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.