In a forum post over on the programming forums for Star Citizen, director of graphics engineering Ali Brown has announced that Star Citizen will now use Khronos’ Vulkan API, rather than switching to the latest edition of DirectX. While the development team had previously stated their desire to support DX12, Vulkan is “a more logical rendering API” which will benefit all users.
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One of the main reasons Brown gives for not supporting DX12 is that “it doesn't force our users to upgrade to Windows 10” and means that Star Citizen can be developed with “a single graphics API that could be used on all Windows 7, 8, 10 & Linux.” As Star Citizen is targeted to be a multiplatform PC title, using Vulkan makes a lot more sense than having to spend a large amount of time reworking the game just to work on Linux.
The current plan is for Star Citizen to only support Vulkan, with DX11 support slowly being phased out as the team switch to the new API. This API change should not affect any backers that are already able to run Star Citizen, but Roberts Space Industries will be constantly checking for any issues in the porting process.
According to Brown, DX12 “would only be considered if we found it gave us a specific and substantial advantage over Vulkan,” and even then the APIs “aren't that different.” If anything is subject to change, you can be certain the boffins over at Cloud Imperium Games will let their legion of pilots know.
This wouldn't be the first time Star Citizen has changed big elements of its backend, with it switching from the CryEngine to Amazon Lumberyard in December of last year.
You can check out the recent graphical developments for Star Citizen in the video found above, which details some of the leaps the development team have made in lighting, facial animations along with level design.