Coinciding with the release of Microsoft’s much anticipated new OS, Windows 7, which introduces DirectX 11, a string of news regarding DirectX 11 has hit the internet.

First up is the very first DirectX 11 Benchmarking utility – Heaven, based on the upcoming Unigine game engine, which fully supports DirectX11 and comprehensive tessellation. If you have an ATI Radeon HD 5000 series card, you can download and run the Heaven benchmark. The HD 5800 series did appear under-utilized – may be this is the kind of graphics it was designed for. The makers have also uploaded a video capture of the DX11 benchmark on Youtube as well as a tessellation demo. Make sure you watch both on HD mode, as they really show off the benefits of DirectX 11. All in all, very impressive, but it is just a benchmark. So when does the first big DX11 game hit shelves?

More next page.

Coinciding with the release of Microsoft’s much anticipated new OS,
Windows 7, which introduces DirectX 11, a string of news regarding
DirectX 11 has hit the internet.

First up is the very first DirectX 11 Benchmarking utility – Heaven,
based on the upcoming Unigine game engine, which fully supports
DirectX11 and comprehensive tessellation. If you have an ATI Radeon HD
5000 series card, you can download and run the Heaven
benchmark. The HD 5800 series did appear under-utilized – may be this is
the kind of graphics it was designed for. The makers have also uploaded
a video capture of the DX11 benchmark on Youtube as well as
a tessellation
demo
. Make sure you watch both on HD mode, as they really show off
the benefits of DirectX 11. All in all, very impressive, but it is just a
benchmark. So when does the first big DX11 game hit shelves?

December 4th is the answer, at least if you are living in the UK. This is when Dirt 2 hits stores. Worldwide release is expected around the same date, though only “December” is confirmed thus far. The console version of Dirt 2 was released back in September to critical acclaim, and the PC version does promise to step things up. Codemasters have released an exclusive DX11 trailer, which showcases the benefits of DX11, concentrating on various tessellation and post-processing effects.

Of course, Dirt 2 is not the first DirectX 11 game. Battleforge has had a DX11 patch out for a while – which noticably improves performance thanks to the use of DirectCompute 11. The other DX11 game, though currently only available in Russia, is STALKER: Call of Pripyat. Reviews have indicated some notable IQ improvements in DX11 thanks to tessellation.

DirectX 11 is definitely off to a promising, and we are sure developers and gamers will embrace DX11 far sooner and better than DX10. According to AMD, over 20 DX11 titles are currently in development, due to release in 2010.

AMD have also released two DX11 demos as well – one showing tessellation and the other realistic depth of field, available here. Between the Heaven benchmark and Ladybug demo, depth of field seems to have taken a major step forward, closing in on realistic depth of field offered by medium to large format cameras. A remarkable improvement from previous depth of field effects which were simply defocus blurs. This opens up an exciting new feature for future games, especially for the cinematic cutscenes.

Could it be DX11 that brings about a much needed boost to PC gaming? Let us hope so.

Update: PCGamesHardware have published an informative article about Unigine Heaven, included benchmarks and screenshots. The image quality difference introduced by Tessellation is truly eye-popping in the comparison screenshots. It does lead to significant performance hit, though a lot of this could be due to SSAO.