Earlier this month, Microsoft brought the Xbox DirectStorage API SDK to Windows 11. Part of the company's Xbox Velocity Architecture, the API provides specific features to enhance gaming. This week, the first game demo using DirectStorage has been shared.
In a previous blog post, Microsoft describes the API as the following:
This public SDK release begins a new era of fast load times and detailed worlds in PC games by allowing developers to more fully utilize the speed of the latest storage devices. In September 2020, we announced DirectStorage would be coming to Windows, and after collecting feedback throughout our developer preview, we are making this API available to all of our partners to ship with their games.”
During the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2022 event, Luminous Productions showed DirectStorage in action in its title Forspoken. You may know this a Project Athia, but either way it is an upcoming action role playing game.
While running the API, Forspoken is delivering impressive results. The demo shows loading scenes and they seem smoother and faster when using Microsoft's DirectStorage.
To highlight the difference, a chart was shown to reveal the input-output (I/O) rates for load times compared to the older Win32 Storage API and DirectStorage API for Windows 11. For NVMe SSD storage, the API provides a near 70% improvement (4,829 MB/s) compared to Win32 (2,862 MB/s).
It is worth noting Microsoft originally said Windows 10 is also getting the API, but Windows 11 is now getting it exclusively. One of the main abilities of DirectStorage is significantly reducing I/O operations on a storage drive by using parallelization. In other words, load times and other similar benefits are available in games.
Tip of the day: Did you know that Windows now has a package manager similar to Linux called “Winget”? In our tutorial, we show you how to install and use this new tool that allows the quick installation of apps via PowerShell or a GUI.