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Microsoft revealed a new feature for DirectX 11.2 and Windows 8.1 today called “tiled resources” that enables a graphics card to display a huge amount of detail without overwhelming it with memory-intensive textures.

Tiled resources automatically swaps in the details whenever a gamer is looking closely at it. This should enable developers to pack in tons of lifelike textures. This functionality is only available on Windows 8.1 and next-gen consoles.

“The motivation for doing something like this is to enable you to make games with unprecedented amounts of detail,” Microsoft vice president of Windows Antoine Leblond said in a presentation at the company’s Build conference today in San Francisco.

Leblond demonstrated this technology using a map of Mars that was blurry whenever he zoomed into the landscape. He then turned on tiled resources, which made the minutiae of the surface of Mars pop with crispness.

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In a different demo, Leblond zoomed in on a glider to show its rivets and dirt smudges.

This feature should improve visual performance on any PC running Windows 8.1, and it is something developers will have access to on Xbox One.

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