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Thread: Future support for Win 32 and DX10

  1. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #1

    Future support for Win 32 and DX10

    Hi Everyone,

    As you know we spend a good deal of time planning for the future, and one issue (and opportunity) we are considering is the effect of supporting Win32 and DX10, and the benefits we would get if we were to drop them. As you know, we support leading edge technology like 4K, 8K, VR, and with things like compute shaders in Horizons we really push the boundaries overall, but there are restrictions with Win32 – particularly the amount of memory we can address at one time – and with DX10 in terms of requiring an alternative rendering solution in our code. Dropping these two would help us support high end effects with a better result – to make the game better.

    About 0.5% of players that have installed Elite Dangerous have used their game on Win32 at some time. Some of these machines are capable of running Win64 (ie the hardware would support it). With DX10 (fewer than 2% of players) it is more tricky as you may need to upgrade the graphics card on such machines.

    We do appreciate that although those are small percentages, that is still a significant number of people affected. We want to give as much notice as we can. It will be at least six months before we would make the change, but we want to know your opinions first, and to give warning that the change will need to come at some point, so please let us know.

    Thanks.

    David Braben

  2. #2
    How will dropping win32 support help win64 players, from our point of view?
    Are we talking prettier effects, better load times, stability? All of the above or non?

  3. #3
    I think it's good. Unfortunately, when you're creating systems with such scope (like, entire galaxies with the impressive visuals and realistic metrics) there is going to be a certain hardware cut off point where you can no longer run the game (or future expansions). I'd be sad if I were at that point but Dx10 was released in 2006. That's 10 years old tech now and I think it's fair to move on from it.

  4. #4
    Originally Posted by hs0003 View Post (Source)
    How will dropping win32 support help win64 players, from our point of view?
    Are we talking prettier effects, load times, stability? All of the above or non?
    I'm guessing it will mean less development time ensuring backward compatibility or enforcing memory restrictions on the game code in order to squeeze it into a 32 bit environment. Maybe that resource could be used to getting the OSX client working with Metal? - let the flaming commence :)

  5. #5
    I have been playing in 64bit ever since it has been possible, so this would not affect me. However, even this warning (of a possible change) is welcomed by myself. Six months should be long enough to give most of those affected time to upgrade their PCs.

    Consider the fact that Microsoft only support the Windows O/S for a certain amount of time after they stop publishing it. For example, Windows Vista will no longer be supported (and will not get any updates) after April 2017. However, PC hardware moves on. It takes time (and money) to continue supporting old products. It might be more expensive to add a function into an old Operating System than the price of the new Operating System.

  6. #6
    I'd say also (probably) reducing overall minor bugs and simplyfing troubleshooting of the rest of the bugs.

  7. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #7
    Originally Posted by hs0003 View Post (Source)
    How will dropping win32 support help win64 players, from our point of view?
    Are we talking prettier effects, better load times, stability? All of the above or non?
    Principally better performance and prettier effects, but it should also help with dev time.

  8. #8
    Also, thank you so very much to Mr. Braben for clarity, communication and open development.

  9. Click here to go to the next staff post in this thread. #9
    Absolutely. Obscure bugs can take a disproportionate amount of dev and QA time.

  10. #10
    Onward and upwards:

    I have hung on to dated hardware for years in the past, and suffered reduced performance as a result, with suitable hardware available at a wide range of prices and with the added benefit of improving other games as well as ED, for those on a tight budget I would start saving, it will be well worth it in the long run, I have been running a single GTX 970 for just over a year and last week added another in SLI for higher rez, well behind the current curve I know but I will be staying with this setup for years to come.

  11. #11

  12. #12
    Dropping them is the right call. And as long as you warn us at least 6 months in advance, I think it's ok to move forwards this way. Elite is a long-term game and it's nice to see the engine staying at the forefront of development.

    But I'd also suggest not changing requirements mid-season. Each season should have an unchanging minimum requirement. So how about a promise that DX11 will at the very least last until the end of season 3?

  13. #13
    Originally Posted by Retrograde View Post (Source)
    Dropping them is the right call. And as long as you warn us at least 6 months in advance, I think it's ok to move forwards this way. Elite is a long-term game and it's nice to see the engine staying at the forefront of development.

    But I'd also suggest not changing requirements mid-season. Each season should have an unchanging minimum requirement. So how about a promise that DX11 will at the very least last until the end of season 3?
    Don't you mean DX10? :)

  14. #14
    Thank you for update David.

    As regular Windows player, this should be no brainer - Windows 32-bit is so ancient I really don't see people using it anymore. Especially if they are given prior time to prepare for this. DirectX10 however is a bit trickier. However I still think it is time to move on.

    As side note this is a bit bummer for someone sitting on Linux platform, as currently there's biggest hope to launch ED on Win32 Wine prefix. There's hope in my heart for Linux client in a future :)

    - - - - - Additional Content Posted / Auto Merge - - - - -

    David, is there Vulkan support planned - for potential performance improvements AND potentially supporting Linux in future? Thanks.

  15. #15
    Theres a potential hybrid solution - You could feature-freeze the 32 bit version and/or spin it off as a "legacy" title - so all you would have to deal with are the server comms for any updates, and those should be relatively easy to sort if you also keep a legacy version of the server instances and/or ensure BC with the messaging structures.

    Much like how horizons features come only to the horizons season client.

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