Updates have been pretty sparse for me right now. I’ve been busy doing outdoors things while we have the good weather here and that has kept me away from updating the blog.
We do, however, have a little bit of news.
Two subjects have been a top of discussion for some months now and those were virtual reality and DirectX 11 support for IL-2. These two items go together. Allow me to explain.
Close to IL-2:BoS’ launch there was announcement from the Oculus Rift developers (makers of a popular VR platform) that they would be dropping support for DirectX9 and would be requiring DirectX 11 support from any games wishing to release updates that used their VR technology. As the IL-2 Digital Nature engine developed by 1CGS was DX9 based that meant that Oculus Rift technology was off the table.
This was much to the chagrin of the community fans and some even accused 1CGS of dropping support for the technology when really it was the Oculus Rift developers that changed the rules and forced the change.
Since then, 1CGS has added support for another VR platform. The HTC Vive, developed by HTC which is better known for their range of Android smartphones, was implemented without the DX11 support. From what people have said, the technology is not without its bugs and it may be some time before IL-2 is truly playable as a VR game.
Good news may be around the corner however.
IL-2 Producer Jason Williams posted on the forum a note, in response to several questions, confirming that the devs do have plans to update the Digital Nature engine to DX11 and that further VR support will also be forthcoming.
We have plans to update the engine to DX11. That will take a few months if everything goes well. And we will build support for VR as we have said. We continue to have discussions on what to build next and the team works to put BOM on Steam.
When we’re ready we’ll make an announcement.
This doesn’t mean that you should expect the next patch to come with DX11 support. What it does mean is that the team is now working towards updating the graphical engine behind IL-2 and that can only mean good things.
DirectX is set of technologies, developed by Microsoft, that powers the vast majority of game engines these days on both consoles and PCs. The update from DX9 to DX11 brings with it a series of new technologies for better shadows, lighting, and animation techniques and more efficient uses of memory and CPU and GPU power. What does that mean?
We don’t know what the team will do with an update to DX11. Will they add better lighting and shadows to the game (they are already excellent but they can always be better)? Will they add larger and more detailed textures? Will they be able to gain efficiencies through the new technologies that increase framerate and/or smooth out stutters and drops? It’s possible but it does depend a lot on how much they do upfront and how much effort they invest later on.
What it does mean hopefully is a modest performance update and the definite possibility that VR technologies will be given more support and more support on more platforms. These are all good things!
And if your PC is old? Well your card may already have DX11 support – its not new anymore and infact DX12 is here (albeit only supported on Windows 10). So you too may see a performance increase. Or you may see the game perform the same as before and there is the off chance that it will make performance worse for a few with very old technology – time will tell and I’m doing a lot of speculation right now.
More as it comes!