Microsoft DirectSR Super Resolution API Now Available For Developers

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For both hard-core PC gamers and hardware enthusiasts like your average HotHardware reader, it's no big deal to head into a game's settings and flip on whatever upscaling technology applies to their graphics card. Most people won't bother, though; if it isn't enabled by default, it isn't getting turned on. This isn't great when you consider that, generally speaking, enabling some degree of upscaling will give you a big performance bump while sacrificing very little in terms of image quality.

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Sure, you know which option to enable, but does Joe Sixpack?

Seeing as temporal upscaling has become the norm for a majority of PC games these days, Microsoft wants to help both gamers and developers with this situation. To that end, it has deployed an extension to DirectX 12 called DirectSR that, instead of being a novel upscaling method, is instead an APi where developers can simply say "upscale this please" and DirectX can choose the most suitable method for the user's hardware.

Here's how it works. A developer integrates DirectSR, and out of the box, that makes AMD's FSR 2.2 available by default. However, it will check with the graphics driver to see if there's a vendor-specific method available. If there is, it seems like it will prefer that instead. Microsoft says that the API can also support application-specific upscalers like the aforementioned TSR and IGTI, and gamers should still be free to manually select an upscaler—as long as the game developer codes it in.

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DirectSR was developed in cooperation with graphics industry figures.

We can argue about the value of these so-called "Super Resolution" technologies until we're blue in the face, but it's really just a matter of technology. Screen-space effects and ray-tracing have two big things in common: they can be enormously performance-intensive, and their performance demands scale in an exponential way with render resolution. This is the driving force behind the popularity of Super Resolution tech, and like it or not, these methods are here to stay.

DirectSR isn't available in any games yet, of course, but developers who want to experiment with the API can now do so. It's available in the Agility SDK 1.714.0-preview release. Make sure your Intel or NVIDIA drivers are up to date with the very latest versions if you want to experiment with those upscalers.