Microsoft today announced the release of beta version 1 of the Microsoft DirectX 9.0 API, the latest version of Microsoft's suite of multimedia application programming interfaces. Beta 1 features Microsoft's innovative new high-level shader language (HLSL), a powerful new programming model that offers the easiest-to-use graphics creation toolset for developers.
DirectX 9.0 offers unparalleled advances in graphics technology, said Ted Hase, director of Windows Third-Party Gaming and Entertainment at Microsoft. Microsoft always has been a pioneer in the development of best-of-breed technologies and tools that facilitate the development of great gaming content. Developers will discover that the new capabilities built into DirectX 9.0 make it significantly easier to create content that demonstrates richness, robustness and totally immersive depth.
HLSL is based on the C programming language and introduces a developer-friendly programming environment that delivers simplicity and flexibility across the full range of 3-D graphics, from art creation to effects programming. HLSL is seamlessly integrated into and complemented by enhancements to Microsoft's current developer toolset to give developers even more power from an easier-to-use solution. In addition, HLSL is compatible with DirectX-compliant graphics processing units (GPUs), allowing developers to define a similar visual effect for the widest range of graphics hardware.
DirectX 9.0 offers the following new benefits for developers:
-High-level shader language
-library that supports patch meshes and traditional polygonal meshes
-Improved real-time animation capabilities that allow separate animations on the same mesh to be blended
-Enhanced low-level graphics programmability with new programmable vertex and pixel shader 2.0 models in the Direct3D API
-Full integration, including debugging, of new programmable shader models with the Microsoft Visual Studio .NET development system
-Enhanced DirectShow® video rendering hardware acceleration
-A new version of DirectMusic Producer, enabling support for DirectMusic enhancements such as low-latency playback
-New wizards for creating DirectX Media Objects (DMOs) for audio effects and DirectMusic tools for MIDI processing
-Improved DirectPlay performance for multiplayer games
-Availability of DirectPlay for Pocket PC 2002
Microsoft DirectX 9.0 beta 1 is now available at no charge to registered DirectX beta sites (connect-time fees may apply). The final release of the DirectX 9.0 Software Development Kit (SDK) and DirectX 9.0 runtime is scheduled for fall 2002.
Microsoft DirectX is an advanced suite of multimedia APIs built directly into Microsoft Windows operating systems. DirectX provides a standard development platform for Windows-based PCs by enabling software developers to access specialized hardware features without having to write hardware-specific code. DirectX was first introduced in 1995 and is the recognized standard for multimedia application development on the Windows platform.