New Diagnostic Tools Available For DirectX 12 Developers

One of the main features for gaming on Windows 10 is the DirectX 12 API, which some developers use to create titles that Microsoft says has better performance and stability. However, the finished product isn’t perfect, and it’s still susceptible to numerous error and crashes. In order to better understand the actual causes of these game-breaking issues, Microsoft released two new tools for DirectX 12 developers.

The new commands center around the CPU and "device removed" or "device lost" errors, which affect a GPU when a driver update is installed during gameplay or if there are errors in the game’s programming code. Before the launch of the Fall Creators Update, an app couldn’t get access to the system resource memory, which is crucial when one of the aforementioned errors occur. Now, a developer can add the “OpenExistingHeapFromAddress” command to their game; it gathers information from the resource memory that can be used to determine the source of the device error.

Sometimes the problem might not be in the GPU, but in the information sent to the card from the CPU. Microsoft added a “WriteBufferImmediate” method that records the commands executed and in progress from the CPU. If a crash occurs, developers can use the script to look at the CPU’s activity during that time and determine which command was active during the error.

Other additions to the Fall Creators update include bugfixes and a monthly update to PIX, the company’s graphics software used for debugging.

With better diagnostic methods, developers have a clearer view of the problems plaguing their games, which results in better patches in future updates. Depending on the nature of the crash, a fix could take a few hours or days, but at least there’s more information available to help developers create a suitable solution.

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