DirectStorage Developer Preview now available!

Hassan

Late last year, we announced that we would be bringing DirectStorage to Windows PCsand in June, we told the world how DirectStorage would improve the gaming experience on Windows 11. Since then, the DirectX team has been hard at work bringing this state-of-the-art tech from Xbox’s Velocity Architecture over to Windows, empowering game developers on both platforms to create new immersive gaming experiences with vastly reduced load times.  

If you are a developer that watched our GSL talk and signed up to be part of our NDA developer preview program, you’ll be happy to know that we have started rolling out our first preview kit to you. For those of you that already have an NDA with us and are interested in this early preview, you can reach out to us at askwindstorage@microsoft.com with your company information and the project you’d like to integrate DirectStorage into. If you don’t have an NDA, stay tuned as we’ll be gradually rolling out to an increasing number of developers. 

DirectStorage Compatibility  

Microsoft is committed to ensuring that when game developers adopt a new API, they can reach as many gamers as possible. As such, games built against the DirectStorage SDK will be compatible with Windows 10, version 1909 and up; the same as the DirectX 12 Agility SDK. 

DirectStorage features can be broken down into: 

  • The new DirectStorage API programming model that provides a DX12-style batched submission/completion calling pattern, relieving apps from the need to individually manage thousands of IO requests/completion notifications per second 
  • GPU decompression providing super-fast asset decompression for load time and streaming scenarios (coming in a later preview)  
  • Storage stack optimizations: On Windows 11, this consists of an upgraded OS storage stack that unlocks the full potential of DirectStorage, and on Windows 10, games will still benefit from the more efficient use of the legacy OS storage stack  

This means that any game built on DirectStorage will benefit from the new programming model and GPU decompression technology on Windows 10, version 1909 and up. Additionally, because Windows 11 was built with DirectStorage in mind, games running on Windows 11 benefit further from new storage stack optimizations. The API runtime implementation and the GPU decompression technology is delivered via the DirectStorage SDK, and ships with your game. As a game developer, you need only implement DirectStorage once into your engine, and all the applicable benefits will be automatically applied and scaled appropriately for gamers.  

In fact, this great compatibility extends to a variety of different hardware configurations as well. DirectStorage enabled games will still run as well as they always have even on PCs that have older storage hardware (e.g. HDDs).  

We’re super excited to see what the future holds and are committed to working with studios to bring DirectStorage enabled gaming experiences to gamers everywhere! 

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  • Daniel Klein

    Great news, but can i use the DirectStorage Developer Preview also for my Intel NUC 11 Pro Kit – Intel i5-1135G7 with Intel Iris Xe Graphics (which has not all DirectX12 Ultimate features)?

    As far as i know, with the new Intel WDDM 3.0 graphics driver (DRIVER VERSION: 30.0.100.9684 DATE: July 14, 2021) VariableRateShading, Sampler Feedback and Shader Model 6.6 is working, but not other DirectX12 Ultimate features.