Rise of the Tomb Raider–the first AAA game to ship via the Windows Store in Windows 10—is getting upgraded with DirectX 12 graphics soon, according to the game’s maker. This will allow gamers with high-end PCs to really crank up the graphics quality and achieve higher frame rates.
And if you purchased Rise of the Tomb Raider on Steam, there’s even better news: That DirectX 12 update is available now.
“One of the challenges with PC development is guaranteeing players on as many different PC configurations as possible can have a great experience,” Nixxes Software Studio Head Jurjen Katsman writes in a new post to the Tomb Raider Blog. “For us this means ensuring that users with older PCs can still get a great gameplay experience, but also that users with higher-end machines can get the most out of their hardware, including the highest quality visuals, frame-rate, and other technical enhancements.”
DirectX 12 support—a Windows 10 exclusive—will help Square Enix/Nixxes achieve this with Rise of the Tomb Raider, Katsman says. Naturally, the biggest impact will be seen on high-end PCs.
“The largest gain DirectX 12 will give us is the ability to spread our CPU rendering work over all CPU cores, without introducing additional overhead,” he explains. “This is especially important on 8-core CPUs like Intel i7’s or many AMD FX processors.”
Using the DirectX 11 technologies that currently power Rise of the Tomb Raider, the game can often bog down under heavy load, such as when you’re navigating through a large and open “hub” area. This performance issues kills the frame rate and playability, requiring gamers to turn off graphics options or lower the game resolution.
“Even though the game can use all your CPU cores, the majority of the DirectX 11 related work is all happening on a single core. With DirectX 12 a lot of the work is spread over many cores, and the framerate of the game will run at can be much higher for the same settings.”
Katsman cites as an example a PC powered by an Intel i7-2600 processor with 1333Mhz memory and paired with a GTX 970 graphics card. With DirectX 11, Rise of the Tomb Raider achieves about 46 FPS at High settings, whereas with DirectX 12 it can hit 60 FPS.
“Another big feature, which we are also using on Xbox One, is asynchronous compute,” he continues. “This allows us to re-use GPU power that would otherwise go to waste, and do multiple tasks in parallel. And there is a never before seen level of control over NVIDIA SLI and AMD CrossFireX configurations, which means that as a developer we can take full control over those systems and ensure users get a great experience with them.”
Sounds good, though of course the cross-section of “high-end gamers” and “people who buy games from Windows Store” is probably small at the moment. Naturally, this will be of biggest benefit to Steam customers.