The UWP API is Now Slightly Better

In the most recent round of Windows 10 updates, Microsoft has rolled out a new version of their Universal Windows Platform (UWP) API. It now supports nifty features like an unlocked frame rate and support for AMD’s Freesync and nVidia’s G-SYNC.

Though the API now supports said features, it might be a little while before games take advantage of them. Microsoft has said that Gears of War: Ultimate Edition and Forza Motorsport Apex will be leading the charge by supporting the features in the very near future. The latter of which is currently in beta and a free download for anyone interested.

Those with multiple GPUs still have to wait a bit, though. Support for rigs with Crossifre or SLI is coming, just not today. And for those aching for exclusive fullscreen support, Microsoft insists that it’s not necessary. The article’s FAQ puts it like this:

So, with Windows 10, DirectX 12 games which take up the entire screen perform just as well as the old full screen exclusive mode without any of the full screen exclusive mode disadvantages. This is true for both Win32 and UWP games which use DirectX 12. All of these games can seamlessly alt-tab, run GameDVR, and exhibit normal functionality of a window without any perf degradation vs full screen exclusive.

I’ve dreamed of such functionality. I prefer to run games in borderless windowed mode whenever possible, and that works fine for a lot of games, but for a select few, the impact performance is noticeable, and not just with a lower framerate. Frame pacing and input lag also have a tendency to creep up in some games when they’re put into windowed mode. If Microsoft is taking steps to ensure an more seamless experience for the habitual multitaskers out there, then more power to them. The improvements, however, seem to have more to do with DirectX 12 than the UWP API specifically. So I look forward to seeing better alt-tabbing support across any games running DirectX 12, Win32 or UWP.

The UWP API has met with a lot of skepticism and in a lot cases outright vitriol, but Microsoft is committed to the platform. Win32 is, in a word, aging. And yeah, nobody likes that UWP apps are only available through the Windows 10 store. Microsoft has to realize this themselves. Unless they are truly blind, deaf, and dumb. For the UWP API to see more acceptance (or any at all), they’ll have to start supporting other platforms openly.

The update will be rolling out this month to Windows 10 machines, but if you want to it now, don’t let me stop you.

About Josh Price

Josh Price is a writer who probably spends too many hours of the day playing video games. At some point he decided to put the two together to (hopefully) great effect. He also wrote some fiction. You should check that out if you're into such things, which you should be. Reading is FUNdamental.

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