Star Citizen Devs Drop DX12 Support In Favor Of Vulkan API That Doesn't Force Gamers To Windows 10
While much of the emphasis involving game development these days seems to revolve around DirectX 12, the competing Vulkan API has been lurking in the shadows, ready to strike at a moment's notice. Up to this point, there hasn't been a deluge of Vulkan-powered titles available, with DOOM, Dota 2, and The Talos Principle being the the most high-profile offerings.
Soon, a massive addition is going join that list by way of Cloud Imperium Games' Star Citizen. This case is a bit different than most, though, because CIG doesn't just plan to support Vulkan, it plans to only support Vulkan. DX12? Get out of here!
These plans were revealed by Star Citizen's lead graphics designer, Ali Brown. Responding to a question about Vulkan, Brown said that there is no tangible reason to opt for DirectX 12 (neither for feature nor performance reasons). Vulkan, like DX12, is a low-level API, "bare to the metal" as some say. So why choose Vulkan over DX12? It all comes down to cross-platform capabilities.
Does that mean that Star Citizen would be coming to Linux? Nothing's confirmed, but Brown does send a hopeful message: "Years ago we stated our intention to support DX12, but since the introduction of Vulkan which has the same feature set and performance advantages this seemed a much more logical rendering API to use as it doesn't force our users to upgrade to Windows 10 and opens the door for a single graphics API that could be used on all Windows 7, 8, 10 & Linux."
Vulkan isn't just about cross-platform capabilities between Windows and Linux; it even has to do with different versions of Windows. CIG would like users of any Windows OS to be able to enjoy the game as it's meant to be played, not locked into a single platform, which is Windows 10 in DX12's case.
The greatest thing about this revelation might be the fact that regardless of whether someone plays Star Citizen on Windows 7, Windows 10, or (potentially) Linux, the same API will ensure that the game will run just as good and look just as good for everyone. We can't help but wonder if this move will help sway other game developers towards the Vulkan route!