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DX11 Stone Giant demo gets public release

Although a handful of DirectX 11 games have been released, we’ve yet to see a game that really pushes the new features of the API. This is all a bit frustrating if you’ve forked out for a DirectX 11 card, but you can now at least see what your cutting-edge GPU is capable of producing via the new public release of BitSquid’s Stone Giant demo.

If you’ve been following the DirectX 11 story online, then you may well have already seen a video of the Stone Giant demo (video below) last month. Unlike the average current DX 11 game, which has really been built on a lower-spec API with some extra DX 11 features bolted on, Stone Giant was built specifically to take advantage of the features in DirectX 11.

It’s an amazing demo to look at, and bears more in common with the CGI effects you see in films than what you expect from your average game. In particular, the level of detail is incredible, which is all thanks to the use of displacement map tessellation. This enables an amazing level of dynamic detail that would be impractical to create using standard geometry calculations.

You’ll also notice the realistic way in which objects move in and out of focus, and the depth of field effects, which are handled using GPGPU calculations via DirectX 11’s Compute Shader. The demo also supports Nvidia’s 3D Vision technology, so you can watch it in 3D if you have the right gear.

The demo was made to showcase the forthcoming BitSquid Tech engine, which BitSquid hopes will form the backbone of fully-fledged PC games in the future. BitSquid’s founder and senior graphics architect, Tobias Persson, says that “we believe that the great image fidelity seen in Stone Giant, made possible by the advanced features of DirectX 11, is something that we will come to expect in future games.”

Persson is no stranger to implementing new technology, having worked on Ghost Recon: Advanced Warfighter, which was one of the first games to take advantage of Ageia’s PhysX PPU. He also worked on the remake of Bionic Commando, which also takes advantage of PhysX via Nvidia’s CUDA technology.

BitSquid’s owner, Fatshark, which also provided the artwork for Stone Giant, is currently working on Bionic Commando 2: Rearmed. The Swedish game developer’s CEO, Martin Wahlund, said that “it has been amazing to work with a bleeding edge engine, without the usual geometric limitations seen in current games”.

“With advanced tessellation scenes, and high levels of geometry,” says Persson, “Stone Giant will allow consumers to test the DX11-credentials of their new graphics cards.”

If you fancy giving your DirectX 11 hardware a workout, then you can download the Stone Giant demo for yourself from here or here. It’s a 395MB download, so why not check out the video below while you wait.