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AMD Claim DirectX Not That Bad After All

What a controversial little box.

Here’s an interesting about-face. Last week we told you of AMD spokesman Richard Huddy’s comments regarding the DirectX API (I now type “API” with an undue confidence), and specifically how it gets in the way of PCs realising their ability to be ten times faster than consoles. Well, now they’re saying words to the effect of, “Um, we didn’t say that, and even if we did, we didn’t mean it.” More specifically, they’re claiming the bit-tech story took the quotes out of context, and according to CRN, “exaggerated” them. Update: bit-tech responds to this below.

In the interview from last week with CRN, he says that what he meant was that a “very small number of high-end developers” take issue with DirectX, who have asked AMD for ways to avoid using the API. Apparently these developers include DICE, along with Crytek. However, “It’s not something most developers want.” Most, he claims, would happily choose DirectX or Open GL, because “it’s a great platform.”

The interview quotes contain an awful lot of “No, Microsoft, we love you!” comments. As many of our commenters observed, the pre-API days were apparently far worse for developers and hardware types says Huddy.

“Every single hardware vendor had to worry about producing their own API, or mimic another vendor’s API. But there are game developers who would very seriously consider tuning their code for a particular piece of hardware.”

But DirectX is super-stable, he insists.

“It’s hard to crash a machine with Direct X, as there’s lots of protection to make sure the game isn’t taking down the machine, which is certainly rare especially compared to ten or fifteen years ago. Stability is the reason why you wouldn’t want to move away from Direct X, and differentiation is why you might want to.”

I am left with more respect for all those developers who manage to crash my machine despite it, then. The good news is Huddy continues to insist that the PC is far more powerful than the consoles, and repeats the point that DirectX is inhibiting access to the full power of the tech in their chips. So, um, er.

This all happened a week ago, but we didn’t notice it then because we are distracted by the shiny colours of games. So thank goodness for GI.biz.

We asked bit-tech editor, James Gorbold, to comment on the suggestion that they’d misquoted and exaggerated Huddy’s comments. He told us,

“I think it’s possible that CRN has misunderstood our article Farewell to DirectX?, which we published nearly two weeks ago, as our feature never suggested that AMD isn’t committed to supporting DirectX – that wasn’t the angle or focus of our article at all. Instead, our article, which includes quotes from AMD’s Richard Huddy, along with leading games developers such as Crytek, was the result of Huddy making several comments about ‘direct to metal coding’ during a wider interview on the future of the OpenGL API. During this interview, Huddy revealed some of the feedback he’d had from high-end game developers about the potential for direct-to-metal coding – we also made it clear that this would only be of interest to developers of games with cutting-edge graphics.

The quotes from Richard Huddy that formed the basis of the article were taken from an exclusive telephone interview organised by one of my staff earlier in March. It’s also important to note that an AMD PR spokesperson was listening in, so the company was well aware of what was said, well before our article was published. As a result, it comes as a surprise that AMD has not complained directly to us about the article – it looks as though our original article has actually just been misunderstood by a few other sites.”

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John Walker

Senior Editor

One of the original co-founders of Rock, Paper, Shotgun, I'm now a senior editor and hero of humanity. Old and special.

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