DirectX 12 is a Windows 10 exclusive and up until today that’s meant...nothing. We’ve heard about DirectX 12. We’ve tested DirectX 12. But there hasn’t been any upshot to your home rig yet, because there weren’t any games built on DirectX 12.
Until now. Stardock launched Ashes of the Singularity on Steam Early Access this morning, which makes it the first DirectX 12 game and game-based benchmark to hit the storefront—and thus the first that’s easily accessible by you at home.
You can grab the real-time strategy game for $40 at the moment. Stardock’s been touting the game both for its DirectX 12 roots and because of the custom-built Nitrous Engine, which allows for massive-scale engagements of thousands of individually-controllable units on the screen at once.
“With the unparalleled power of the world’s first native 64-bit real-time strategy game engine, Ashes of the Singularity allows for maps of unprecedented size and details.
Over the course of the war, the player will construct thousands of units. These units have details that are normally reserved for games with only a few active units. Huge, kilometer-long Dreadnoughts can have a half dozen turrets, each with their own firing solutions. Smaller units will intelligently target units based on true line of sight physics. That’s right, every unit’s vision is based on line of sight, instead of radial fog of war.”
So that’s the game. And it sounds pretty awesome conceptually. (Though there’s no telling how it’ll eventually release. Early Access is always a risk.)
Unfortunately, it’s more controversial as a benchmarking tool. My colleague Gordon Ung put Ashes of the Singularity through its paces and came to some surprising conclusions, but Nvidia argued the test—not just ours, but the benchmark itself—was invalid. “We do not believe [ Ashes of the Singularity] is a good indicator of overall DirectX 12 gaming performance,” the company said at the time.
Is the test actually invalid? Is it just Nvidia throwing a tantrum because the game's benchmark shows AMD graphics cards getting a bigger boost from DX12? That’s hard to know, since at the moment there aren’t a ton of DirectX 12 benchmarks we can compare with to establish trends. In other words, take your own home testing with a grain of salt. Still, it’s great that there’s finally software to take advantage of Windows 10’s latent DirectX 12 capabilities.
One last warning, from Stardock:
“This pre-beta requires very high-end hardware and should only be joined by people with substantial technical expertise and experience in real-time strategy games. These builds are buggy, gameplay is very incomplete and it’ll probably kill your pets.”
Consider your pets warned. If you’re still not scared off, head over and pick up Ashes of the Singularity.