DirectX 12 at GDC 2015

Are you ready to bring the power of DirectX 12 to your game?
Hear Phil Spencer, head of Xbox, talk about The Future of Gaming Across the Microsoft Ecosystem

Attend our technical sessions to learn the latest about DirectX 12
Advanced DirectX12 Graphics and Performance (Wednesday 2-3pm, West Hall 2008): This technical session goes deep into the DirectX12 APIs you can use to reduce CPU rendering overhead, manage GPU resource usage more efficiently, and express the most cutting-edge 3D graphics possible across the spectrum of Windows 10 devices. Whether you are building a game for the phone, PC, or Xbox - you don't want to miss this talk.
Solve the Tough Graphics Problems with Your Game Using DirectX Tools (Thursday 5:30-6:30pm, West Hall 2008): This session shows the latest update of a set of great graphics tools in Visual Studio and Windows that enable you to build great games. Come to this talk to learn about our currently shipping features, the upcoming DirectX 12 toolset, and discuss future directions. This talk will highlight top graphics debugging and performance problems and map key features to help you address those problems.
Better Power, Better Performance: Your Game on DirectX12 (Friday 10-11am, West Hall 2008): This session demonstrates how to architect your game engine to best reduce CPU overhead, increase GPU efficiency, and improve frame-rate stability using the new Direct3D 12 API. Understand the fundamentals for building a fast-performing, efficient game engine on Direct3D 12 and where to find the best resources for diving deeper.
Visit our demo booths to witness firsthand the power of DirectX 12

Learn how to harness the power of DirectX 12 in your own game at our Quick Start Challenge

We have showed you projects based on Unreal Engine 4 running on DirectX 12, and also announced that Unity is releasing DirectX 12 support in the Unity 5 cycle. Now, you can see your games based on those engines running on DirectX 12! Bring us your packaged game projects, and Microsoft Engineers from the DirectX team will help you run your games on DirectX 12, show you directions for further performance optimization, and answer your questions. Even if you are not bringing your projects with you to GDC, we are glad to show you Unreal- and Unity-based demo projects running on DirectX12, and to answer your questions to bring you onto DirectX12. So make sure to check it out!


Packaging your Unreal Engine 4 projects: To simplify the exercise at the show floor, we ask you to bring in your project based on the unmodified engine and packaged for Windows 64-bit. Here’s how to get started:

  • Create a new folder on your computer.
  • Open your project in Unreal Engine 4.6.
  • From the toolbar, select File -> Package -> Settings. Uncheck “Use PAK” and change the configuration to Shipping.
  • From the toolbar, select File -> Package -> Windows -> Windows 64.
  • In the dialog box, provide the path the folder you created in Step 1 and select OK.
  • Verify your content works.
  • Copy the entire folder to a USB device and bring it with you to GDC!
Packaging your Unity 5 projects: In order to run your project on a DX12-enabled version of the Unity 5 beta engine, please ensure it meets the following requirements:
  • Unity 5 RC2 beta project on a USB flash drive
  • Must be able to target Windows 64-bit standalone
  • Must not require any non-standard libraries or extensions
Does your game require custom libraries or a different version of Unreal 4 Engine or Unity?  Is your game DirectX11?

While we can’t promise a DirectX 12 port in such a short period of time, we’d love to talk to you about your game, how it might benefit from DirectX 12, and even walk you through some DirectX 12 sample code.  So don’t be afraid to stop by!
Not coming to GDC this year?

No problem. Apply to the DirectX Early Access Program at to be the first to get new DX12 developer content!

Comments (17)

  1. YOUDIEMOFO says:

    I just wish I was… the slightest software literate and I would be there quicker than the flash!  I am excited just reading about the overall possibilities of the future implementations as a whole.  Could not imagine actually getting into the "bread and butter" of it all.  

    Here's to high hopes of hardware backwards compatibility of this future API!!  Lets not use this as another wanna'be milestone to attempt to push more hardware right away.

  2. thanks for the update but... says:

    Tell me please how is it a problem to make DX12 available for W7?

    If you really decide to piss me off in this one… then W7 was the last MS product I bought.

    I wont switch to W10 with my system running that smooth now. And my application / tweaked setup.

    You think I like to spend 1-2 months to optimize my new W10 installation, now that I have a perfect W7 rig going?

    If you don't make this available for W7, I will start advertising Ubuntu / Mint in my non-gamer customer base.

    And I will keep my gamer customers convinced that they don't need Windows 10 over Windows 7 just for DX12. Trust me. Don't piss off Windows 7 users. You will lose market percentages!

    And now please just for being truthful with each other.

    Can the friendly MS-Dev just confirm in here that the implementation of DX12 for W7 is not really a matter of hard work but so far it is MS politics that DX12 is used to promote W10. Just acknoledge the fact that the implementation could be done with only reverting minor adjustments which basically have been implemented to PREVENT users from installing DX12 with W7 in the first place.

    Many people are not dumb. We know how an OS works. We know what a kernel is. We know the REAL (tiny tiny tiny) differences between W7, W8 and W10. And we know that the kernel and system core are almost similar. Which means you can roll out DirectX 12 for all NT kernel 6.x versions.

    Do it! Don't be afraid of communicating with me. Talk to your community, thanks.

  3. John says:

    It's called stop living in the past and you sound like a spoiled child don't move over to W10 we want miss you

  4. Eric says:

    Early access program link isn't working..

  5. Kevin says:

    @thanks for the update but…

    Windows 10 is a free upgrade to 7 and 8 users during the first year. Since there's no change as you claimed, then it shouldn't be a huge problem to upgrade to 10. Otherwise, just move to a totally new OS since you are not happy with the free upgrade path.

  6. Derek spence says:

    Hey thanks for the update, i dont know who you think is litening to you. But its not anyone that matters, cuz you dont matter.  

  7. Alessio T says:

    @thanks for the update but…

    If you really know what is an OS, you should know what is a driver model and what issue WDDM 1.x suffer.

  8. Blainer says:

    I Dont get why people want upgrades to a vista kernel that isn't capable of running anything higher than directx 11.

    Windows 7 is done for move on please its annoying that people want new features to an OS thats SIX years old.

    On another note… will there be any samples software to test Directx 12 fully like star swarm or fable legendes demo/beta?

  9. thanks for the update but... says:


    What's the big problem implementing WDDM with W7 and W8?


    check wikipedia for Windows NT kernel versions, then we talk again.

    you dont lecture me. i was developing proprietary software for NT 4.0 before you were born.


    you say "since there is no change it shouldnt be a huge problem"…

    imagine you live in a house, and you have put all the nice furniture and small things of life in it already.

    you live there for about 5 years, and are really happy how the house has taken over your personal style.

    every room has its unique interieur and is also full of memories.

    and now imagine there is exact the same house on the next street being built. and someone tells you.

    hey if you dont move to the other house (which is built the same as yours) you cannot do your job at your company anmore.

    but i say. NO i dont want another house where i have to set up all the interieur stuff again, and setup the furniture and do that work, just to have the same house, with nothing REALLY new except some superficial stuff.

    the stuff we do is all the same. if you use ms office, it will look the same on W10 as on W7.

    if you surf the internet it will look the same on W10 as on W7.

    youtube does work the same on W10 as on W7.

  10. thanks for the update but... says:

    you dont need a new Windows just to have a bigger number than 7 behind it.

    1. "biiiig" feature: touch compatibility. sorry?!??! i am working on a desktop computer if i need touch compatibility i just buy a touchscreen and get some nice freeware tools for windows 7 for it. but i dont want to, so stop trying to sell it to me.

    2. feature: new start menu design (inspired by windows xp /  7)

    wow they managed to change the start menu so it looks more like the windows xp/7 start menu which so many people liked. and so many hated the 8.1 start menu.

    they needed some REAL expertise for this BRAND NEW feature.

    sorry but in an operating system i should be able to design my startmenu the way i want it from the beginning.

    apart from the fact that the startmenu design doesnt matter AT ALL! who cares what the start menu looks like as long as the operating system is WORKING WELL with my programs, and is safe and secure, and fast.

    so in windows 11 i heard the big feature will be that they renamed the startmenu to "hot bar"

    lets pay some money for that MAJOR CHANGE IN OPERATING SYSTEM HISTORY…

    3. feature

    wow multiple desktops and a new task switching design!

    guess what… this has been already made as a freeware for xp and 7

    but lets just pretend its new and will help you run your programs better and faster Kappa

    4. snap assist… WOW windows can snap to desktop borders

    i am soooo impressed. google "windows 7 or xp freeware windows snapping" get countless results.

    works a charm.

    5. Quote

    "The Command Prompt enters the 21st Century

    Another quite amazing feature for those of us that use it is that the command prompt is now getting keyboard shortcuts! So you will be able to paste in your commands! Hardly groundbreaking, but actually pretty exciting."

    unbelievable… they actually made it possible to copy and paste in a command prompt. and they want to sell this as a feature???

    in any other OS. this would be called a BUGFIX.

    i wont continue to list the bottom 5 features of w10 because they are even more ridiculous as the TOP 5…

    TLDR; (too long didnt read)

    the only important windows versions were:

    Windows 3.11 -> Windows 95/98 -> Windows XP -> Windows 7

    you can smoke in a pipe:

    Windows ME, Windows Vista, Windows 8, Windows 10

    (these are only money making OS with no real kernel improvements/optimization, apart from vista, which was a beta for windows 7)

  11. whoops says:

    Windows Version Usage Statistics December 2015/January 2015

    Source Net Market Share

    Windows 7         56.26%

    Windows XP     18.26%

    Windows 8.1      9.49%

    Windows 8     4.03%

    Windows Vista 2.9%


  12. Alessio T says:

    @thanks for the update but…

    Since NT 6.0 the GPU drivel model (the WDDM) is strictly intersected with the OS Kernel and OS functionalities (big example: DWM). D3D12 will bring some new features strictly related to the memory management (more console-like, cannot go into details due NDA); those features lacks in WDDM 1.x. These lacking features also impact Mantle and OGL4.5-AZDO performance on Windows NT 6.x OSs


    Porting D3D12 to WDDM 1.x would mean removing those features from D3D12 (quite unsmart) or providing two different memory management path for NT 6.x (WDDM 1.1) and NT 10.0 (WDDM 2.0). Porting WDDM 2.0 to NT 6.x is quite equalt to force an UPGRADE of OS to kernel 10.0.

    Everyone who want Dx12 support has the opportunity to upgrade for free to W10 in the first year after W10 official launch, so it's not a big deal (and if you don't care about W10 features & apps, just don't use them).


    Most users interested into DirectX 12 are gamers. To obtain gamers hw&OS stats you should better look at steam monthly survey:

    Windows 7 64-bit 46.72%

    Windows 8.1 64-bit 27.63%

    Windows 7 10.87%

    Windows 8 64-bit 3.76%

    Windows XP 32-bit 3.73%

    Windows Vista 64-bit 1.05%

    Windows 8.1 32-bit 0.63%

    Windows Vista 32-bit 0.58%

    Windows 8 32-bit 0.29%

    Windows 10 64-bit-0.22%

    Windows XP 64-bit 0.14%

    With the current shares, like the 93-94% of gamers will able to upgrade to Windows 10 for free.

  13. Dude says:

    I thought we would see a public DX12 preview being released during the GDC…. I finally want to try that sh*t so please…. Yeah I applied to the early access program many months ago and still wasn't chosen. Please!

  14. Agree with Dude says:

    Crappy that MS has no problem letting us beta test their new OS and submit bugs for them, but at the same time won't allow people who signed up for DX12 early access on day one of the announcement to join.  Bad form, MS.

  15. Alessio T says:

    I'm disappointed about FL 12.1, it should be more radical (no volume tiled resources, no really helpful conservative rasterization tier, tier 1 is useless for GI algorithms).

  16. nkast says:

    Does the new DX12 API implement IInspectable / support C++/DX?

  17. beblair says:

    So will Windows 8.1 get DX12? Because I refuse to buy Windows 10 over the privacy issues!

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