DirectStorage 1.1 Is Coming Soon, Enabling Faster Loading Times of Up to 40% in Supported Games

Image: Square Enix

The next version of DirectStorage is capable of speeding game loading times by up to 40%. Microsoft shared the figure in a new post on the DirectX Developer Blog today, one that can confirm DirectStorage 1.1 is coming soon and can offer significant reductions in loading times in supported games for Windows users with NVMe drives. DirectStorage 1.1 leverages a new compression format called GDeflate, which was contributed by NVIDIA.

Developers can expect the following in the DirectStorage SDK update:

  • Updated DirectStorage runtime to perform decompression
  • Tooling for GDeflate, including compressors
  • Samples (including the Bulk Loading demo above)
  • Documentation

“NVIDIA and Microsoft are working together to make long load times in PC games a thing of the past,” said John Spitzer, VP of Developer and Performance Technology at NVIDIA. “Applications will benefit by applying GDeflate compression to their game assets, enabling richer content and shorter loading times without having to increase the file download size.”

Image: Microsoft

From the DirectX Developer Blog:

DirectStorage 1.0 improves the data transfer part of this process. Advances in Windows 11 combined with DirectStorage allow developers to make use of the higher bandwidth of NVMe drives. DirectStorage enabled games installed on NVMe drives should expect to see reductions in load times by up to 40%. After enhancing this part of the pipeline, developers will want to improve decompression performance next.

Typically, decompression work is done on the CPU because compression formats have historically been optimized for CPUs only. We are offering an alternative method in DirectStorage 1.1 by moving the decompression of those assets to the GPU instead – known as “GPU decompression.” Graphics cards are extremely efficient at performing repeatable tasks in parallel, and we can utilize that capability along with the bandwidth of a high-speed NVMe drive to do more work at once. As a result, the amount of time it takes for an asset to load decreases, reducing level load times and improving open world streaming.

Microsoft launched the DirectStorage API in March 2022, allowing developers to ship their games with the technology that promises to enable faster loading times, more detailed worlds, and more. DirectStorage is compatible with Windows 10 devices, but Microsoft recommends Windows 11, having explained that it has the latest storage optimizations built in.

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