REDMOND, Wash., April 2, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the release of the Microsoft® DirectX
foundation version 5.0 beta, an expansion of Microsoft’s low-level multimedia API services. The release of DirectX 5.0 beta signifies Microsoft’s commitment to delivering multimedia API technology that provides developers new opportunities to expand multimedia tools and content in broad markets such as Net publishing, real-time communications and authoring tools development.
The DirectX set of APIs has been expanded to include two distinct layers of service: DirectX foundation, the low-level hardware acceleration services already used extensively in games and entertainment, and DirectX media, a new layer of high-level, cross-platform services that makes it easy for developers to integrate and stream video, audio, 3-D animation and other media types.
“DirectX 5.0 sets a new bar for multimedia,” said Jay Torborg, director of graphics and multimedia, Windows® operating systems division at Microsoft. “With DirectX 5.0, we’ve focused on delivering a product that will be second to none in performance, quality and opportunities for developers including those outside the games market. For the consumer, arcade-quality content for the PC has arrived for both standalone and the new era of Internet-based content.”
The DirectX set of APIs has created a whole industry for content developers and hardware vendors. In 18 months, DirectX has become a standard API for game developers, powering more than 250 games in the 1996 holiday season. DirectX 5.0 will continue to push the envelope with a new generation of functionality and performance required not only by games and entertainment developers, but by developers delivering performance interactive multimedia to authoring tools, real-time communications and the Internet.
Continuing a policy of working closely with developers, Microsoft has defined its DirectX strategy around three clear common developer requirements. These include rapid application development (RAD, enabling significant time reductions in creating multimedia content), author-once content and code (services and file formats that allow content to be scaled to the processing power of the playback device and available bandwidth) and unparalleled access to consumers (the ability to deliver content on a wide range of devices, both PC and specialized).
Improvements and New Features Supporting the DirectX Strategy
DirectX 5.0 has been designed to provide developers with increased levels of scalable performance and services that significantly reduce development time:
Improved 3-D performance through the DrawPrimitive API. A simple yet powerful set of essential primitive-level functions for 3-D drawing, DrawPrimitive offers developers an easy-to-use extension to the Direct3D
API that allows polygon information to be passed directly to the hardware. This eliminates the difficulty of using execution buffers and eases the development of 3-D applications.
Access to new, advanced hardware capabilities. DirectX 5.0 will include access to new hardware capabilities, including multimonitor support; universal serial bus (USB) support for gaming and audio devices; AGP support; MMX optimizations;
3-D sound acceleration; rendering features (code-named “Talisman”) such as anti-aliasing, anisotropic texture filtering and range-based fog; optimized texture support; and force feedback joystick support.
Ease of use for software developers. Developers will find DirectX 5.0 easier to use, through improved documentation sample code, API wrappers for common operations, gaming device support in the DirectInput
API, and full localization in 28 languages.
Improved user experience. With DirectX 5.0, DirectX Setup service vastly improves the driver setup operation, making use of a database of known safe and robust driver upgrades eliminating potential driver incompatibility problems for the consumers.
The beta 1 version of DirectX foundation 5.0 for the Windows 95 operating system is being shipped to over 5,000 developers. Beta 2 is expected to ship in late April.
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