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.
That’s quite challenging to answer as people use it for all sorts of different reasons. Ultimately they have a need that Special K is capable of fulfilling.
Here is but a few of the more common use cases for Special K:
Ultimately people use it for whatever of its toolkit is useful to them. It’s not as if it’s a single-solution/focus tool, so what it is used for comes down to the user.
So people use it for various reasons, and even though one of the features we consider the main ones might not be of interest to all, there is probably some feature or another in the toolkit that a user might end up appreciating and make use of.
It is recommended to use our frontend app to inject Special K into games as the app takes care of everything for you and has the best overall compatibility with games. A separate local injection method is also supported but is not actively developed for nor used so may have various compatibility issues not seen when using the frontend app.
|Advanced (local) (not recommended)
|+ Easier installation and setup
+ Generally better compatibility
+ Supports delayed injecting into already running games
+ No additional files stored in the game folder
+ Frontend app have various other beneficial features and functionality
|+ Easier to use a specific version of Special K per game
|- Requires some extra steps setting up
- Might have lower compatibility with some games
- May not have a working G-Sync indicator in D3D12 games
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 Enable HDR Retrofit for DirectX 9 games for more information.
|System memory (RAM)
|Hard disk drive (HDD)
|Video card (GPU)
|DirectX 9 compatible
|DirectX 11 compatible