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Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support

NVIDIA and Epic Games announce the addition of DirectX 11 support to Unreal Engine 3, and that they are showcasing the updated graphical capabilities of the engine at the GDC (thanks Big Download). Here's word:

The new Unreal Engine 3 real-time demo, being shown during GDC exclusively in Epic's booth (Business Suite #400, South Hall), was developed using NVIDIA's GeForce® GTX 500 Series GPUs. It represents Epic's proposal for what the next generation of gaming will look like and sets a new bar for what can be accomplished with Epic's Unreal Engine 3 technology. It also showcases the myriad benefits that DX11 brings to gaming, including complex environments and detailed character models with lifelike movement and animations. The demo is further enhanced by the Epic's collaboration with NVIDIA and use of NVIDIA's PhysX and APEX technologies, including destruction and clothing modules, which enable realistic character interactions with the environment.

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28. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 23:22 Beamer
 
The unified memory design is actually preferred by console developers because it offers more flexibility.

Yup, nothing goes to waste.

This is one of the few advantages the 360 has over the PS3 raw-power wise, but helps it keep up. The ease of coding you mentioned is the other huge one.
 
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27. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 23:17 Jerykk
 

You hit the hammer on the nail "at least on a PC". The Xbox360 uses a unified memory design. This means that the CPU, GPU and sound are all accessing the same memory causing a major memory bottleneck.

The unified memory design is actually preferred by console developers because it offers more flexibility. If you want to use 300 megs for video and the rest for sound and CPU, you can do so. Conversely, the PS3 has a strict 256 megs of video memory and 256 megs of system memory. There is no flexibility, which makes porting X360/PC games to PS3 quite problematic. This is why some developers use PS3 as the lead platform for multiplatform games. It's easier to port from PS3 to X360 and PC than vice versa. However, most developers still stick with X360 as the lead platform because it's easier to develop for and it's the most popular.
 
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26. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 20:11 Beamer
 
They released new screenshots of Owen.

They look awesome.
 
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25. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 18:12 Hanneth
 
You hit the hammer on the nail "at least on a PC". The Xbox360 uses a unified memory design. This means that the CPU, GPU and sound are all accessing the same memory causing a major memory bottleneck.

Most PCs have dedicated memory for each of these things.

Also adding more memory slows down the memory access time. On some old motherboards you would see this where if you had 1 or 2 slots filled you could run at 133mhz, where if you filled all 3 slots you could only run at 100mhz.

Everything is about trade offs. For example, if you have a 64-bit AMD, or Intel computer, it probably isn't actually a 64-bit computer unless you have an Itanium.

It is most likely a 32-bit/64-bit/80-bit/128-bit hybrid. 32-bit instruction set, 64-bit integer and memory addressing, 80-bit floating point and 128-bit SIMD instructions. Even then the actual memory controller is probability 42-bit or 48-bit. The more bits, the slower it takes to run, unless you need that precision, then it is faster, thus why the hybrid architecture.

I guess that kinda makes sense. That said, memory speed doesn't really seem to make any significant performance difference, at least on the PC. In real-world gaming benchmarks, using DDR2 memory will result in the same loading times and framerates as using DDR3 memory. In this case, quantity is more important than quality.
 
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24. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 11:52 Beamer
 
Slightly longer answer: it comes with premade shaders (amongst many other things) that I'm guessing Epic like themselves, and many people just use those, maybe with some minor tweaks. But you have the power to change those things if you want to.

Which ends up part of the problem for consumers, but part of the joy for developers.
Epic gives you almost everything they do, minus certain assets. It's great for devs as it gives them somewhere to start and something to learn from (although by now one of the biggest strengths of UE3 is that you can throw a brick into the crowd and odds are the guy you hit in the head knows how to use it.)

The downside for consumers is often these assets (shaders, animations, mechanisms, whathaveyou) don't get changed. Devs start with them because they're good enough, and plan to change them, but over development they either get used to them or focus elsewhere as these may not be perfect but hey, they're already there and working so why waste time altering these when there's other work to be done?

Worst offender is 50 Cent: Blood On the Sand. Got decent reviews, far better than the prior 50 Cent game, but it was pretty much Gears of War with new art.
 
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23. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 11:19 Rilcon
 
Kajetan wrote on Mar 2, 2011, 05:57:
Rilcon wrote on Mar 2, 2011, 04:52:
I like how people blame UE3 for a lot of things that the developer using the engine has total control over. It's like blaming steel for my car being an ugly shade of yellow.
Maybe. But are there so many devs out there, who dont know how to use this engine without said problems?

I myself turn off most shaders in UE3 games, because i can't stand all this overbright highlights and forced focus depth. Features, which i have no problem with in games, which use other rendering engines.

Short answer: Yes.

Slightly longer answer: it comes with premade shaders (amongst many other things) that I'm guessing Epic like themselves, and many people just use those, maybe with some minor tweaks. But you have the power to change those things if you want to.
 
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22. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 10:51 Ratty
 
theyarecomingforyou wrote on Mar 2, 2011, 04:47:
I can't even imagine how bad an X360 with just 256MB RAM would have been... it would have given a huge advantage to Sony and been an even bigger bane to PC gamers.
I know, right? Can you imagine? Like someone said, consoles can use memory much more efficiently than a PC can. But it's still pretty piddling and just demonstrates where console developers' priorities are. First, looks are king. If the game looks great that's 90% of what's important right there and 256 MB was probably enough to use DX 9 plus a few shaders with texture resolutions good enough for viewing from 10 feet away. The rest is probably networking and letting you buy downloads on XBox Live.

Huge levels? Forget it. There's a chance you might actually have to spend 30 seconds without meeting anybody or doing anything if the level is large. Like Warren Spector said about DX2: Nobody likes running around in big levels. Lots of polygons? No way. You only need enough to render a football quarterback's butt and the latest John Madden titles don't need lots of polygons in those wide open football fields. AI? Who needs AI when you're racing downhill on a skateboard or lobbing a tennis ball across a court? And there only ever needs to be enough physics to make things explode all pretty.
 
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21. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 05:57 Kajetan
 
Rilcon wrote on Mar 2, 2011, 04:52:
I like how people blame UE3 for a lot of things that the developer using the engine has total control over. It's like blaming steel for my car being an ugly shade of yellow.
Maybe. But are there so many devs out there, who dont know how to use this engine without said problems?

I myself turn off most shaders in UE3 games, because i can't stand all this overbright highlights and forced focus depth. Features, which i have no problem with in games, which use other rendering engines.
 
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20. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 04:52 Rilcon
 
I like how people blame UE3 for a lot of things that the developer using the engine has total control over. It's like blaming steel for my car being an ugly shade of yellow.  
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19. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 04:47 theyarecomingforyou
 
I can't even imagine how bad an X360 with just 256MB RAM would have been... it would have given a huge advantage to Sony and been an even bigger bane to PC gamers.

However, Epic has long demonstrated their complete disdain for PC gaming. They used to push PC gaming with things like S3TC, Glide and other cutting edge technology; now it takes them years to implement features like DX11. Now they're actually holding back the industry.

As for UE3 games looking bad... I have to agree, to a degree. There are some exceptional games but there are too many bland and poorly implemented games (just look at Medal Of Honor singleplayer). And even some of the big games like UT3 were held back by technology limitations, the lack of proper anti-aliasing being a big one. Epic actually stripped away settings that were PC standards.
 
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18. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 00:44 Jerykk
 
I guess that kinda makes sense. That said, memory speed doesn't really seem to make any significant performance difference, at least on the PC. In real-world gaming benchmarks, using DDR2 memory will result in the same loading times and framerates as using DDR3 memory. In this case, quantity is more important than quality.  
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17. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 00:41 Zardoz5
 
raVen wrote on Mar 1, 2011, 22:37:
Epic was the reason the 360 has as much memory as it does. They probably have some insight in the next console cycle.

http://n4g.com/news/12934/epic-fought-for-an-xbox-360-with-512mb-memory
Mark Rein actually did something good with his clout for once, amazing.

"Later that day, Microsoft's 'Chief Financial Officer' called Epic and said: "You guys just costed me $1 billion"

Hahaha. How many billions did his hardware engineers cost him for making a console that overheated and had an absurd failure rate? Also since Microsoft did it Sony had to as well, so it hurt Sony just as much if not more since their launch price was so ridiculously high to begin with.
 
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16. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 00:32 FreonTrip
 
Jerykk wrote on Mar 1, 2011, 22:59:
I don't understand why console-makers always skimp on memory. Memory is the cheapest part of any system yet it continues to be the bane of console development. Ask any console developer what would make their job easier and every single one will say "more memory."

In an effort to minimize performance bottlenecks, console manufacturers frequently choose top-of-the-line, VERY fast memory by the standards of the console's initial release timetable. The theory is that a lightweight OS layer can mitigate not having a huge *amount* of RAM, along with judicious memory management by developers and developing specifically for the hardware's strengths. This will work for a while - the 360 and PS3 do look at least as nice as a nice PC that was built right when they were new - but inevitably skimping on the RAM catches up to you... especially when the console and video chipset have to share from the same pool.

As for DX11 support: is anybody really surprised? Epic will milk this cow until it just won't give any more, and this facilitates that goal.
 
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15. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 2, 2011, 00:07 Jerykk
 
-Poor quality (games look bland, low poly count, low res textures) big videocards laugh at Unreal powered games.

Eh? I think most UE games look quite nice. The issues you describe are art issues, not tech issues. Batman: Arkham Asylum, Mirror's Edge, Bioshock, Mass Effect 2 and Bulletstorm have very distinct styles and look quite nice. Granted, Bulletstorm runs like ass with AA turned on but I think that's an issue with PCF, since I haven't had any problems with AA in other UE3 games.
 
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14. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 1, 2011, 23:37 Prez
 
Not being a developer or techie who's in the know I don't understand what I'm supposed to hate about the Unreal engine; I like it!  
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13. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 1, 2011, 22:59 Jerykk
 
I don't understand why console-makers always skimp on memory. Memory is the cheapest part of any system yet it continues to be the bane of console development. Ask any console developer what would make their job easier and every single one will say "more memory."  
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12. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 1, 2011, 22:37 raVen
 
Epic was the reason the 360 has as much memory as it does. They probably have some insight in the next console cycle.

http://n4g.com/news/12934/epic-fought-for-an-xbox-360-with-512mb-memory
 
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11. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 1, 2011, 21:49 Beamer
 
That would be my bet.

I wouldn't place money on it yet. Again, UE4 will probably launch with new consoles and UE3 will be retired for it. Or, more accurately, only be used for early and launch titles as Epic will probably hold UE4s debut for itself, so maybe this is an educated guess for what it'll be and preparation so licensees can use UE3 for next-gen titles that look a good chunk better than current-gen.

But I guess there's a solid chance Epic has an distinct idea of where the next-gen will be. I expect we'll get hints at this year's E3, and I suspect Microsoft is pretty heavily consulting with Tim Sweeney. I'm sure they've known in general terms for years, and I'm not convinced specifics are locked down, but they probably have a very small ballpark.


Sorry, rambling here.
 
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10. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 1, 2011, 21:41 nin
 
eRe4s3r wrote on Mar 1, 2011, 20:47:
Unless they already know what the next console generations are going to contain and be able to do.

That would be my bet.
 
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9. Re: Unreal Engine 3 Adding DirectX 11 Support Mar 1, 2011, 21:41 Beamer
 
Unless they already know what the next console generations are going to contain and be able to do.

UE4 has already been announced, so this may mean that they know when those consoles are coming, and it's longer than expected. Or this is just incorporating some UE4 stuff, or some stopgap stuff, since customers may be requesting it.


Hate the end product all you want, but this engine is a breeze to work with and Bulletstorm had 0 texture load issues for me.
 
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