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Graphics Event List

Use the Graphics Event List in Visual Studio Graphics Diagnostics to explore the Direct3D events that were recorded while rendering a frame of your game or app.

This is the Graphics Event List window:

A list of events that have "Index" in their name.
Note Note

Starting in Visual Studio 2013 Update 3, the Graphics Diagnostics tool windows are hosted in an independent copy of the Visual Studio shell. This customized shell, called Graphics Analysis, eliminates unnecessary menus and options, but otherwise the graphics event list and workflow are the same as before. For more information about this change, see Graphics Diagnostics Overview.

When you select an event in the event list, it's reflected in the information that's displayed by other Graphics Diagnostics tools; by using the event list in concert with these other tools you can examine a rendering problem in detail to determine its cause. To learn more about how you can solve rendering problems by using the event list together with other Graphics Diagnostic tools, see Graphics Diagnostics Examples.

Using the features of the event list effectively is important for getting around complex frames that might contain thousands of events. To use the event list effectively, choose the view works best for you, use search to filter the event list, follow links to learn more about the Direct3D objects that are associated with an event, and use the arrow buttons to move between draw calls quickly.

The event list supports two different views that organize graphics events in different ways to support your workflow and preferences. The first view is the draw calls view which organizes events and their associated state hierarchically. The second view is the timeline view which organizes events chronologically, in a flat list.

The Draw Calls view

Displays captured events and their state in a hierarchy. The top level of the hierarchy is made up of events such as draw calls, clears, present, and those dealing with views. In the event list, you can expand draw calls to display the device state that was current at the time of the draw call; and you can further expand each kind of state to display the events that set their values. At this level, you can also see whether a particular state was set in a previous frame, or if it has been set more than once since the last draw call.

The Timeline view

Displays each captured event in chronological order. This way of organizing the event list is the same as in previous versions of Visual Studio.

To change the event list view mode

  • In the Graphics Event List window, above the list of events, locate the View dropdown and chose either the Timeline view or the Draw calls view.

You can use the Search box—located in the upper-right corner of the Graphics Event List window—to filter the events list to include only events whose names contain specific keywords. You can specify single keywords like Vertex—as shown in the previous illustration—or multiple keywords by using a semicolon-delimited list like Draw;Primitive—which matches events that have either Draw or Primitive in their names. Searches are sensitive to whitespace—for example, VSSet and VS Set are different searches—so make sure to form searches carefully.

Because examining Draw calls is especially important, you can use the Go to the next draw call and Go to the previous draw call buttons—located in the upper-left corner of the Graphics Event List window—to find and move between draw calls quickly.

To understand certain graphics events, you might need additional information about the current device state or Direct3D objects that are referenced by the event. Many events provide links to this information that you can follow for more detail.

The events that are displayed in the event list are organized into four categories: general events, draw events, user-defined event groups, and user-defined event markers. Except for general events, each event is displayed together with an icon that indicates the category that it belongs to.

Icon

Event description

(no icon)

General event

Any event which is not a user-defined event, user-defined event group, or draw event.

The draw event icon

Draw event

Marks a draw event that occurred during the captured frame.

The user-defined event marker icon

User-defined event group

Groups related events, as defined by the app.

The user-defined event marker icon

User-defined event marker

Marks a specific location, as defined by the app.

User-defined events are specific to your app. You can use them to correlate significant events that occur in your app with events in the Graphics Event List. For example, you can create user-defined event groups to organize related events—such as those that render your user interface—into groups or hierarchies so that you can browse the event list more easily, or you can create markers when a certain kinds of objects are drawn so that you can easily find their graphics events in the event list.

To create groups and markers in your app, you use the same APIs that Direct3D provides for use by other Direct3D debugging tools. The table below summarizes the APIs that you can use to create groups and markers in different versions of Direct3D.

API Description

ID3D11DeviceContext2 (Direct3D 11.2)

ID3DUserDefinedAnnotation (Direct3D 11.1)

D3DPerf_ API family (Direct3D 11.0 and earlier)

Begin an event group

BeginEventInt

BeginEvent

D3DPerf_BeginEvent

End an event group

EndEventInt

EndEvent

D3DPerf_EndEvent

Create an event marker

SetMarkerInt

SetMarker

D3DPerf_SetMarker

You can use any of these APIs that your version of Direct3D supports—for example, if you are targeting the Direct3D 11.1 API, you can use either SetMarker or D3DPerf_SetMarker to create an event marker, but not SetMarkerInt because its only available in Direct3D 11.2—and you can even mix those that support different versions of Direct3D together in the same app.

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