033 – DirectX 11 – Hardware Tessellation

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The advent of DirectX 11 means that PCs have definitively leap-frogged the home consoles (such as Playstation 3 and XBox 360) by a large margin (again). Why? How? And what does this mean to not only game developers, but UMMO specifically?

EDIT: http://www.guru3d.com/article/nvidia-gf100-fermi-technology-preview/4
Great Article about hardware tessellation
DirectX 11 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Direct3D#Direct3D_11
Intro to DirectX 11 – Pg 2 – Hardware Tessellation
Video of Unigine DirectX 11 Hardware Tessellation in Action
More About Hardware Tessellation

The above articles should tell you all that you need to know about Hardware Tessellation, one of DirectX 11’s best features. The links will also explain everything you don’t know about WHAT DirectX 11 IS.

If you want to see more specific images of it in action, follow this link.

Basically, ATI had the first publicly available hardware that was capable of using Displacement Maps (which is basically what Hardware Tessellation is). Unfortunately, having a proprietary solution (meaning that Nvidia did not have the same technology at the time) means underuse.

What ATI began has moved mainstream. Now any low polygon model can benefit from an additional texture which not just gives the appearance of extra polygons (Normal Mapping, Parallax Mapping and Bump Mapping) but actually creates REAL extra polygon complexity without the GPU overhead.

Because the amount of content we can produce as a small shop is such a tiny fraction of what a larger studio can, our only way to truly get the sort of press and marketing buzz we want is to maximize the QUALITY of what we put out.

Unfortunately, XNA was developed as a uniform game development platform between the XBox 360 and Windows PCs. Because of this, it is limited to DirectX 9 compatibility only.

While the XBox does have ATI technology similar to Hardware Tessellation, it is not accessed via DirectX 11 (which was not released when XNA was created, being released simultaneously with Windows 7)

The desire to use DirectX 11 in our first public release affects our choices. First off is the fact that the Levelgrindonline Engine/Book is written in XNA.

Our (recent chronological order) second engine choice, Peragro, uses the Open Source Crystal Space Game Engine. This means that adding specific Directx 11 features should not be too difficult.

Our (recent chronological order) third engine choice, Indiezen Zen Worlds is built using the OGRE 3d graphics rendering engine (and various other open source or other components to make a complete game “framework”)

OGRE has stated in their Roadmap, that they are planning to add DirectX 11 features in version OGRE v1.8 aka ‘Byatis’

The last option we are exploring right now is Visual3d.net, which is NOT Open Source, and hence will not be a viable target if the goal is DirectX 11 support (until they release plans to add those features in at a later date, but based on their previous progress, I don’t expect it this year).

So our main options are: 1-Add in DirectX 11 features to one of the Open Source engine choices, 2-Find a new engine (or see if Unigine is in our budget), 3-Look into replacing the rendering component of another engine or framework with a DirectX 11 engine.


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