Game Stack Live is returning in April 2021

From 20. April - 21. April Microsoft hosts another conference about gaming technology and Microsofts tool stack. Like last year it will be online and you can already register

The session list is already online, have a look:

some highligths:

  • Graphics Keynote: Delivering the New Generation of Gaming Graphics
  • Denoising Raytraced Soft Shadows on Xbox Series X|S and Windows with FidelityFX (Presented by AMD)​
  • Xbox Velocity Architecture: Faster Game Asset Streaming and Minimal Load Times for Games of Any Size
  • DirectStorage for Windows
  • Xbox Game Streaming: Benefits of Optimizing Your Game to Play from the Cloud
  • The New Normal: 4 Stories About Starting Life at Team Xbox without Ever Setting Foot in the Office
  • Microsoft 3D Spatial Sound: Middleware Platform Support and Integration

Always enjoy seeing new technologies and methods. Will watch the bits I can!

So no GDC for Xbox this year? Huh.

Most of this stuff went over my head laat year but I may watch the WFH stuff.

GDC is a bit different this year. They have a workshop event at the start of March, then a shorter showcase event in the middle of March and the classic GDC later in July.

Microsofts event focuses more on their own technology stack, GDC is broader. So both make sense.


Do we know anything about how AMD’s denoising tech works yet?

Back when they announced rdna2 they said to be working on multiple denoisers (shadows, reflections, GI, etc) that would work great on all gpus but be optimized on rdna2.

The thing I took from it is that current methods might be a bit biased towards Nvidia.

Though I think they are also not using ML for the denoisers

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More specific details on each panel talk…

Graphics Keynote: Delivering the New Generation of Gaming Graphics

New consoles and graphics cards usher in a new wave of more immersive video games. In this session, we will cover the latest innovations to our graphics platform, making it easier for game developers to push the limits of graphics on both PC and Xbox with DirectX, HLSL, PIX, HDR, and more.​

Accelerating DirectX Innovation

The DirectX team has been working on a way to change the game for developers who want to be on the bleeding edge of graphics. We’re finally ready to show the world how we’re pushing the envelope with an exciting new update.​

Tier 2 Variable Rate Shading in Gears

This talk will discuss the usage of Variable Rate Shading in Gears 5 and Gears Tactics. Our implementation targets zero perceptual drop in visual quality, works seamlessly with dynamic resolution, and runs across Xbox Series X|S and PC. Performance improvements will be discussed as well as how VRS was tuned to work across different rendering passes. We will also discuss some challenges and integration tips that can be applied to any game engine.

Denoising Raytraced Soft Shadows on Xbox Series X|S and Windows with FidelityFX (Presented by AMD)

With raytraced visuals bumping rendering quality even higher than ever before, a significant amount of fine tuning is required to maintain real-time performance. A typical way to achieve this is to trace fewer rays, and to make sense of the noisier output that method delivers. This presentation will explain how the AMD FidelityFX Denoiser allows for high-quality raytracing results without increasing rays per pixel, and deep dives into specific RDNA2-based optimizations that benefit both Scarlett and PC.

Introduction to Real-time Ray Tracing with Minecraft (Presented by Nvidia)

This talk is aimed at graphics engineers that have little or no experience with ray tracing. It serves as a gentle introduction to many topics, including “What is ray tracing?”, “How many rays do you need to make an image?”, “The importance of [importance] sampling. (And more importantly, what is importance sampling?)”, “Denoising”, “The problem with small bright things”. Along the way, you will learn about specific implementation details from Minecraft.

Xbox Velocity Architecture: Faster Game Asset Streaming and Minimal Load Times for Games of Any Size

The new Xbox Velocity Architecture in the Xbox Series X|S consoles enables developers to re-imagine how to build their games. By combining a super-fast SSD, hardware decompression, and the new DirectStorage functionality, game developers have tools to develop immersive experiences with a minimal load time for users. This session will review the benefits of the Velocity Architecture and show a real-world example.

DirectStorage for Windows

Microsoft is excited to bring DirectStorage, an API in the DirectX family originally designed for the Velocity Architecture to Windows PCs! DirectStorage will bring best-in-class IO tech to both PC and console just as DirectX 12 Ultimate does with rendering tech. With a DirectStorage capable PC and a DirectStorage enabled game, you can look forward to vastly reduced load times and virtual worlds that are more expansive and detailed than ever. In this session, we will be discussing the details of this technology will help you build your next-generation PC games.


I hope they talk about it in this session, it even mentions FidelityFx.

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DrectStorage talks are ok, but they need more talks like the Coalition talk on VRS.

Is everyone waiting for the Coaltion to implement SFS and the new Mesh Shading pipeline, I wonder? Both MS and Nvidia have already spoken about this tech a year back. I’m waiting for titles to use this.

I hope Mojang talks about path tracing too.

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It does seem strange that there isn’t a path traced version of Minecraft already.

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Didn’t they give DF a path traced version of Minecraft. I remember Alex Battaglia and John Linneman just marvelling at it. Wonder what happened to that.

Btw, a turnaround of 1 month to create a ray traced version of minecraft with just one engineer - as the lore goes - is an amazing feat.

Nothing strange about it. Remember it is still 1080p on every Xbox.

Nah, Mojang just doesn’t prioritize the console versions, and even less the xbox above the others.

what do you mean by that?

That they don’t prioritize Xbox development over other consoles. So they wouldn’t start porting Minecraft RTX to SX before somehow trying to get that into all versions.

The demo shown by Ms was ported by a single guy in less than 2 days. That’s probably why we didn’t see anything yet, because it was mostly a proof of concept.

Sure but XSS should be able to handle a 720p version I’d bet. As an optional graphics mode it would be a great tech demo.

But they should! :slight_smile:

I wonder why though. It really feels that if MS gives freedom to its studios, they might start making games for PS lol

Missed the Keynote but the rest is pretty good so far. DirectX new Agility SDK sounds very interesting.

The DirectStorage presentation was a bit disappointing and not much in depth. The API is still not ready for PC and will come in Summer 2021 for interested developers.

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