Microsoft has some good news for game developers, and especially those who are taking advantage of its DirectX 12 API. The Redmond outfit announced that PIX, its premier performance tuning and debugging tool for Xbox, is now available for free on Windows 10. The standalone tool for Windows 10 is built on the Xbox version, so developers targeting both platforms can get started optimizing their Windows titles, too.
"It has become increasingly clear that, with low-level APIs such as DirectX 12, attaining the best performance requires deep insight into every step of the rendering process. On Xbox, we have a long running history of providing some of the most in-depth graphics analysis tools in the world to help game developers build the best games possible. Our developer community has repeatedly asked us provide the same kind of tooling for Windows," Microsoft stated in a blog post.
One of the key features of PIX is the GPU capture. This gives game developers a detailed breakdown of how the game renders a single frame. Developers can examine each of the many steps and API calls, which are accurately timed, to gain a better understanding of how each part of the rendering contributes to the overall frame time. Armed with that information, developers can tweak and optimize as necessary to improve performance.
GPU captures can also help developers track down and fix errors that might crop up, such as rendering problems that occur when there's a synchronization issue causing corrupted data. By enabling the Resource History view, developers can see how buffers and textures are used throughout the lifetime of a frame.
To use the tool, Microsoft recommends a system with a 32GB of RAM, a DX12 GPU with the newest drivers, and Windows 10 with the Anniversary Update installed.
One thing to keep in mind is that this is a beta release. Microsoft says it's probably that developers will encounter bugs, and that there are features it wants to implement that have not yet been added.
Developers interested in kicking PIX's tires can download the tool here.