Total War: Warhammer & Battlezone To Support DirectX 12 & Async Compute Through AMD Partnership

Alessio Palumbo
Posted Mar 16, 2016
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During the AMD Capsaicin event, it was confirmed that Creative Assembly’s Total War: Warhammer and Rebellion’s Battlezone will both support DirectX 12 through a partnership with AMD.

In our exclusive interview from Paris Games Week, Creative Assembly had hinted at DirectX 12 support and now it’s been confirmed. Given the nature of Total War: Warhammer, this could yield significant benefits.

No specific details on the DX12 implementation for either game were shared, but AMD published a video titled The importance of DirectX 12 and Virtual Reality with a few developers talking about the API.

Tamàs Ràbel and Charlie Dell, respectively Lead Graphics Programmer and Technical Director at Creative Assembly, said:

The three most important DirectX 12 features for us are Asynchronous Compute, Multithreading and MultiGPU support. One of the advantages of DX12 is that it enables Async Compute. This allows us to take systems such as our particle system and sorting tasks in parallel with the GPU on the main rendering pipeline. These parallel tasks or so-called spare GPU cycles allow us to extract the maximum performance out of the hardware.

In Total War: Warhammer we have several parts of our pipeline running in compute shaders. A few examples are the particle simulations, screen space ambient occlusion (SSAO), directional light – all these compute shader parts are running as Async Compute in parallel with others like shadow maps, G-Buffer pass, UI.

Chris Kinglesy, Co-Founder and CTO at Rebellion, added:

The great thing about DirectX 12 is that with Asynchronous Compute we can now use much more of the GPU processing power, effectively doing what we’ve been doing on console for some time.

As a closing note, Dell and Kingsley said:

I think overall the great thing about DirectX 12 is the flexibility it gives developers in terms of how to interact with the GPU.

One of the ironies of DirectX 11 was that we couldn’t access GPUs as fast as we wanted to because of CPU bottelenecks, but now with DX12 that’s going away. We can access the GPU so fast now and it’s really important for VR games

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