VKD3D 2.3: A Major New Release

So, last week VKD3D (DirectX 12 implemented over Vulkan) reached a new milestone, with version the version 2.3 release. Why is it significant exactly?

In short this new releases brings:

  • Ray-Tracing implementation via DXR
  • Variable Rate Shading
  • Great performance gains

Let’s see each point in more details:

1) It brings the first stable DXR implementation (v1.0) which is a cross-vendor ray-tracing support (while for now only Nvidia drivers work correctly with it). There’s Control on which you can already see this working as expected with Ray Tracing:

To make DXR work, you need to add VKD3D_CONFIG=dxr %command% in the launch options. On top of Control, you should be able to use it on GhostRunner.

2) It features full Variable Rate Shading: Full support (tier 2) for variable rate shading was added. Phoronix has a long article on this in the context of Mesa: it reduces the quality of the shading applied in game, with some potential benefits for performance. In some cases you could get about 20% more framerates (Dirt Rally 2), but in general it seems the increase is typically around 10%. Still, this can make the difference between hitting 60 fps consistently or not, with apparently minimal visual quality impact.

3) Great performance gains, probably mostly linked to the fact they enable async compute queues. According to the changelog, this “greatly improves GPU performance and frame pacing in many titles. Horizon Zero Dawn and Death Stranding see exceptional gains with this fix, due to how the engines work. GPU utilization should now reach ~100%.” Apparently AMD has the upper hand when it comes to such performance benefits. Horizon Zero Dawn was kind of working already several months ago but with relatively poor performance (while steadily improving version after version). Looks like this version is going to make this game a lot more playable, performance-wise.

Horizon Zero Dawn can now run better on VKD3D

There’s more bugfixes improving compatibility (buggy shaders in F1 2020, driver crashes fixes for Forza Horizon 4, Kingdom Hearts Remaster may run now…) and you can find it all in the changelog.

If you want to use VKD3D 2.3 with Proton, you should use Proton Experimental in your Steam Play options, as it’s just been included in this upstream Proton version.

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