There is a common misconception that “Optimized for Vista” equates to DX10 support.
“Optimized for Vista” from a platform perspective means your application qualifies for the logo. It’s a technical marketing term and the logo requirements define it.
From a business application perspective that means following the Windows Vista Logo requirements here. From a game application perspective that means following the “Games for Windows” Vista Logo requirements here.
So let’s see what those requirements are. As we drill down into the “Games for Windows” requirements list, we see they contain:
· 1.1 Games Explorer Integration
· 1.2 Support Parental Controls
· 1.3 Support Rich Saved Games
· 1.4 Support the Xbox 360 Common Controller for Windows
· 1.5 Support Multiple Aspect Ratios and Resolutions
· 1.6 Support Launch from Windows Media Center
· 1.7 Direct3D Support
Seven requirements, one that talks to 3D support. When we go to the details on that requirement we see that:
1.7 Direct3D Support
If the game uses Direct3D, then the minimum version supported must be Direct3D 9, and Direct3D must be the default for any display configuration option.
So by the numbers supporting DX9 is the baseline.
I understand the expectation for DX10, but by the numbers that isn’t part of what an application has to do to get the “Games for Windows” logo. And that is what the term “Optimized for Vista” is all about on our end. Yes, people can redefine the term to mean whatever is convenient for the argument at hand but that isnt what we mean ( and other publishers mean ) when they talk about “Optimized for Vista”.
So with all that, what does FSX do?
We almost fully comply with this list, which in and of itself is no small feat when you consider the date of the document I link is Oct 2006. We authored Setup in Aug 2006 and RTM’ed in Sept 2006 so this document and these requirements where still churning after we shipped. Even considering the requirements where still changing, we hit them all except having Setup add the application to the Media Center 10’ experience.
And we are a DX9 title; we have no other rendering interface.
This is not to minimize the desire for DX10 from the community or our desire to implement it. This is just to point out that strictly by the numbers FSX does comply with the platform requirements.
So now let’s look at what Shawn said and when he said it. The link that is quoted on AVSIM.com, http://www.flightsim.com/cgi/kds?$=main/feature/firming.htm, dates from a post-CES interview. That’s Jan 2006. The last Vista slip was announced after this, in March 2006. The quote of
“Flight Simulator X is still on track for a holiday 2006 release and will be optimized for Windows Vista when Vista is released,” according to Shawn.”
is slightly out of context, since the next sentence says
“Expect to see a Windows XP version released first followed by an update for Windows Vista sometime after that”
So from that it is quite clear that our release plans changed when the Vista slip was announced. At that time we took a look and rolled basic Vista support with DX9 into the RTM release; and started making plans for DX10 as a separate release to upgrade our Vista support.
So now let’s discuss how our DX10 plan has evolved.
In Aug and Sept, as we lacked DX10 hardware at all (much less production quality hw) we realized we couldn’t simul-ship with Vista in Jan 2007 since we believed we needed at least 6 months with production quality hw. Getting early hw in Oct, and production hw at the G80 launch in early Nov meant at a minimum May 2007for release of DX10 support; given a 6 month schedule and a perfect world.
However, as FSX Launch occurred Oct 17 and we began to get feedback from the community we realized we needed a service pack to address performance issues and a few other issues. So we started a dialog with the community and made a commitment to delivering a service release. The work on SP1 and DX10 is being performed by the same team of people (the Graphics and Terrain team) and thus delivering SP1 has delayed DX10.
Given the state of the NV drivers for the G80 and that ATI hasn’t released their hw yet; it’s hard to see how this is really a bad plan. We really want to see final ATI hw and production quality NV and ATI drivers before we ship our DX10 support. Early tests on ATI hw show their geometry shader unit is much more performant than the GS unit on the NV hw. That could influence our feature plan.
As far as goals, we have stated a goal for delivering DX10 in the recent PR about the XPack, which is “Fall 2007”. We are going to meet that goal, bank on it. And I have made a commitment to discuss in more detail our feature plan. So far, I believe I have made good on each and every commitment I have made right?
Just as an aside, the work on the XPack is largely done by a separate team so SP1/DX0 has little or no impact on XPack and vice-versa. There are no new missions, no new models, and no new scenery in SP1 or DX10; nor is there any update to multi-player like there is in XPack. From the feature perspective, there is little overlap and is why we can plan and deliver all 3 releases this year.
In closing, we hope the community appreciates our openness in sharing our roadmap and discussing the various trade-offs we have made. Early in 2007 you have a view to all of our commitments this year. I don’t believe we have ever done that.