Emulation of DX9 games will be available on Intel’s Arc graphics cards and on its 12th Generation GPUs.
The official removal of native DX9 compatibility from Intel’s Arc and 12th Generation graphics hardware was completed earlier this year. You might be asking where this leaves the older games in your library that continue to use the aging API now that that information has been provided. There is no need to be concerned; Intel will not be fully discontinuing support for DX9; rather, the company will shift responsibility for bug testing and support to Microsoft and its D3D9On12 emulation layer.
Intel has announced that it would no longer support its native DX9 driver and instead rely on Microsoft’s D3D9On12 (opens in new tab) mapping layer as necessary. This layer is essentially responsible for taking DX9 commands and translating them into DX12 commands. As a result, a complete stack of driver optimizations that Intel would have otherwise required to design for itself is eliminated.
Consider it in a manner analogous to the manner in which Valve’s Proton compatibility layer transforms DirectX instructions to Vulkan API commands, in order to make gaming on the Steam Deck (which opens in a new tab) a great deal less complicated.
According to a support page on the Intel website (opens in a new tab), “12th generation Intel processor’s integrated GPU and Arc discrete GPU no longer support D3D9 natively.” This information was obtained from Tom’s Hardware (opens in new tab). Applications and games that are built on DirectX 9 are still capable of functioning through the Microsoft* D3D9On12 interface.
This should work in favor of Intel because the firm has confessed that it is having trouble using APIs that are older than the more modern DX12 and Vulkan APIs on its most recent Arc GPUs. This should give Intel an advantage.
Making DX11 games better and better and better will be a labor of passion for as long as the company exists. “And DX9 as well,” says Tom Peterson, who works for Intel. “But then, Vulkan and DX12 titles are just going to be better optimized for Intel GPUs in general as we start to have a wider footprint,” said the developer.
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With the help of Microsoft’s compatibility layer, Intel will be able to basically stop working on DX9 games and instead rely on Microsoft’s experience in optimizing games using its own API. This will allow Intel to focus on other projects.
“Since DirectX is owned by Microsoft and is maintained by Microsoft, troubleshooting issues with DX9 applications and games requires promoting any findings to Microsoft Support,” Intel says. “This will allow Microsoft to include the appropriate fixes in their next update of the operating system and the DirectX APIs.”
Although Intel still needs to solve out DX11 compatibility, which is by far the most crucial piece of the Arc driver jigsaw that Intel needs to figure out, the company has made significant progress in recent months. Making the DX11 Application Programming Interface (API) work with Arc will be one of the most important factors in determining whether or not it is successful. The API is still used by many popular and recent games.