Microsoft unveils 'missing link' that unlocks Super Resolution for developers

 NVIDIA RTX 4070 Super Founders Edition branding.
NVIDIA RTX 4070 Super Founders Edition branding.

What you need to know

  • Microsoft just announced DirectSR, an API made to help developers support multiple types of Super Resolution with a single code path.

  • DirectSR works with NVIDIA DLSS Super Resolution, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, and Intel XeSS.

  • Microsoft will launch DirectSR in public preview soon in the Agility SDK, giving developers a chance to test out the technology and provide feedback.

Microsoft has a new tool on the way that should result in more games supporting Super Resolution. The newly announced DirectSR is an API that allows developers to integrate Super Resolution into their games. It works with NVIDIA DLSS Super Resolution, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, and Intel XeSS.

What makes DirectSR special is that it allows a single code path to work with all three of the major Super Resolution versions seen in gaming. At the moment, developers need to optimize their titles specifically for NVIDIA, AMD, or Intel versions of Super Resolution. DirectSR lets a common set of inputs and outputs work with NVIDIA DLSS Super Resolution, AMD FidelityFX Super Resolution, and Intel XeSS, which should reduce how much work developers have to do to support Super Resolution.

"Super Resolution is a cutting-edge technique that increases the resolution and visual quality in games. DirectSR is the missing link developers have been waiting for when approaching SR integration, providing a smoother, more efficient experience that scales across hardware," explained Microsoft.

DirectSR will launch soon in public preview soon in the Agility SDK. Microsoft announced the tool in a DirectX Developer Blog post. The announcement comes in the lead up to the Game Developers Conference, which starts on March 18, 2024.

What is super resolution?

While there are a few different types of Super Resolution, the general concept is the same. Super Resolution is a video upscaling technology that uses AI to improve video quality. The technology can improve the framerate of games to levels that you could not see on a system otherwise. The end result is high-resolution gaming with higher framerates than what you'd see if a PC had to render everything without Super Resolution.

AI is at the heart of Super Resolution, as artificial intelligence takes frames rendered at lower resolution and then upscales them. To utilize Super Resolution, you need a gaming PC with one of the best graphics cards.

NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel all have their own versions of Super Resolution, which means that developers have had to optimize their games on a per-platform basis up to this point. Microsoft's new DirectSR should cut down the work required to support all three versions of Super Resolution dramatically.

Game Developer Conference 2024

Microsoft also announced its Work Graphics API, which is powered by Shader Model 6.8.

"Next in the spotlight is our Work Graphs API powered by Shader Model 6.8. Picture a GPU autonomously managing its own work, ushering in a new era of performance and efficiency," said Microsoft. "This functionality offers developers new tools for approaching GPU workloads in revolutionary ways, and we’re thrilled to have Work Graphs leading the charge."

Microsoft will hold technical sessions at the Game Developers Conference to showcase and break down its new gaming tech. The conference is in San Francisco and runs from March 18 - March 22. Microsoft's sessions on the tech mentioned here are on March 18 and March 21.