Preparations for the 64bit client and DirectX 12
At EVE Vegas 2018, CCP announced that work had begun on the transition to a 64-bit client. This project is seeing rock solid progress and the official release is aimed for Q2 2019.
The aim of this project is twofold – continued investment in the future of EVE Online with regular technical upgrades, as well as efforts to ensure that New Eden remains as visually stunning as ever, on the cutting edge of what’s graphically possible for an MMO (when you’re not playing in potato mode).
Right now, the audio and graphics team are deep in the testing phase in preparation for a public test on March 5th, which is when capsuleers will be able to get their hands on the 64-bit client for the first time by connecting to the Duality test server.
The move to a 64-bit client represents a key modernization moment in the development of EVE Online and is substantial milestone in CCP’s drive to move with industry standards and continue to streamline their development maintenance costs.
With the switch to a 64-bit client it has been decided to drop support for the 32-bit client, given that only around 0.5% of all pilots are currently playing on 32bit operating systems and the cost to support both architectures isn’t where CCP wants to invest their development time.
To facilitate the switch to 64-bit client architecture, the minimum requirements for EVE Online will also be updated. The nature of 64-bit applications means that they utilize more memory. As such, CCP will be increasing then minimum memory requirements for EVE Online from 2GB to 4GB when the 64-bit client finally gets released.
EVE’s engine team have started work on the substantial task of providing DX12 capabilities for EVE Online.
Switching to DirectX 12 will give devs a huge increase in bandwidth to utilize more modern advances in graphics technology to continue to make New Eden more stunning than ever before. With DirectX 12 technologies such as DirectX Raytracing will become available, and the dev team will be able to invest more time into overhauling effects, environments and visual feedback in EVE Online to provide an even richer and more immersive experience for all pilots.
Since 2016, CCP hinted at the eventual sunsetting of DirectX 9, and more recently they reset EVE Online’s default DX API to DirectX 11 to gauge how many pilots would switch back.
The results of this experiment coupled with the decision to invest in continued future proofing by moving to DirectX 12 means that CCP made the decision to sunset the official support for DirectX 9.
The date for the sunset of DirectX 9 will of course be tied to the release of the DirectX 12 client, which will be announced at a date to be decided in the future.
The transition to a 64-bit client will of course come first, but you can expect updates on progress of the transition to DirectX 12 after that via dev blogs and more information at EVE World Tour events during 2019.
The release of a DirectX 12 client will mean that all pilots will need a DirectX 11 capable graphics card as a minimum requirement to play EVE. This is a leap from a DirectX 9 capable card for some pilots, and CCP plans to give at least six months of notice before the transition to DirectX 12 so that there’s ample preparation time, should hardware upgrades be needed.
One question does of course remain – what about those pilots who’re playing on the Mac client? Fear not! CCP is currently working with their partners to ensure that all the above also applies to the mac client too. More information for mac users will follow as soon as more progress with the Mac client has been made and the devs are ready to talk more about transition plans for those playing on macOS.
Public testing of the 64-bit client will begin on Duality, on March 5th.