Legendary Wing Commander creator and Star Citizen director Chris Roberts took part in a livestreamed panel at PAX East yesterday about the future of PC gaming, and he offered his opinion on a a couple of hot button topics that are agitating the gaming community as of late, like “closer to the metal” APIs like DirectX 12 and Mantle and cloud rendering.
For me to me to some level Microsoft is kind of a bit of a “gater” on actual performance on PCs, so I’ve been actually quite happy with the movement with Mantle with AMD, and now DirectX 12, which is essentially the same kind of thing, which is allowing you to use the power of the hardware you got on your computer, because it’s actually very frustrating to have a really powerful PC and not get the same efficiency that you got on a console, mostly because of the operating system, that’s hogging a bunch of system resources and it’s sort of gating how you can actually get down on the hardware.
So I actually think there are a fair amount of improvements that are now moving in that direction, so I’m pretty happy with that. That’s the reason why I like Mantle and I’m quite happy to see and now finally the DirectX 12 announcement, and you know.. We’ll see with Microsoft saying “yeah we care about PC gaming again.”
He also mentioned that one of the best advantage of DirectX 12 and Matle is the ability to efficiently use multiple cores to make the rendering pipeline more efficient.
On cloud rendering (the ability of the cloud to partially or entirely shoulder the rendering performance costs for a game) Roberts was more doubtful, while he sees the cloud as a good application for online features:
I’ve yet to understand how cloud rendering is gonna work very well, I can definitely see how you’re gonna have a lot of the game in the cloud in terms of the online side of it, but the actual rendering at high fidelity I think you’re probably gonna be better off just having it locally. Andthe silicon to do that gets cheaper and better all the time so, as mobile devices get better and better, long term you’re gonna have some devices you will hold, as you go into your office they will connect to your monitor and keyboard, in your living room they’ll connect to your TV and game controller, or playing it on the road.
Microsoft, that is at the forefront of the application of Cloud tech to gaming, has shown some very interesting things at Build, but and they claimed in the past that rendering could also be part of the equation, but we definitely have to wait and see results on that front.