Microsoft's DirectX lead program manager has set the record straight on reports that DX10.1 will render the current crop of DX10-compatible hardware "obsolete."
Microsoft's Sam Glassenberg told Next-Gen in a phone interview, "DX10.1 fully supports DX10 hardware. No hardware support is being removed....It's strictly a superset. It's basically an update to DX10 that extends the hardware functionality slightly."
He said that the update is similar to what Microsoft did with DX9. "We did make updates to [DX9] that extended the supported feature set.
"All the hardware is still supported, all the games still run, all the features are still there, we've just simply extended the feature set and the lifetime of the API," he said.
At last week's Siggraph graphics conference, Microsoft detailed the Windows Vista-exclusive API (application programming interface) DX10.1.
Reports spread across the web following the DX10.1 announcement, claiming the current array of DX10 graphics cards will become "obsolete" with the introduction of DX10.1.
Glassenberg conceded that "There will be new features [with DX10.1], and those features may be exposed on new hardware, but this is similar to the model that we had with DX9...[except] with DX10.1, we're saying [to developers], 'if you want to support the new features, you have to support all of them [including original DX10 features].'"
Even though DX10.1 will support current DX10 graphics hardware, today's DX10 hardware will not be able to support all of the features of DX10.1, which includes incremental improvements to 3D rendering quality.
But Glassenberg stated, "It's a minor update, so we don't expect any developers to say, 'oh, this game is DX10.1 only.'
"All off the games that are coming out in the next few years will take better and better advantage of current DX10 hardware."
He said Microsoft is simply planning to support upcoming generations of graphics hardware. Glassenberg added that he "has no timeframe" on when this new hardware that supports DX10.1 will be available.
The DX10.1 beta SDK is available to developers despite the fact that there are no DX10.1 cards available yet. The final version of DX10.1 is expected to ship with Vista SP1.
Glassenberg also addressed rumors that DX10--currently exclusive to Vista--would be coming to Microsoft's Windows XP. It seems that DX10's Vista exclusivity is unlikely to change.
"DX10 is built on the new, updated Vista driver model," he said, adding that DX10 takes advantage of the "virtualization and robustness" features of Vista.