Frontier Developments‘ Elite: Dangerous is one of the few modern PC games that supports both 32-bit versions of Windows and DirectX 10 graphics cards. According to the company’s CEO and founder, David Braben, that could change in six months’ time if players give Frontier the go ahead to drop support for these outdated technologies.
As you know we spend a good deal of time planning for the future, and one issue (and opportunity) we are considering is the effect of supporting Win32 and DX10, and the benefits we would get if we were to drop them. As you know, we support leading edge technology like 4K, 8K, VR, and with things like compute shaders in Horizons we really push the boundaries overall, but there are restrictions with Win32 – particularly the amount of memory we can address at one time – and with DX10 in terms of requiring an alternative rendering solution in our code. Dropping these two would help us support high end effects with a better result – to make the game better.
About 0.5% of players that have installed Elite Dangerous have used their game on Win32 at some time. Some of these machines are capable of running Win64 (ie the hardware would support it). With DX10 (fewer than 2% of players) it is more tricky as you may need to upgrade the graphics card on such machines.
We do appreciate that although those are small percentages, that is still a significant number of people affected. We want to give as much notice as we can. It will be at least six months before we would make the change, but we want to know your opinions first, and to give warning that the change will need to come at some point, so please let us know.
As you can read from the forum post that we’ve quoted above, being forced to support 32-bit versions of Windows and DirectX 10 means that Frontier Developments loses valuable time developing alternate rendering solutions, time that could be spent making the game prettier, or even making it perform even better than it does now for people with 64-bit Windows operating systems.