Thursday, September 19, 2013

At last! Chrome D3D11 day has come!

As of revision 223716, Chrome Canary will have the ability to use Direct3D 11 (via ANGLE) as the rendering backend! Woot woot! The new backend can be enabled using the "Enable D3D11" flag in about:flags. To tell which backend you are using visit about:gpu and look for the GL_RENDERER string.

That's cool, but should have no impact whatsoever on your day to day Chrome use (and if it does, we want to hear about it!) So why do I bring it up? Because along with the shiny new backend comes a much awaited WebGL feature: Multiple render targets! This extension has been available to Mac and Linux devs for a little while now (it's still behind the Draft Extensions flag), but had some spec issues that prevented it from being implemented in the ANGLE D3D9 backend. Now with the new D3D11-based backend the extension should be available to a much wider range of developers.

(Want to know if you have it? Look for "WEBGL_draw_buffers" in the supported extensions list on

So go, brave WebGL developers, and defer all your renderings for great justice!

[UPDATE: I initially said that the D3D11 backend may be enabled by default on some systems. Unfortunately that's not the case just yet, and I apologize for the error.]