Microsoft DirectX 7.0 Technology Ignites Enthusiasm at Meltdown 99

SEATTLE, June 9, 1999 — Microsoft® DirectX® 7.0, the new version of the powerful multimedia technology behind the Windows® operating system, was showcased this week before an audience of the game industry’s most discriminating users of DirectX: hardware and software developers.

More than 500 industry experts from around the globe flocked to the Meltdown 99 conference at the Sheraton Hotel in Seattle, June 7-9, to learn about the advanced development tools in DirectX 7.0. The conference is the only industry gathering dedicated to development and compatibility testing for the DirectX application programming interface (API).

“DirectX 7.0 continues to build on the advances made in DirectX 6.0, providing further improvement to performance optimization, greater ease of development, and superior graphics and sound,” said Kevin Bachus, group product manager for DirectX at Microsoft Corp.
“DirectX 7.0 has made great strides in 3-D graphics and sound quality, enabling software developers to create game titles for the Windows platform that more closely mirror reality.”

Without radically altering the infrastructure of DirectX 6.0, the new version of the API offers a number of key additions. Notably, there is increased support for hardware-accelerated transformation and lighting through a dedicated 3-D accelerator, freeing up the CPU for other tasks such as physics calculations or artificial intelligence algorithms. Lifelike visual effects such as reflections in a pool of water or light passing through a stained-glass window are also made possible with DirectX 7.0. Three-dimensional objects and characters appear more seamless and complex, creating a more immersive gaming experience.

Audio effects have also been improved with new software algorithms for 3-D sound and greater flexibility for managing hardware mixing capabilities. DirectX 7.0 provides hardware acceleration for the DirectMusic® application programming interface on supporting sound cards, allowing users to create richer, more complex musical soundtracks. In addition, the new version runs about 20 percent faster than version 6.1, improving overall game performance.

“DirectX provides a common set of instructions and components that allow gaming software to run on just about any Windows-based PC, enabling developers to create cutting-edge software without having to worry about the hardware they’re creating it for,” Bachus said. “Greater ease of development and advanced technology have made the Windows platform popular with developers and gamers alike.”

DirectX was first introduced in 1995 and is now a recognized standard for multimedia application development. DirectX 7.0 is the sixth major release of DirectX and is expected to be available in late summer 1999. New versions of DirectX are distributed to game developers on CD-ROM and can be downloaded from Microsoft’s Web site at .

Microsoft’s development team provided three days of technical content and hands-on workshops with DirectX 7.0 at Meltdown 99, while facilitating round-robin compatibility testing sessions between hardware and software developers.

Meltdown 99 was co-sponsored by NVIDIA, the leading provider of 3-D processors in mainstream and corporate PC markets. NVIDIA’s products deliver leading-edge performance in 3-D as well as 2-D, VGA and digital video. NVIDIA’s processors are optimized for the

Microsoft Direct3D® application programming interface and OpenGL. Meltdown 99 receives additional sponsorship support from 3dfx, ATI Technologies Inc. and Creative Labs Inc.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) 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, Windows, DirectMusic and Direct3D are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries. Other products and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.

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