Microsoft Ships DirectX 5.0

REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 4, 1997 — Microsoft Corp. today released the final versions of the Microsoft® DirectX® version 5.0 set of APIs, the company’s first unified multimedia system services for the Windows® 95 and Windows NT® operating systems and for Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0. In less than two years, DirectX has become an industry multimedia standard, providing developers with the essential media services for a variety of applications, including content authoring, interactive entertainment, real-time communications and Internet publishing.

DirectX 5.0 is a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) that allows developers of games and other interactive content to access specialized hardware features without having to write hardware-specific code. The new DirectX 5.0 architecture consists of two levels of media services, DirectX foundation for low-level hardware acceleration services and DirectX media for high-level media integration services.

“DirectX 5.0 provides a new generation of multimedia capabilities and performance for Windows,” said Jay Torborg, director of multimedia at Microsoft. “The host of new features in DirectX 5.0 demonstrates Microsoft’s commitment to delivering the richest multimedia services, providing the foundation for next-generation games, multimedia tools and Internet-ready content.”

DirectX 5.0 introduces several new features and reflects Microsoft’s strategy for DirectX of supporting three major business needs of developers: reduced development time, platform scalability for author-once development, and cross-device compatibility.

“With DirectX 5.0, Microsoft is continuing to enhance and refine a critical component of both PC entertainment and emerging business multimedia applications,” said Andy Fischer, vice president of Jon Peddie Associates, a leading consulting firm in the computer graphics industry. “Windows-based entertainment software, authoring tools, new graphics processors, and the move to DirectX as a standardized API set has transformed Windows into an exciting and dynamic new digital media platform.”

New Features of DirectX 5.0

New features in DirectX 5.0 include these:

  • The Direct3D® API offers better image quality, greater features and ease of use by supporting the following:

  • DrawPrimitive services for Direct3D, providing developers with the flexibility to pass polygon information directly to the hardware rather than using execute buffers

  • Progressive meshes and enhanced animations

  • Advanced features of the technology currently code-named “TALISMAN” such as sort-independent anti-aliasing, range-based fog, anisotropic texture filtering and bufferless hidden surface elimination

  • DirectDraw® API support for accelerated graphics port (AGP) new low-resolution modes and MMX optimizations

  • DirectInput® API support for force-feedback devices and a new extensible game controller control panel

  • The DirectPlay® API with Windows NT security, client/server support and lobby client API

  • DirectSound® Capture and Notify APIs, to simplify use of audio streams

  • DirectSound3D support for 3-D audio hardware acceleration

  • DirectX Setup; a database of known configurations that simplifies user setup on all leading hardware. If the user’s hardware is not recognized, DirectX Setup will inform the user of potential conflicts and allow the user to bypass driver installation or revert to the previous configuration after installation is complete.

DirectX 5.0 foundation also includes many new features that will be supported in the next version of Windows and Windows NT 5.0, such as multimonitor support, advanced graphics port AGP support, video port extensions (VPE) support, Universal Serial Bus (USB) audio support and support for USB joysticks.

Performance and Compatibility Tested

In addition to Microsoft’s internal compatibility and performance testing process, DirectX 5.0 has been subjected to intense testing by the industry, including participation in the semiannual Meltdown ’97 event, an intense week of testing, debugging and information sharing about DirectX. More than 100 leading hardware and software companies attended Meltdown events held in both the United States and Japan. These Meltdown sessions for DirectX 5.0 have been conducted this year to ensure that hundreds of titles and an extensive range of hardware will be available by the holiday 1997 selling season.

“With DirectX 5.0, our goal was to deliver a more feature-rich, well-documented and robust set of services for developers,” said Kevin Dallas, group product manager for DirectX at Microsoft. “The DirectX team, with the help of our developers, achieved this goal. The benefit for our developers will be access to advance multimedia features, reduced development and a more compelling experience for consumers.”

Availability

The final version of DirectX 5.0 for Windows 95 is available now on CD-ROM or at Microsoft’s Web site at http://www.microsoft.com/directx/ . DirectX 5.0 for Microsoft Internet Explorer is scheduled to be released with Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.0, and DirectX 5.0 for Windows NT is scheduled to be delivered with Windows NT 5.0

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (NASDAQ
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Microsoft, DirectX, Windows, Windows NT, Direct3D, DirectDraw, DirectInput, DirectPlay and DirectSound 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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