Microsoft's 'missing link' for PC and Xbox gaming will finally put upscaling woes among developers to rest

 DirectX 12.
DirectX 12.

What you need to know

  • At GDC 2024, Microsoft revealed its DirectSR (Direct Super Resolution) API, designed to simplify the upscaling implementation process for developers.

  • The cutting-edge tech will support both the Windows and Xbox ecosystems.

  • DirectSR suppports multiple upscaling techniques with a standard interface.

  • New upscaling techniques with new parameters will be incorporated via an update to facilitate additional support.

We all know the crucial role video upscaling plays in gameplay and general performance. Microsoft has been instrumental in ensuring that developers can unlock the full potential of your computer's hardware via its DirectX software.

Toward the end of last month, we learned that the tech giant was gearing up to unveil DirectX 'DirectSR' super-resolution graphics tech at the just-concluded GDC 2024. Microsoft's program manager, Joshua Tucker, described the technology as the “missing link” between games and super-resolution technologies. The concept behind DirectSR is to simplify the upscaling implementation process.

Most modern PC games are somewhat resource-hungry and demand some of the latest tech, including CPUs and GPUs. But Microsoft's cutting-edge DirectSR technology aims to bridge this gap, at least according to Dev Manager at Microsoft's Direct3D division, Shawn Hargreaves (via 4Gamer). It's worth noting that NVIDIA, AMD, and Intel all collaborated to bring this technology to fruition.

Microsoft's DirectSR tech supports multiple upscaling techniques, thus making it easier to leverage its capabilities on games, ultimately lessening the burden for developers. The tech is expected to ship as part of Direct SuperResolution and will be supported across Windows PCs and Xbox consoles. However, other versions of the tech will be limited to specific GPU and NPU models.

Developers will be required to provide the following list inputs for the algorithm:

  • Source color image

  • Source depth

  • Source image region (optional)

  • Motion vectors

  • Motion vectors scale

  • Camera jitter

  • Exposure and Pre-Exposure

  • Exposure scale texture

  • Ignore history mask

  • Reactive mask

  • Sharpness

  • Image regions

Microsoft intends to take a load off the developers' shoulders by handling most of the groundwork, including all the parameters that might be required for upscaling. This way, it will be easier for the developer to identify and select the specific technique they'd like to use, ultimately making the implementation process simpler.

If a new upscaling technique is released with new parameters, the DirectSR runtime can easily be updated to reflect the same. To this end, it remains unclear when Microsoft will ship the tech to general availability, but it's already in the development phase.