Exclusive: The Current State of DirectX11 Support

CrossOver 15 was just released a couple of days ago, and by now you should have noticed that the DirectX11 support missing vs the original plans. We were able to get some comments from Caron Wills, Quality Assurance Manager at Codeweavers. So, what’s happening with DirectX11, and why is it not included at this stage?

Caron Wills: Suddenly, everyone wants to know how DirectX 11 is doing. It’s coming along rather nicely in my opinion. But I have watched many pieces be built by our developers over the years, lovingly crafted into something worthy of daily use. MSI, the DIB engine, gdiplus, msxml, and now dwrite and direct2d. I can see the potential growing and I have proof that DirectX 11 games run now. Not just one, two. They are not the most extreme games, we have to take baby steps.

We have reported a couple of days ago that Divekick is the first game that’s confirmed to be working in the latest development branch of WINE. But before going there, let’s check out some of the bigger AAA titles that they have tried to run so far, and what happened during their experiments:

Caron Wills: Let’s start with the news of some of the applications we’ve tried. Note that this work is not in CrossOver 15 because we do not believe it is ready for prime time. Gauntlet fails to launch. This is a high improvement over it not launching because it no longer states that the system cannot handle the game. Bioshock Infinite hangs on launch, same deal, it doesn’t say the system is not capable, so it’s progress. Trials Fusion flags an error on launch, it needs a few more pieces put in place. GRID Autosport is a tease. It launches, puts it’s splash across the screen and then hangs. Toybox Turbos launches to a black screen and hangs. Final Fantasy XIV launches it’s patcher and begins to patch but the patcher does not get drawn so we have no idea how good of news this actually is. And we’ll try more because we’re as anxious for DirectX 11 to happen; despite the warning that most titles will have the above results. After those titles failed along with a few others, we really want some focus on what does work.

So yeah, Divekick, the two-buttons only Fighting Game, works apparently pretty well with DirectX11 support at this stage. Pretty well, as in, flawless:

Caron Wills: The first is a game that is full of satire, starting from the title. Divekick is a fighting game that literally has two moves to bring the characters into the fight. Your character can dive and kick, that’s it. The good news, your opponent’s character can dive and kick, that’s it. At first it seems a bit of a kludge to move around but after working through the key combinations the game quickly becomes addictive. We start up this title, set up our keys and the next thing we know, we’ve been playing… testing for long enough to know that DirectX 11 is solid. In fact, a person wouldn’t even know they are running a DirectX 11 title except for the D3D11 displayed on the title bar. And that’s beautiful.

The following screenshots were provided by Codeweavers, running on their latest development version of WINE/CrossOver.

Divekick2-WINE

Divekick3-WINE

And now we are finally getting the confirmation about the second game that works with DirectX11 support:

Caron Wills:Karma. Incarnation 1 is a 2D point and click game where you slowly evolve based on what you, Pip, eat. You walk through the world and talk to objects and get ideas about how to continue based on what’s around you. It’s problem solving and evolution to fight the evil or become it. It’s charming and simple so you don’t drown in unskippable dialog or fumble for the first hour trying to understand the controls. And it too runs so well a person wouldn’t even know DirectX 11 is at play.

Once again, another screenshot of Karma in action on WINE.

Karma1-WINE

But, as Codeweavers hints, DirectX11 support is not complete enough yet to be considered stable and usable. So we will have to wait for a while. Apparently Linux is a much better shape than OSX in that regard:

Caron Wills: DirectX 11 is not ready for regular use and most of the games we tried don’t work YET. You should also know… This worked for us on Nvidia hardware, we’re running a GeForce GTX 760 with Nvidia binary drivers (version 346.96) on Ubuntu 14.04.3. This also worked in development with the Nouveau drivers. When we tried it on OS X, it failed miserably. When we tried it on Linux with AMD hardware and drivers, it could not yet get off the ground. It isn’t that we are ignoring these pieces, it’s that it will take time to get them working. […]

Another bad news for AMD users (while they did not mention whether they tried the Open Source AMD drivers at this stage… support may end up being better than the proprietary ones).

Net, it’s very encouraging to see Codeweavers come forth and explain their progress as well as the hurdles they are going through. As always, getting things to work properly takes time, and even though full DirectX11 support is not going to be achieved in this year, we know it’s now really close since a few games actually started to run on it. Things are looking brighter for 2016 as more ports make their ways to Linux and WINE becomes another option for some titles which will not be ported by anyone – and that option is critically needed, since we see porting companies taking more time than expected to deliver the games they had announced for this year – more choice, more solutions is the right way to go to ensure everyone moves forward.

The remaining question will be about performance: how well will demanding games run with DirectX11 support? That’s a question we will investigate with Codeweavers and its community in the coming year.

Many thanks to Caron Wills and James Ramey for their availability. You can find more information in their blog post to be published following this post on BoilingSteam.

EDIT (Dec 11 GMT+9 10:14 AM): The comments from Codeweavers were actually from Caron Wills and not Jana Schmid, and the latest version of the article reflects the change.


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