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Author Topic: riding the hype train - emergency stop at reality station (or dx10 so what)  (Read 2482 times)


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i've been playing bioshock for a few days now (well, about an hour or two at night).

looks nice enough but, personally, it's a bit too cartoony for me to really love it. i like the ideas but i think i've yet to get far enough to see all the revolutionary things that are hinted at in the reviews. (maybe i'm just jaded and annoyed at waiting for crysis and the next episode of half-life 2.)

anyway, i had a look at one of the tweaking guides which mentions a few of the differences you can expect to see with the game if you are running directx 10 hardware and vista - i'm running xp with directx 9 so i'm naturally curious about what i'm missing out on.

sounds all very underwhelming to me - the water looks a bit better, yeah, okay if you say so.

this tallies with other reviews i've read about directx 10 capable games. isn't this all a bit strange. i seem to remember reading about how dx10 was going to be a massive leap forward in graphics, how it would be cinematic quality (i'm sure that must have been said for every release of directx even from the very beginning).

i've seen the screenshots and movies of far cry and unreal 3, yes, they do look incredible. but, ya know what, i think they are going to look almost identical on a directx 9 machine.

so, i'm sure this has been said many times before but it's something that has just dawned on me (perhaps yet again), new pc technology isn't really that hot. it never lives up to the hype that journalists yapping on about how cool and essential all this new hard/software is going to be.

i subscribe to a uk pc mag - they have been going on about directx 10 cards for months - you'd think they were the elixir of life they way they promote them.

i thought i was reading articles that were well informed and telling me things in my best interest. i now think not, sir.

they are just part of the hype machine: company announces new product nearly ready, magazine survives by bleating about amazing new product and get readers all excited, magazine continues to bleat on about product when released. desire is generated in reader, magazine regurgitates how bleedin' good this new product is for several months, reader finally goes out and buys life changing directx 10 card. reader plays directx 10 game. reader thinks, duh, i've gone and done it again - why do i listen to those hype merchants.

i don't read the tech blogs and online tech sites but i bet they've been wetting themselves just as much over all the directx 10 stuff - and now look at it. it doesn't do anything. well it doesn't do anything remotely worth upgrading your graphics card and operating system for.

yeah, i know, potentially someone could make a game that will do dx 10 justice - but i still think it would look pretty similar on dx 9.

that's it. the hype train is now leaving reality station, i must get back to my seat. toot toot!


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You need to take into consideration just how long it took before developers started to really take advantage of both DX8 and DX9. In both cases it took at least a year or two before they really started using it to its full potential. After all, with the budgets and development time in the gaming industry today, most games that are getting released this year was started up to several years ago.
There will be a very noticeable difference one this change start happening, I mean just take a look at the difference between DX8 and DX9. The only thing I'm really worried about is how long it's going to take before developers start using it, as the biggest problem facing DX10 is the fact that it is Vista-only.
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You had to take into consideration two things regarding DirectX 10.

First, as Dirhael says, adaptation to a new API takes time. BioShock was designed for DirectX 9, they threw DirectX 10 in there as a bonus, they could have published it in form of a patch later, and no one would care. With all the pressure from the market, the mass media and (specially) from 2K Games, they had to finish the game in time. Taking advantage of DirectX 10 would be a tremendous loss of time, and a probably a scrap of a lot of code. Not worth it.

Second, driver immaturity. Vista drivers are underperforming right now, both with new (which are taking quite a big hit in performance) and older ones (the hit is smaller). Designing a DirectX 10-only game now it's a suicide for every gaming company, even if they take little time to finish it, as the game will run like crap even in extremely powerful hardware. Lost Planet is the best example of this. And what's worse, a huge loss of money for the Vista gaming market is pretty much zero.

As time passes, and people learns around the possibilities of DirectX 10, things will progress for everyone. Until that moment, DirectX 10 would only be a supposedly easy API for developers, a questionable move on Microsoft's part for Vista adoption, a good excuse for nVidia to sell GeForce 8800 cards like candy, and a unfilled promise for users.

Finally, it's the modern world, nudone. Everything is hype. Gaming magazines and sites are probably the worst in this regard, they reached the point of "no trust" as they sold themselves for the petty money. And what's more, some of them are not run by adult men and women, but by hyperactive kids with the looks of adult people. You gotta see how many exclamation marks they use in some of their reviews, they're like little girls screaming "yay!" in every sentence ::). Meanwhile others opted for the opposite side of the spectrum, turning into egocentric snobs, clutching at straws, just like movie critics. There should be an honest middle point.
« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 03:01 PM by Lashiec »


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Yeah, do remember the difference between a DX10 engine and a DX9 engine with some DX10 candy bolted on. Driver immaturity as already mentioned is another thing, although that's really a performance/stability issue. I also wonder if the current DX10-capable hardware is fast enough once the DX10 titles start rolling - no telling yet :)

Annoying thing is of course that DX10 is Vista-only although there's no reason for this, and we will see basically DX9 games that require DX10, all just to get us pushed on the the Vista bandcrapwagon.
- carpe noctem