Star Citizen to ditch DirectX in favor of Vulkan

CIG says Vulkan offers better performance.

In a forum post, Cloud Imperium Games developer Ali Brown indicated that Star Citizen will be dropping DirectX support in favor of Vulkan, the cross-platform, low-level API put out by the Khronos Group—the industry group that's also behind the older OpenGL API. Specifically, Brown mentioned that CIG had been developing on DX11, with an intent to support DX12. However, because Vulkan enables single-API support for older version of Windows (and Linux) without sacrificing performance and features, the plan now is to move away from DirectX completely.

"Years ago we stated our intention to support DX12, but since the introduction of Vulkan which has the same feature set and performance advantages this seemed a much more logical rendering API to use as it doesn't force our users to upgrade to Windows 10 and opens the door for a single graphics API that could be used on all Windows 7, 8, 10 & Linux."

Brown clearly indicates that CIG is not in favor of Microsoft forcing everyone into a Windows 10 upgrade regimen. Knowing that many gamers still prefer to stay on Windows 7, this makes sense for CIG. But there is still a sliver of hope for future DX12 support.

"DX12 would only be considered if we found it gave us a specific and substantial advantage over Vulkan," Brown said. "The APIs really aren't that different though, 95% of the work for these APIs is to change the paradigm of the rendering pipeline, which is the same for both [DX12 and Vulkan]."

Developers have been slow on the uptake for DX12, and many have claimed that it's more difficult to program for DX12 than for DX11. Most new games coming out this year still rely solely on DX11 for graphics. Microsoft made an effort in revitalizing games for Windows with DX12's announcement coinciding with Windows 10, but forcing users to upgrade to Windows 10 to use DX12 at all has put a damper in the company's gaming vision.