Thursday, July 2, 2015

Codeweavers On DX 11 in WINE, Steam Machines & Porting

Last week, following the announcement that Codeweavers would soon provide DirectX11 support for games and applications, I decided to get in touch with James Ramey, President of Codeweavers, in order to learn more about their plans and their progress on that front. He was kind enough to make himself available to answer some of our questions.

The recent news of WINE/Crossover supporting DX11 is significant, because up until now there were no FOSS solutions to get such support. Sure, the eON wrapper from Virtual Programming was one commercial option for game companies to develop ports for Linux, but it was not available for end users. With WINE supporting DX11, this opens up a whole new library of recent Windows games for the Linux platform.

James Ramey, President of Codeweavers
James Ramey, President of Codeweavers
James was not too familiar with what Virtual Programming and their eON wrapper actually does and could not comment on their technology, but WINE/Crossover will surely become another option in the market of porting DX10-11 games, fairly soon. While the announcement of DX11 support is fairly new, they have actually been at work on it for quite a while.
James Ramey (JR): It has taken about 9 months to get to where we are today. We are about 4 months to having a framework for DirextX 11 in Crossover/WINE. We anticipated it was going to be a one man/year project. We’ve been working on this since the fall of 2014, and we anticipate sometime in November to have that framework in place.
Wait, a one man/year project. Do they literally mean a single contributor, or several people working on it part time ?
JR: It’s been one person actually. It’s high level, detailed work. Henri Verbeet is the person actually doing it. I am sure there are other people who contribute a little, but all is pretty much depending on the work that he does at this stage. Henri has been working on the WINE project for years. He is the foremost authority on Gaming and Graphics in the WINE community, he is considered to be an expert by most peers regarding his experience in this particular area of WINE. So for anything graphics related, it comes down to Henry. He is really at that rock-star level in what he does.
The announcement of DX11 support also hinted at better GPU performance – and that is apparently not going to be limited to DX11.
JR: GPU improvements will be from DirectX 9 up, as well as the command stream. There will be improvements to a couple of different things. We expect games support to be better across the board and not just DirectX11.


Crossover is a commercial WINE distribution (with additional tools bundled with it), but Codeweavers also generates revenues from other sources (such as porting and maintaining Linux ports for other companies). But how much revenues come from each side of the business?

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