DirectX 12 Agility SDK Announced and Released Today by Microsoft
During today's GameStack Live event, Microsoft announced the brand new DirectX 12 Agility SDK, already available to developers for use in their games.
The main purpose of DirectX 12 Agility is to broaden the access to DX12 features that were previously gated to the latest Windows 10 OS updates. This made adoption of the latest and greatest features slower as game developers inevitably waited for a 'critical mass' of users to updated to the latest Windows 10 OS version, which notoriously can take a while.
With DirectX 12 Agility, this issue effectively goes away as the minimum requirement has been lowered to that of the Windows 10 November 2019 Update. As long as a PC has that installed, it'll be able to take advantage of all of the DX12 Ultimate features (ray tracing, sampler feedback, mesh shading, variable rate shading), as well as the newly released Shader Model 6.6 which comes with features like 64-bit integer atomic operations, dynamic resources (bindless), helper lane detection, compute shader derivatives, 8-bit packing operations, and wave size.
Nick Penwarden, Vice President of Engineering at Epic Games, stated:
Our collaboration with Microsoft on the DirectX 12 Agility SDK enables us to easily implement forward-looking Unreal Engine features, and the new distribution model makes them quickly available to our developer and player communities.
Tom Holmes, Engine Architect at 343 Industries, said:
The DirectX 12 Agility SDK allows us at 343 to be confident that the latest innovation from the DirectX team runs for nearly all of our PC players.
Chris Tector, Studio Software Architect at Turn 10 Studios, added:
The DirectX 12 Agility SDK will allow us to adopt the latest DirectX 12 features faster than ever. We are really excited about what this change means for the future of Forza Tech at Turn 10 and Playground Games.
DirectX 12 Agility is also expected to indirectly benefit Xbox, as developers tended to wait until features were available on both platforms before implementing them. Needless to say, this shouldn't be a problem anymore with the new SDK.
That's not everything Microsoft talked about today, anyway. DirectStorage is coming this year to PC as previously announced, and both game developers and gamers can expect a similar improvement to load times to that seen with the Xbox Series S and X consoles.
The Windows version of PIX, Microsoft's game debugger, has also been updated with a new capture layer that's much faster. Last but not least, Microsoft will continue to work as part of the HGiG (HDR Gaming Interest Group) to raise the ecosystem quality and overall enhance the HDR experience on Windows 10 (Auto HDR is currently available in the latest OS preview build, in case you missed the news).