DirectStorage API Now Available on PC

Cassie Hoef

Starting today, Windows games can ship with DirectStorage. This public SDK release begins a new era of fast load times and detailed worlds in PC games by allowing developers to more fully utilize the speed of the latest storage devices. In September 2020, we announced DirectStorage would be coming to Windows, and after collecting feedback throughout our developer preview, we are making this API available to all of our partners to ship with their games. Check out the announcement blog for an in-depth exploration of the inspiration for DirectStorage and how it will benefit Windows games.

Getting Started – Developers

For all the necessary resources to get started, please check out aka.ms/directstorage. This includes the NuGet repository with the redistributable package, the GitHub repo with samples and documentation, as well as links to PIX for Windows.

PIX on Windows will support DirectStorage Day 1 – check out the PIX blog post for more details!

We will be presenting an introduction to DirectStorage at GDC– along with some tips and tricks to get started– on March 22.  If you’re unable to watch it live, check back here for a link to the on-demand video of the session after the 22. We also recommend that you check out the GDC talk presented by Luminous Productions about their integration of DirectStorage in Forspoken.

Questions on development? Have an implementation you want feedback on? Reach out to askwindstorage@microsoft.com.

Looking for community engagement? Check out the DX12 Discord Server.

Getting Started – Gamers

If you want to get your PC ready to take advantage of DirectStorage games, we have a few suggestions. DirectStorage is compatible with Windows 10 devices, but Windows 11 has the latest storage optimizations built in and is our recommended path for gaming. While you may see benefits on any kind of storage device, installing games to an NVMe SSD will maximize your IO performance and help you more fully experience the benefits of DirectStorage. Stay tuned to learn about games that will be shipping with DirectStorage in the future!

What’s Next?

This release of DirectStorage provides developers everything they need to move to a new model of IO for their games, and we’re working on even more ways to offload work from the CPU.  GPU decompression is next on our roadmap, a feature that will give developers more control over resources and how hardware is leveraged. Additionally, we will continue optimizing, integrating feedback, and improving on the existing runtime implementation. Follow us on Twitter or join our Discord channel to get the latest news on DirectStorage features and improvements.

4 comments

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  • Charles Harington

    Is their any chance this may trickle through to cad applications to reduce load times and RAM dependence?

  • Bhairav Pardiwala

    Can the feature be usefull for accelerating zipping and unzipping compresssed normal files?

    Or is it just limited to image assets at thia stage ?

  • Alessio T

    That would be a good chance to add native live XPRESS4K and XPRESS8K compression methods to NTFS for Windows 10 and 11. So far it is only programmatically (and nobody basically use it) or only offline (if the file get modified in any way it loses the compression).

  • MAHESH MATHI

    Now it’s possible for GPU assets uncompression?? I think now GPU is unavailable to uncompression but my theory was Hardware based decompression is possible for GPU uncompression without CPU or compute shader.CG is possible.