Microsoft Outlines Development of New DirectSound 3D HAL

REDMOND, Wash., Nov. 14, 1996 — Microsoft Corp. today announced that more than 27 of the industry’s leading audio independent hardware vendors (IHVs) attended a review of Microsoft® DirectSound® 3D version 5 in Redmond on Oct. 31, conducted as part of a Microsoft-sponsored future audio architecture review. The session was held in response to an industry request by the Interactive Audio Special Interest Group (IA-SIG) for Microsoft to disclose preliminary plans for its DirectX
APIs hardware abstraction layer (HAL), providing hardware vendors with a common API for developing accelerated 3-D PC sound products.

Today’s announcement is the result of key audio IHVs and representatives of the IA-SIG and its Three Dimensional Working Group (3DWG) having voiced their support for Microsoft’s audio strategy and for DirectSound 3D 5 as a foundation for enabling advances in the 3-D PC audio standards process.

Microsoft also announced that it has opened all parameters of the DirectSound 3D 5 specification to IHVs, encouraging a joint development effort that will further the industrywide goal of sophisticated, consistent-sounding 3-D audio playback.

“By providing the members of the IA-SIG an opportunity to participate in the design review of DirectSound 3D 5, Microsoft has opened its upcoming API to constructive industry input,”
said Conrad Maxwell, chairman of the IA-SIG 3DWG.
“The result of our working meeting will strengthen DirectSound 3D 5 as a powerful API, enabling developers of advanced audio technology to deliver value-added products that maximize the consumer experience.”

We are extremely excited that Microsoft has opened the positional HAL for
DirectSound 3D 5,”
said Jacob Hawley, audio program manager at Creative Labs Inc.
“DirectSound 3D represents a key component of our long-term audio strategy, and we are eager to begin working with Microsoft and the review committee to build a valuable standard for the entire industry.”

DirectSound 3D: The Newest Member of the DirectX APIs

3-D PC audio (including 3-D positional sound effects) is one of today’s most exciting advancements for games and multimedia, promising to take the consumer PC audio experience from a passive to a more realistic, interactive one. DirectSound 3D is the newest member of the DirectX APIs an easy-to-use, broadly supported set of APIs that allow 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 market. For consumers of games and other interactive content, the result is enhanced realism and interactivity, a wider selection of titles compatible with a broad range of computer hardware, and lower costs enabling true plug-and-play power. The DirectX family also includes the DirectDraw® , Direct3D
, DirectSound, DirectInput
™and DirectPlay® APIs.

“Audio is one of the most powerful components of the multimedia experience, and DirectSound 3D represents a key element in Microsoft’s effort to bring the most sophisticated sound to Windows® and Microsoft Internet Explorer,”
said Kevin Dallas, DirectX group product manager at Microsoft.

“By inviting IHVs to participate in the creation of the API, Microsoft has demonstrated its commitment to an open development process, delivering exceptional technology that benefits hardware manufacturers, software ISVs and end users alike,”
Dallas added.

DirectSound 3D API Availability

The DirectSound 3D hardware emulation layer (HEL) was released with DirectX 3.0 in September 1996. Developers can download DirectX 3.0 from the Internet on the Microsoft interactive media technologies Web site at . Microsoft plans to release DirectSound 3D 5 including the new DirectSound 3D HAL in the next release of DirectX, version 5, scheduled to ship in June 1997.

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

Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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