On the PC front, there has been much excitement, and now finally competition, with DirectX 10 hardware as release dates for big gaming titles fast approach. But how much graphical difference can the end user really expect from a year ago?
The enthusiast gaming website Firing Squad has recently published a write-up comparing the performance difference between the DirectX 9 and 10 APIs in Lost Planet, a popular Xbox 360 shooter being ported to the PC.
The article's findings, as well as the contextual background it draws on using previous interviews, show that the much-touted improvements hyped up by the various graphics card manufacturers, and many gaming sites themselves, lie more in speed improvement than any fundamental graphical advances.
Developers with Unreal Tournament: 2007, Crysis and Lost Plane all seem to say the same thing: DX10 graphics cards will allow the PC platform to run a given title faster, and therefore with improved eye candy, but there is no marked difference in features, as was the case with the last DirectX change of guard.
Capcom in particular commented, in part:
The upside of DX10 for Lost Planet is the stream-out function and geometry shaders which allow us to make the engine run faster. The major difference between DirectX 9 and 10 is primarily related to this speed. Compared to DX9, our use of geometry shader, depth resolve and stream output should provide a 10% to 20% boost in frame rate as driver optimization progresses. One of the immediate differences you can see in the DX10 version is the clean edges on shadows; however the main difference is obviously the speed at which the engine renders as mentioned before.