Announcing the DirectX 12 Agility SDK!

Jacques

We’re excited to unveil the DirectX 12 Agility SDK, an update that will allow devs to adopt the newest DirectX 12 graphics features faster than ever before. 

With the Agility SDK, developers can now add the newest DirectX 12 features to their games, and gamers can play games with these features without having to upgrade their OS.

Games can use the Agility SDK to light up the latest features on any device with the Windows 10 November 2019 Update or newer. As of this writing of this blog, this already means close to every gamer machine today can run games which use the Agility SDK!

Developers excited about the Agility SDK should check out our Getting Started GuideDownloads Page and Announcement Talk 

 

Accelerating DirectX Innovation 

Historically, the DirectX team used Windows 10 updates to get out our latest features, but game developers told us that they wished that they could add the latest DirectX 12 features to their game without requiring gamers to upgrade their OS.  

Could there be a way to get the latest DirectX features up and running on a gamer’s machine, even before they get the latest OS? 

We built the DirectX 12 Agility SDK to respond to this very feedback. Here’s what some of our partners had to say: 

“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.” 

Nick Penwarden, Vice President, Engineering, Epic Games 

 

With the Agility SDK, all DirectX 12 features, new and old, can run on a huge install base:  

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. 

Tom Holmes, Engine Architect at 343 Industries 

 

This means that game developers can adopt the latest DirectX 12 features much sooner:

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. 

Chris Tector, Studio Software Architect at Turn 10 Studios  

 

What does this mean for gamers? 

Put simply, what’s good for developers is good for gamers. 

The Agility SDK makes it easier than ever for developers to provide gamers with the best experience from their gaming rig. We’re talking about more games adopting the latest graphics features sooner. 

With many game developers not wanting to leave behind gamers on older Windows 10 versions, it used to be that some developers had to make the difficult decision to wait until a version saturates a large enough audience before adopting a feature. 

The Agility SDK removes OS rollout as a bottleneck for our latest features to get adopted – gamers can now look forward to the latest features from DirectX getting used sooner than ever before. 

What features are we talking about? 

We already have our first Agility SDK out, with support for the full DirectX 12 Ultimate feature set and Shader Model 6.6:  

  • That’s right, many of the DirectX 12 Ultimate features that used to be limited to devices with May 2020 Update, can now run on substantially more gamers’ machines today, since the Agility SDK runs on the November 2019 Update and up! 
  • Shader Model 6.6 is an update that’s so new that support for it will only roll out with the next Windows 10 OS. It’s the first of many new features that will ship with the Agility SDK model even before the next OS ships. 

The Agility SDK is great not just for PC gamers 

While the Agility SDK only applies to building PC games, gamers on Xbox will reap the benefits as well. The DirectX team no longer only has one chance to get our latest features out, with the OS. Instead, we get to ship our features to developers whenever we’re ready to, by issuing a new SDK. This means that for the features that exist on Xbox that we can bring to PC and vice and versa, this can happen at roughly the same time.  

Developers that have games that run on both platforms are sometimes conscious about feature parity: they don’t want only one segment of their gamers to have a cutting-edge feature. Another issue is that it’s tricky to maintain divergent code paths. In situations where one platform has a feature that the other does not, these developers sometimes must make the tough call to not support the feature, or to wait until it’s on both platforms. With the Agility SDK, we can now remove a big blocker for these devs with cross-platform titles.  

All of this means that gamers will see new DirectX features getting adopted sooner than ever.

3 comments

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  • Paulo Pinto

    I was let down by the annoucement as I was expecting something that would ease the work of UWP and .NET developers regarding having to do our own bindings from scratch or based on random github projects for what are Microsoft technologies.

    Then again, maybe we aren’t the customers the DirectX team cares about to keep happy, only those using C++ with raw COM and pre-processor macros.

    • Michael Winsor

      We aren’t. Sadly, .NET devs will always be 2nd class to the directx team.

  • Michael Winsor

    So… we’re going back to the days of the DirectX SDK as an external thing? Because that’s kinda what this sounds like.