get those benefits,” the development team said to GamingBolt.
But in the long run, can it result in games pushing out more pixels or a better resolution or FPS?
“Sure. If you use synchronous compute feature, if you optimize your research transition barriers that you have direct control over for DirectX, there are things you can do that you have no way to analog in DX11. There’s potential for substantial performance improvements which could manifest in increased resolution and frame rate.”
“There’s also additional benefit for developers to invest in trying to really pull the most that they can out. So they can bring that directly back to the PC. Because if you have to build two different paths you have to optimize one over the other. That’s as much a budget and a resource issue as anything else. It certainly is going to encourage people to invest more in that technology.”
One thing that has defined Ashes of the Singularity is that it’s one of the first games that will utilizing DirectX 12, it’s been built for it. The development team explained the benefits this has resulted in when used in conjunction with the Nitrous Engine.
“There’s lots of benefits. The direct control is really big. We can guarantee smoothness and get rid of hitches and do synchronization. DX11 has a lot of bugs even after we send our game in. DX12 is so much cleaner. We all this performance tests early on in it. When we shipped DX11 5five years ago, with Civ 5, those drivers were a mess. The fact that DX12 is working this well so early bodes well for them. A lot of the problems we were just anticipating would just go away.”
“There are a few things we’ve been able to embrace: object space, lighting. If you look at the next gen API they are what really make those technologies feasible. Both of them require increased draw count. If you look at it in DirectX 11 it was a very batched limited API. Two of the fundamental technologies we developed and embraced both the temporal anti-aliasing and the object space lighting require a significant increase in the number of batches that can be submitted to the GPU. Without that we would be more limited. If you look at Nvidia’s DirectX 11 driver performance, they’ve gotten what I would consider stellar results out of that. DirectX 12 should result in more stable game releases.”
Ashes of Singularity is due sometime next year. Stay tuned for our complete interview in the coming days.