Star Citizen Ditches DirectX 12 For Vulkan

Image: Xanvast

In a move that isn't hugely surprising given the developer's announced support for Linux and Windows 7, a Star Citizen developer has confirmed that the game will be dropping support for DirectX entirely going forward in favour of the Vulkan graphics renderer.

Star Citizen's director of graphics engineering Ali Brown announced the move on the official forums over the weekend, saying it was a "much more logical" choice rather than adopting DirectX 12. CIG had announced years prior that it would eventually be supporting DirectX 12, but given that the API is exclusive to Windows 10, the developers felt it was best to implement an API that didn't force its users to upgrade if they didn't want to.

"Years ago we stated our intention to support DX12, but since the introduction of Vulkan which has the same feature set and performance advantages this seemed a much more logical rendering API to use as it doesn't force our users to upgrade to Windows 10 and opens the door for a single graphics API that could be used on all Windows 7, 8, 10 & Linux," Brown explained.

"As a result our current intention is to only support Vulkan and eventually drop support for DX11 as this shouldn't effect any of our backers. DX12 would only be considered if we found it gave us a specific and substantial advantage over Vulkan. The API's really aren't that different though, 95% of the work for these APIs is to change the paradigm of the rendering pipeline, which is the same for both APIs."

Given the scale and nature of Star Citizen, it was always scheduled to move away from DX11 - meaning CIG would have been spending time changing their rendering pipeline paradigm eventually. So if you're going to change it over, you might as well change to something that supports all of your users - especially if those users have spent thousands of dollars supporting your game years in advance.

The full Star Citizen will still be in alpha for quite a while, but the official website says Squadron 42, Star Citizen's single-player component, is due out later this year.


Comments

    The full Star Citizen will still be in alpha for quite a while

    LOL, it's not even in alpha... it's in pre-alpha (whatever that means).

      Isn't alpha at least demo-able, where as pre-alpha would be like, "I've drawn a picture of a smiley face..."

        I dunno, but CIG are the ones that came up with the 'pre-alpha' label. I think 'alpha' implies that the game is 'feature complete' as opposed to 'we've still got to add basic stuff like economy, trading, jobs, etc'.

          You will go mad trying to pin down the exact meaning of the various alpha/beta designations these days.

            What do you mean? they have made it really easy with these rough definitions
            Pre Alpha is $600
            Alpha is $500
            Pre beta is $400
            Beta is $250
            Game is $30

            Oh i forgot pre-Omega-Beta-Alpha-pre 2.0, is $2000 but comes with a sweet decal for your ship.

            Last edited 20/03/17 1:53 pm

          When I studied game development, they defined Alpha as "Feature complete, but unstable" - so it's got all the intended content but is game-breakingly buggy (the kind of bugs that screw up quests/missions for example and make it impossible to progress your game) and prone to crashing, freezing etc.

          It's amusingly sad how many non early access games get released that don't even meet that definition... so calling it "Pre-Alpha" is correct in my opinion.

            Oh of course, but you spend enough time in the industry and you will see very broad definitions.

            It's why so many early access games have threads regarding correct definitions.

              The terms have been diluted by companies and developers who have no idea how a software release cycle works, but there are correct (or at least intended) meanings for each of the terms.

              Early access and indies games tend to be capital offenders when it comes to misusing the terms, and companies that want to use release stages as marketing and sales tiers instead of the meaningful development terms they're supposed to be.

          Pre-alpha is a standard label in the SDLC, it refers to software still in heavy development and not yet at testing stage. Alpha refers to software still in development but testing has begun. Beta is the point where the software is feature complete, feature freeze is set and all development effort is dedicated to testing and performance fixes.

          Star Citizen is in alpha and has been for since mid-2015. I'm not sure where you're getting the idea they're still in pre-alpha.

            I think we'll agree to disagree. I'm not a software developer but I have heard that:

            - Drawing Board: Concept/Design Phase
            - Pre-Alpha: Early incomplete builds
            - Alpha: First complete untested build

            The game is basically a bare shell of what it will ultimately be (if CR gets his way). Saying it is in alpha is selling it short in my view.

              Alright, well I am a software developer. Processes vary from company to company, but certain milestones tend to be pretty standardised, with beta being the first feature-complete stage at every company I've worked for or with. A few examples:

              - Ubuntu and Fedora both introduce alpha freezes just prior to beta and define beta as the first feature-complete stage.
              - Last I worked with the Android (sometime during late L/early M) they use beta as the feature-complete release for the OS itself, though they don't enforce any particular structure on alpha/beta releases of Play Store apps.
              - Microsoft uses beta as the first feature-freeze version for Visual Studio and Windows Presentation Foundation development. They still follow a similar cycle on Windows releases but from XP onwards they 'inflated' the release candidate stage because they found companies weren't bothering to test the beta stage thinking it was too unstable.
              - In Ed Sullivan's book 'Under Pressure and On Time' he describes alpha as 'only a few critical features implemented' and beta as 'most, if not all, features implemented'.

              Your mileage may vary depending on the company but from my experience at least this is the dominant usage.

              Edit: this StackExchange response sums things up nicely. There is correct usage for these terms, but game developers muddy the waters (often from a lack of commercial SRC experience).

              Last edited 20/03/17 4:34 pm

                game developers muddy the waters (often from a lack of commercial SRC experience)

                And marketing reasons...

              Sorry, I saw you read before I edited it, so I'm tagging you that I added an edit to the end with a Stack Exchange link that sums things up well I think.

      Pre-Alpha was the earliest tech demos and ship mockups,, including the first single-system playable stuff.

      There's been a limited universe for a while now. Not every feature is in, but it's definitely an alpha build now.

        I'd still call it a tech demo. What you call pre-alpha I'd call drawing board. Take a look at the feature list and then compare it to what is in the current build.

    the developers felt it was best to implement an API that didn't force its users to upgrade if they didn't want to.

    So I can run it on my 486?
    Windows 10 was a free upgrade FFS.

      Yeah, but there are going to be loonies out there that try and claim 10 is somehow more of a breach of privacy than 7; all while they use either an iPhone or Android.

        Windows 10 is Cancer compared to Windows 7 or Linux. BTW I don't own an Iphone or Android (No Smartphone anyway) so does that make my point valid then?
        I do how ever run windows 7 but I have customized and removed most junk i didn't need which is unable to be done on Windows 10.

        Any game that needs DX12 is not worth the time to play for me at least since there are so many games out there.

          You can remove all the junk from 10 in much the same way. 7 collected data in pretty much the same way that 10 did, sure there were more protocols for collecting it, but there are systems that you cannot remove from 7 just the same as 10.

          10 suffers from mad hyperbole these days.

          Any game that needs dx is not worth my time, that's why I run dos5.0

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