DirectX 10 vs. DirectX 9

With the completion of my beast-tacular new gaming rig, I thought I’d flip COH over to DirectX 10 and try out some of these crazy new graphics enhancements. You’ll all remember of course, that COH was among the first games to have DX10 support, which was added via patch update in late May 2007. Now, while I certainly enjoy having the latest and greatest PC hardware just the same as the next tech-geek, I have to admit I barely noticed a difference in the actual game.

The first thing I did notice was the presence of little rocks and flowers — all over the place. I loaded up a replay on Angoville to find the American base looking like a rock garden had been emptied into it. You can see for yourself what I mean. Relic’s official patch changelog describes the addition of “thousands of additional litter objects.” When they said thousands, they weren’t kidding.

The first thing you notice with DirectX 10 activated.

The first thing you notice with DirectX 10 activated.

Now, you guys may like all these Mars rocks scattered everywhere. I think it looks absolutely retarded. I can see a few rocks — maybe 10% or 20% of the rocks and flora that currently appear in DX 10. But it’s way too much, kinda like the two-year-old who discovers crayons for the first time. Next thing you know, crayon art is over every smooth-textured object you own. It’s just immature art direction on the part of Relic.

Here’s a comparison shot of the strategic point by the southern base, first in DirectX 9 and then in DirectX 10. Click the images to enlarge them.

DirectX 9, graphics settings at maximum.

DirectX 9, graphics settings at maximum.

Rockville McFlowerland, graphics settings at maximum

Rockville McFlowerland, graphics settings at maximum

I looked carefully at other aspects of COH’s graphics with DX 10 on, but I really can’t make out much, if any, differences. Not even improvements — I mean I literally find it impossible to tell them apart if I ignore the rocks, pebbles and dandelions.

There are supposed to be numerous lighting and shadow improvements, but I can’t notice them. Here’s the full list of claims:

  • Edges of particles are softened where intersecting 3D objects
  • Thousands of additional ‘litter’ objects in the world
  • Improved user control over anti aliasing settings
  • Alpha to coverage anti aliasing to improve quality of alpha test objects such as shrubs
  • Lighting quality has improved by moving all calculations per pixel
  • More precise point light calculations
  • Point lights can now cast shadows
  • 3D short grass on the terrain
  • Vertical refresh synchronization is enabled by default to improve visual quality
  • Hardware PCF for improved shadow quality
  • If someone can defend these based on my screenshots (or the ones in the Legit Reviews article), feel free to comment. Anybody else with a DX-10-capable graphics card care to weigh in?

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    5 Responses to DirectX 10 vs. DirectX 9

    1. Runfree says:

      I think , you don’t have time to see things like little objects in a game or minor improvment …


      R

    2. The Hat says:

      Interesting.

      In other news, 2.4 patch notes! WOO!

    3. colonelcommissar says:

      Lol, exact same thing (the pebbles ‘n rocks) that I picked up on – I recently splashed out on an upgrade (pretty much the same – core i7 920, etc etc) and after turning the settings on CoH up to max for about 1-2 matches, I ended up turning them back down to mid. range.

      I think the game looks fantastic even on the lowest settings anyway; aside from the assorted rocks lying around, the only major visual things that I picked up on were the greater detail on HQ (i.e. the cobbled roof) and units. Then again, who’s going to zoom in on their flame engi unit whilst trying to multi-flank an MG + volks combo 😛

    4. frost says:

      “I think it looks absolutely retarded.” – I said these exact same words when I tried out Windows 7. Decided to try out DX10 myself… and wow. What a waste of time that was. All those little rocks and about -20fps. Just not worth it for me, so back to DX9 it was. Glad to see you back up and running =)

    5. I did not notice any performance hit on my machine, but the “litter objects” themselves are just distracting.

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