Windows Graphics News – 2021 Q2

Ana Marta Carvalho

Hi there! Another 3 months have passed since our last update, and we would like to bring you up to speed on what the Windows Graphics team has been up to!

On this blog we will talk about:

  • Opportunities to join the team
  • New graphics features
  • Updates on existing features
  • Our landing page


We’re hiring!

Do you want to help shape the future of graphics? If so, the Xbox Graphics, PIX, and HLSL teams are hiring! We are looking to fill engineering positions across all levels of experience to help develop the technology critical to making the most visually stunning and performant Xbox games. Click here to learn more!


New graphics features

Dynamic refresh rate – smooth inking and scrolling with minimized power consumption

Recently we launched Dynamic refresh rate – a new feature that can be found in Windows Insider builds (Dev channel) on supported devices. DRR lets your device set the refresh rate dynamically, which means that Windows will seamlessly switch between a lower refresh rate and a higher refresh rate based on what you’re doing on your PC. This helps to balance performance and power consumption. Click here to learn more about this feature.


Rapid Hot Plug Detect – Avoid unexpected application window rearrangement

Have you ever experienced the frustration of your desktop application windows unexpectedly rearranging every time you return to your computer from sleep? We have worked towards mitigating this issue when it occurs and are looking for feedback on the experience! Learn more here.


Auto HDR – Automatically expands the color/brightness range of DirectX 11 or DirectX 12 SDR games up to HDR

Since the first preview on March 17th, we’ve seen a huge number of gamers coming in and using Auto HDR. We’ve seen over 850+ games played with Auto HDR and that number keeps increasing. We have also released updates to Auto HDR that support more applications and are continuing to improve the feature’s customizability. Stay tuned for more!


HDR compatibility tool – Bringing HDR to color managed applications

Windows Insiders can now test a feature that brings HDR to some creative and artistic color managed applications. Click here to know more.

Here’s how to enable this feature:

  1. Make sure HDR is turned on and your application is closed
  2. Right-click the app’s icon and click in Properties > Compatibility tab
  3. Under Settings select “Use legacy display ICC color management”


Dolby Vision Gaming in Xbox Flighting – First release of Dolby Vision Gaming on Xbox Series X|S to Xbox Insider Builds

In partnership with the Xbox Media team and Dolby, the team released the first official preview of Dolby Vision for games to Xbox Series X|S flight rings on 5/14. Outlets including Digital Trends, Forbes and GameSpot focused on how games will look better on compatible TVs and acknowledged Xbox Series X|S are currently the only consoles supporting Dolby Vision for gaming.


Agility SDK – new way for developers to build apps that use the latest DirectX features on a huge install base

Less than a month after we released the first Agility SDK, we found a debug layer regression where valid code was causing false positive errors. Specifically, some ResourceBarrier calls transitioning DEPTH_READ to DEPTH_WRITE were getting dropped.

We quickly fixed this issue and released a new Agility SDK with the fix for everyone access within mere days! Best of all, this new Agility SDK runs on every OS with the November 2019 Update and above, like all the Agility SDKs that we release with this new ship vehicle.

Even though this is a relatively small fix, we wanted to call this out to our readers who might not have seen this already – this is just a glimpse of the more agile world we’ve moved into with the Agility SDK where fixes get to developers much faster than before.

We’ve got more exciting Agility SDK-related announcements in the pipe, stay tuned!


Updates on existing features

Recap of Game Stack Live 2021

At Game Stack Live 2021 in April, we continued to evolve DirectX and shared our latest work that helps game developers deliver the new generation of gaming graphics. Please visit this page to view more than 10 sessions on the DirectX 12 Agility SDK, HLSL Shader Model 6.6, DirectStorage on PC, HDR updates, PIX updates, and exciting news from GPU vendors.


More DirectX highlights

Game developers continue to innovate on top of DirectX. Below are only a few examples.


Check out our landing page!

Finally, if you haven’t seen our new landing page already, check it out here.

This page contains descriptions and links to the latest versions of all the components that the DirectX team at Microsoft has built or are actively working on; it’s meant to be a one-stop shop for everything we own!


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