The State of DirectX 11 - Image Quality & Performance

The Promise of DirectX 11

Touted as one of the biggest milestones in Windows games development in recent years, DirectX 10 ultimately didn't live up to the hype as far as end-users were concerned. A large part of the disappointment was perhaps due to a misunderstanding of what DirectX 10 was supposed to be. DirectX 10 was a fundamental refresh of the entire API and it brought a much-needed reboot to an aging API model. The reboot removed a lot of the legacy clutter left over from over a decade of previous DirectX developments. DirectX 10 was never really about the end users at all, it was really about the developers.

It also didn't help that DirectX 10 was tied to Windows Vista, which was unpopular with gamers from launch. On top of that, due to the revamped API model which required developers to adjust how they programmed games, DirectX 10 received sluggish developer adoption. Considering the lukewarm reception DirectX 10 received a few short years ago, it isn't too surprising that many gamers are now approaching DirectX 11 with some caution.

In terms of technology, DirectX 11 isn't the API defining, behind-the-scenes reboot that DirectX 10 was. It's an incremental update, much in the same way that Windows 7 is an update of Vista. At the end of the day, DirectX 11 is basically just DirectX 10 with a bunch of new features stuck on. However, we'd speculate that DirectX 11 should have a much larger impact on the end-user experience than DirectX 10 did because it brings several new features to the table that will make creating advanced graphical effects seldom seen in past games, much easier.

Some critics have said that Windows 7 is everything that Vista was supposed to be. Is DirectX 11 everything DirectX 10 was hyped up to be?  We couldn't let such a loaded question go unanswered, even if we did pose it ourselves. Now that DirectX 11 hardware is readily available and compatible games are on the shelves, it's high time we took stock of what DirectX 11 has to offer to the end-user. On the following pages, we're going to take a long, hard look into the state of DirectX 11 and what it means to the community as a whole.

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