Following the release of Nvidia's Cascades tech demo and the Lost Planet game demo, users of DirectX 10 graphics cards now have yet another app with which they can test out their cards' capabilities. This time, as Shacknews reports, it's Relic Entertainment that has released a patch introducing DirectX 10 graphical features into its World War 2 strategy game, Company of Heroes. The 1.7.0 patch weighs in at 13MB and can be downloaded here at FileShack. Incidentally, it also makes Company of Heroes the first retail game available today with DirectX 10 support—as far as we can tell, anyway.
Shacknews quotes Relic as saying the DirectX 10 patch brings "improvements to model and map details, lighting, shadows, and overall image quality." If you'd like to see the difference for yourself, the folks at Game Almighty have put together an article that compares image quality and performance between the game's DirectX 9 and DirectX 10 code paths. The DirectX 10 code path indeed appears to make a noticeable difference in image quality, although on a system with a GeForce 8800 GTX graphics card, Game Almighty found that the DirectX 10 path more than halved average frame rates.
Users of Nvidia graphics cards who intend to install this patch are advised to download Nvidia's new ForceWare 158.45 beta graphics drivers. The drivers are available for both Windows Vista x86 and Windows Vista x64, and Nvidia says they bring performance enhancements to the DirectX 10 version of Company of Heroes. Nvidia's release notes don't mention any other changes over the previous ForceWare 158.43 beta release that came out last month, though.
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