Microsoft Ships DirectX Version 3.0

REDMOND, Wash., Sept. 25, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of the DirectX
™set of APIs, version 3.0, Microsoft’s new foundation for interactive multimedia contact. The release underscores Microsoft’s leadership in interactive multimedia technologies, an exploding new field driven by the popularity of the Internet and the availability of high-performance hardware in the personal computer market. While many other initiatives remain under development and have yet to reach the market, Microsoft® DirectX 3.0 represents a mature technology that continues to build momentum as a worldwide standard.

The DirectX platform is a set of APIs that allows developers of interactive content to access specialized hardware features without having to write hardware-specific code. For these developers, DirectX offers stability and standardization in a constantly changing and unpredictable market. For consumers of games and other interactive content, the result is enhanced realism and interactivity and a wider selection of titles compatible with a broad range of computer hardware.

“The release schedule of DirectX is unprecedented, with DirectX version 3 being completed only four months after the shipment of DirectX version 2,”
said Kevin Dallas, DirectX group product manager at Microsoft.
“The release of DirectX version 3, helped by the preholiday season”
“testing event in August, will deliver true Plug and Play, solving the traditional setup and configuration issues previously experienced by consumers.”

DirectX 3.0 opens a new dimension in gaming by enabling multiplayer online games, 3-D positional sound, and support for new types of input devices and peripherals. DirectX has already garnered broad industry support, as demonstrated by over 300 game titles powered by DirectX, scores of DirectX-compatible hardware add-in cards, and DirectX-enabled consumer PCs, all available for the holiday season.

Comprehensive Solution for Developers

A key advantage of DirectX is the integration of a full range of APIs required for compelling Internet- and CD-ROM-based interactive content. The key facets of multimedia-content creation are 2-D graphics, 3-D graphics, video, sound, input devices and connectivity.

DirectX 3.0 includes the following new components:

  • The DirectPlay


    provides a protocol-independent means for multiplayer game play over online services and the Internet. The DirectPlay Lobby interface allows the creation of
    or online meeting places, where users can gather and assemble groups to play games. DirectPlay provides transparent connectivity to gamers using different service providers.

  • The DirectInput


    offers pollable and event-based real-time input for the mouse and keyboard. Pollable real-time input from joysticks is also supported, as is event-based real-time input, which supports the next generation of digital joysticks based on the universal serial bus (USB).

  • The DirectSound


    features full-duplex audio drivers and a kernel mode mixer, making DirectSound less processor-intensive. The kernel mixer also enables optimal performance of 3-D positional audio, which allows game developers to position audio events at any point in the user’s perceptual space.

  • The DirectDraw


    provides 2-D graphics capabilities and serves as the rendering base for all other video services.

  • The Direct3D


    is a rendering engine for real-time 3-D graphics that integrates both a low-level API for polygon and vertex rendering, and a high-level API for manipulation of complex 3-D scenes. Direct3D now includes an MMX-enabled rasterizer for Intel’s next generation of multimedia-enabled CPUs, as well as a new RAMP color allocation algorithm that improves the visual quality of RAMP rasterization.

Pricing and Availability

The final version of DirectX 3.0 for the Windows® 95 operating system is available now to software developers.

Microsoft will license the necessary run-time components of Direct3D royalty-free on Microsoft operating system platforms, allowing software developers to ship them with their applications.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.

Microsoft, DirectX, DirectPlay, DirectInput, DirectSound, DirectDraw, Direct3D, Windows NT and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.

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