Star Citizen switches exclusively to Vulkan API from DirectX 11

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Developer Cloud Imperium Games has confirmed that it will be dropping DirectX 11 support for the Vulkan API in its upcoming space simulation title Star Citizen. Additionally, the developer is also withdrawing its plan to add support for DirectX 12 in the future.

Ali Brown, director of graphics engineering at Cloud Imperium Games, said in a post on the official Star Citizen community forums that the game is transitioning to the Vulkan API since it supports multiple platforms, including Windows 7, 8, 10 and Linux. In contrast, DirectX 12 limits its support to Windows 10 only. Brown explains:

Years ago we stated our intention to support DX12, but since the introduction of Vulkan which has the same feature set and performance advantages this seemed a much more logical rendering API to use as it doesn’t force our users to upgrade to Windows 10 and opens the door for a single graphics API that could be used on all Windows 7, 8, 10 & Linux. As a result our current intention is to only support Vulkan and eventually drop support for DX11 as this shouldn’t effect any of our backers.

Although Vulkan is a low-level graphics API, it is still able to use the GPU in a more effective way than previous versions of DirectX and OpenGL. As a result, the frame rates get better and the CPU usage lowers in games.

Brown, nevertheless, did not completely brush aside the prospect of a DirectX 12 support for Star Citizen sooner or later. He adds:

DX12 would only be considered if we found it gave us a specific and substantial advantage over Vulkan. The API’s really aren’t that different though, 95% of the work for these APIs is to change the paradigm of the rendering pipeline, which is the same for both APIs.

Do you agree with Cloud Imperium Games’ decision to make the switch to the Vulkan API? Share your thoughts in the comments.