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PostPosted: Thu Aug 02, 2012 7:07 pm
 


Valve: OpenGL is faster than DirectX — even on Windows
$1:
In a scary twist that reinforces Valve’s distaste for Windows 8, it turns out that the Source engine — the 3D engine that powers Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead, and Dota 2 — runs faster on Ubuntu 12.04 and OpenGL than Windows 7 and DirectX/Direct3D.

The Valve Linux Team breaks it down on their shiny new blog: With an Nvidia GTX 680, Intel i7-3930k, and 32GB of RAM, Windows 7 and DirectX, Left 4 Dead 2 maxes out at 270.6 fps. With the same hardware, but different software — Ubuntu 12.04 and OpenGL — L4D2 scores 315 fps, almost 20% faster than Windows.

These figures are remarkable, considering Valve has been refining the Source engine’s performance under Windows for almost 10 years, while the Valve Linux team has only been working on the Linux port of Source for a few months. Valve attributes the speed-up to the “underlying efficiency of the [Linux] kernel and OpenGL.”

The Linux port of L4D2 didn’t start off at 315 fps, of course — the initial version actually maxed out at just 6 fps. To realize such a huge performance gain, a three-pronged approach is taken: The game is tweaked to play nicely with the Linux kernel, the game is optimized to work with OpenGL (rather than DirectX), and bugs in the Linux graphics drivers are addressed.

This last point is interesting: Valve has long-standing relationships with AMD, Nvidia, and Intel, where Valve reports driver bugs and the GPU maker fixes them in a timely fashion. Valve is carrying this relationship over to Linux, which is very important for the continued growth of Linux as a gaming platform. In this case, Valve says that the Nvidia Linux driver lacked multithreading support — and once they added it to a later version of the driver, performance increased.

But here’s the best bit: Using these new OpenGL optimizations, the OpenGL version of L4D2 on Windows is now faster than the DirectX version. With the same hardware, Windows 7/OpenGL/L4D2 clocks in at 303.4 fps — compared to Windows 7/DirectX/L4D2 at 270.6 fps. In short: OpenGL is faster than DirectX.

As for why OpenGL is faster than DirectX/Direct3D, the simple answer is that OpenGL seems to have a smoother, more efficient pipeline. At 303.4 fps, OpenGL is rendering a frame every 3.29 milliseconds; at 270.6 fps, DirectX is rendering a frame in 3.69 milliseconds. That 0.4 millisecond difference is down to how fast the DirectX pipeline can process and draw 3D data.

Why do we still use Direct3D?

If OpenGL is faster, why is DirectX still the predominant API? It isn’t because of image quality or features: OpenGL 4.0 has all of shaders and tessellators and widgets that DX has. It isn’t because of hardware support: All Nvidia and AMD graphics cards support the latest version of OpenGL along with DirectX.

Really, it all comes down to that crummy old thing we call the network effect — and, of course, monopolistic heft and marketing dollars. DirectX, because it has a cleaner API and better documentation, is easier to learn. More developers using DirectX = more DirectX games = better driver support. This is a vicious loop that again leads to more DX devs, more DX games, and better DX drivers/tools/documentation. Microsoft has relentlessly marketed DirectX, too — and who can forget the release of Windows Vista and Microsoft’s OpenGL smear campaign? Vista’s bundled version of OpenGL was completely crippled, forcing many devs to switch to DirectX.

Microsoft has good reason to hamper the progress of OpenGL, of course: While DirectX is proprietary and only runs on Windows, Xbox and Windows Phone, OpenGL is completely cross-platform. There are solid OpenGL implementations for Mac, Linux, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, and just about every modern smartphone (OpenGL ES). It obviously in Microsoft’s best interests to ensure that the best gaming experiences are exclusive to its platforms.

With Gabe Newell’s distaste for Windows 8 (and Blizzard echoing his sentiments), the imminent release of Steam on Linux, and the continued growth of smartphone games, we could be on the cusp of an OpenGL revolution. If the Windows gaming crown continues to slip, OpenGL might soon become the default API, rather than an afterthought. Very soon, it might be standard to develop a game that works well across every platform — rather than focusing on Direct3D and leaving Linux and OS X out in the cold.

Valve will be speaking about its Linux/OpenGL advancements at SIGGRAPH 2012 next week. SIGGRAPH is where we usually hear about the latest OpenGL and DirectX news, too — so stay tuned!


More bad news for Microsoft... Even the gamers are turning on them.

:rock:





PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:35 am
 


The Steam Box is coming: how Linux could save PC gaming
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If the heavy hints dropped by Valve Software's Gabe Newell this week are anything to go by, the Steam Box will soon have a release date.
This Linux-powered box is a key part of Valve's strategy to double-down on the advantages of an open-ish ecosystem like Steam on Windows and to breathe life into the innovative but commercially-flagging PC games industry.
It was telling that Newell revealed his company's plans at LinuxCon rather than, say, a gaming event like E3 as the free operating system is such a key part of where Valve sees Steam going over the next few years.
But what makes Linux - never a natural home for gamers - such a good choice for Valve? Is an OS prized by IT neckbeards for its reliability but not noted for its user-friendly nature going to be suitable for plonking in the living room of any random casual gamer?
Change is good

The first thing to understand about Linux as a games platform is that the OS has changed a lot over the last few years. Hardware detection has mostly put paid to the driver hell that used to dog Linux installs and the main distributions like Ubuntu, now have both slick windowed interfaces and seamless package managers that puts most software installs just a couple of mouse clicks away.
The second is that Linux really is open, at its core. Anyone can take the Linux OS modify it, simplify it or tweak it to better achieve some goal.

Whether that means fine-tuning the kernel at the heart of the OS or creating a streamlined install to fit specific hardware, Linux's flexibility is the reason it now powers much of the web, thousands of embedded systems and - thanks to Android - millions of smartphones.
And it is this openness that seems to appeal to Valve. Steam is sometimes criticised for dominating PC game distribution but, compared to something like the App Store, Steam has relatively low barriers to entry and Valve holds its marketplace in a somewhat looser grip.
It is now a tech industry commonplace that Android is bedevilled by fragmentation because of the hundreds of devices and OS versions that developers must consider. Compared to the PC space, however, Android devs have it easy.
Countless variations in memory, CPU capability, storage capacity and network speeds exist between machines and it is only graphics and audio drivers like Microsoft's Direct X family that have slowed the moving target enough for developers to draw a bead.
What the Steam Box represents, in a sense, is a reference platform for PC gaming. Target this, Valve says, and we will make sure your games will run on it.
Easy as Pi

Not only that, but they will also run on more powerful desktop and notebook PCs as well as a smattering of older or cheaper boxes. Windows used to have a lock-in on desktop PCs, but Linux is now easy enough to install that switching from Windows is no longer beyond the ken of PC average gamer, particularly those who value performance.
Linux has low hardware requirements compared to something like Windows 8. You could easily drop a thousand pounds on a decent Windows 8 gaming rig, but with its own Linux OS tweaked to maximise performance, the specs of the Steam Box should be lower and consequently more affordable.

Of course, for Linux gaming to take off, developers have to target the platform and that means writing portable code and having the libraries and debugging tools to do so.
Valve has been doing its part to help here. Last year it finished porting its Source engine (which powers games such as Valve's own Half Life 2 and Team Fortress 2 as well as third party titles like the award-winning Dear Esther) to Linux and the company is working on a Linux debugger, based of the suggestions of developers it has been working with.
Valve's journey to Linux isn't just about the hardware and software, however. Valve has been concerned about the way the Windows platform has been changing. In particular, the way Microsoft seems to be trying to reshape the open(ish) PC ecosystem into something more closely resembling Apple's App Store model.
As Newell delicately put it, "We thought there was some bad thinking."
It would be naive to assume that Valve's interests are purely altruistic. A closed Windows app store would be a direct competitor to Steam and it is in the company's interest to encourage a more open model.
Valve isn't standing alone here. A number of high-profile PC games developers, including Markus 'Notch' Persson, the creator of Minecraft, and Alen Ladavac, the CTO of Zagreb-based development studio Croteam (Serious Sam), have also been highly critical of Windows 8 games development.
"Got an email from microsoft, wanting to help 'certify' Minecraft for Win 8," Notch tweeted late last year, "I told them to stop trying to ruin the PC as an open platform."
Games are one of the missing pieces of the Linux puzzle, one of the last remaining reasons that make switching to it from Windows more difficult.
If Valve's Linux experiment is a success then Microsoft may be given pause for thought, at least in the world of home PCs.


R=UP


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:40 am
 


$1:
The Valve Linux Team breaks it down on their shiny new blog: With an Nvidia GTX 680, Intel i7-3930k, and 32GB of RAM, Windows 7 and DirectX, Left 4 Dead 2 maxes out at 270.6 fps. With the same hardware, but different software — Ubuntu 12.04 and OpenGL — L4D2 scores 315 fps, almost 20% faster than Windows.


You won't notice the difference between 270 fps and 315 fps. Valve needs a more relevant benchmark.





PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:50 am
 


That article is 13 months old, I necro'd the thread rather than start a new one to talk about their upcoming Linux console that they will be unveiling tomorrow.

But it is a relevant benchmark, if they're claiming its faster.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 9:53 am
 


Curtman Curtman:
That article is 13 months old, I necro'd the thread rather than start a new one to talk about their upcoming Linux console that they will be unveiling tomorrow.

But it is a relevant benchmark, if they're claiming its faster.


It is not possible to tell the difference between 270 fps and 315.

It is beyond human perception.





PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:25 am
 


saturn_656 saturn_656:
Curtman Curtman:
That article is 13 months old, I necro'd the thread rather than start a new one to talk about their upcoming Linux console that they will be unveiling tomorrow.

But it is a relevant benchmark, if they're claiming its faster.


It is not possible to tell the difference between 270 fps and 315.

It is beyond human perception.


That isn't the point. If you've got a more efficient 3D library that is faster, you can do more with less. Its faster, and your ability to perceive that difference isn't the issue. It means developers can do more without sacrificing performance on older hardware.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:33 am
 


The benchmarks were done by Valve on their own games. The performance boost may not be across all Open GL supporting titles.

Linux isn't ready for prime time, not enough compatible gaming software.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 10:46 am
 


Curt you have declared PC gaming to be dying for ages, it isn't. The steam box will not even get a decent chunk out of PC gaming, it's Steam exclusive meaning there are a lot of games that will never play on it. It also is a damn near impossible to upgrade, something every gamer does at some point.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 1:28 pm
 


OpenGL vs DirectX is so 10 years ago.

DirectX won.


I really like Valve, Steam, etc and I hope the Steam Box is successful, but I suspect it will fail.





PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:35 pm
 


saturn_656 saturn_656:
The benchmarks were done by Valve on their own games. The performance boost may not be across all Open GL supporting titles.

Linux isn't ready for prime time, not enough compatible gaming software.


Linux is already prime time.. :mrgreen:

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http://www.zdnet.com/windows-has-fallen ... 000008699/


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 3:45 pm
 


I'd like to see Direct X vs OpenGL on a newer game that pushed the hardward to hit 60FPS lets see what you get with that.

Older software isn't a good messure of just what can be done.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:05 pm
 


I really hope the Steambox works out. I want one.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:27 pm
 


Curtman Curtman:
saturn_656 saturn_656:
The benchmarks were done by Valve on their own games. The performance boost may not be across all Open GL supporting titles.

Linux isn't ready for prime time, not enough compatible gaming software.


Linux is already prime time.. :mrgreen:

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http://www.zdnet.com/windows-has-fallen ... 000008699/


Not as far as PC gaming is concerned.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 4:37 pm
 


Curtman Curtman:
saturn_656 saturn_656:
The benchmarks were done by Valve on their own games. The performance boost may not be across all Open GL supporting titles.

Linux isn't ready for prime time, not enough compatible gaming software.


Linux is already prime time.. :mrgreen:

Image
http://www.zdnet.com/windows-has-fallen ... 000008699/

Computing, not computer. Windows is built of laptop and desktops which are a ~$100 investment and most families just get one or two. Smartphones are free with 3 year contracts and many families have one for both parents and all their kids.


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 22, 2013 5:06 pm
 


Problem is some people actually use computers for work and not googly games graphics and shit. Corporate world is PC based while the Arside ( movie FX, music production, print based media, etc etc) is Apple based. Don't see anyone them switching over to any of that shit anytime soon.

I know I can run my DAW in Linux, but why the fuck should I go through all that trouble and I don't want risk weeks of work go to hell when I use third party plugin and have it crashed or work like shit because of compatibility issues. If I want more processing power I rather pay for a upgrade than mess around.

I don't think the professional world will go with this in any significant numbers anytime soon.


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