Special K at its core is a framework that allows various adjustments and tweaks to be applied to a multitude of supported games. In general the tool attempts to find a generic approach to solving common issues and enabling unique features for its users.
The framework traces its origin back to 2015 and attempts to fix and improve the state of Batman: Arkham Knight, Fallout 4, and Tales of Zestiria. Over the years Special K have introduced a number of improvements and fixes for both less known games as well as extremely popular ones, and are often most known for its work on titles such as the Tales of series of games between 2015 and 2017, NieR: Automata in 2017, or Monster Hunter: World in 2018.
In 2018 the framework innovated a general-purpose method of “retrofitting” HDR support for existing Direct3D 11-based SDR games in Windows, a feature that has since continued to evolve and in 2020 was updated to support most D3D11 and D3D12 based games compatible with flip model presentation, including some emulators such as Dolphin and PCSX2.
Special K has a varied and diverse featureset with these being some of its major features:
Special K can also manipulate games in many various minor ways such as locking the cursor to the game window, disabling gamepad input, disabling specific shaders (DX11 only), and much more.
What approach you use to inject Special K into a game depends mostly on your own preference and whether that is compatible with the game or not. Try your preferred approach based on your needs, and if that does not work try the alternate method.
|Global (system-wide)||Local (game-specific)|
|Pros||+ Easier installation and setup
+ Generally better compatibility
+ Supports delayed injecting into already running games
+ No additional files needed in game folder as a central
folder is used for all configuration and logs
|+ Automatic injection on game launch
+ No reliance on the SKIF frontend app
+ No reliance on the global injection service
+ Easy to use a specific version of SK per game
|Cons||- Game must be launched from the SKIF frontend app||- Requires some extra steps setting up|
This is a challenge to answer — in parts because of how Special K’s development sees it jump from game to game on the constant road forward. While a specific game might’ve been fully supported by Special K in the past, a change introduced in a later version as a result of another game might’ve broken that support. That said, new features and changes eventually tend to reach some form of general stability after some 6 months of development or so, at which point most of the glaring issues have been ironed out.
In general the following applies:
Not by itself, however Special K can be combined with dgVoodoo 2 to convert the DirectX 9 game into DirectX 11, which might just allow Special K to retrofit HDR into it.
See HDR Retrofit for DirectX 9 games for more information.
|Operating system||8.1||10, 11|
|System memory (RAM)||512 MB||2 GB|
|Hard disk drive (HDD)||128 MB||512 MB|
|Video card (GPU)||DirectX 9 compatible||DirectX 11 compatible|