REDMOND, Wash., September 22, 1999 — Microsoft today announced the availability of the DirectX 7.0 Application Programming Interface (API), a set of tools that helps developers to create cutting-edge multimedia applications. By simplifying the process of developing three-dimensional graphics, sound effects, hardware support and other multimedia features, DirectX 7.0 allows developers to concentrate on what they do best — making high-quality, engaging software. To better understand the benefits DirectX 7.0 offers to software developers, PressPass spoke with Jason White from the DirectX team.
PressPass: What is DirectX?
White : DirectX is an advanced multimedia Application Programming Interface (API) built into Microsoft Windows operating systems. What it does is provide software developers with quick, transparent access to a broad range of peripherals, including graphics cards, audio adapters and input devices. With DirectX, developers can get access to specialized hardware and multimedia functionality, allowing them to concentrate on building creative multimedia applications without worrying about writing hardware-specific code.
PressPass : What improvements have been made in the new version of DirectX?
White : The new version has improved 3D graphics and sound, faster performance and greater ease of development. Most notably, it provides increased support for hardware-accelerated transformation and lighting through a dedicated 3D processor, which improves graphics performance, freeing up the CPU for other tasks like physics calculations or artificial intelligence. For game developers, who want fast graphics performance, this is particularly exciting.
DirectX 7.0 also features hardware acceleration and improved 3D sound algorithms, which give developers the power to create richer, more complex musical soundtracks.
PressPass : Does this mean that we’ll see better games as a result?
White : Absolutely. Gamers will see a significant performance improvement in titles where the game developer has made optimal use of the DirectX 7.0 API. Software developed specifically for DirectX 7.0 will be faster, more scalable and more robust and will work on a wider range of hardware than ever before.
PressPass : What else is Microsoft doing to support multimedia developers?
White : Microsoft provides a number of excellent resources to developers. The primary resource is, of course, the DirectX Web site (http://www.microsoft.com/directx/developer/), which offers a wide range of services from online chats about development issues to developer mailing lists. Microsoft also conducts a wide range of educational programs like “Meltdown” developer conferences, advanced education classes and hands-on training sessions to keep the development community work efficiently.
PressPass : How can developers get a copy of the DirectX 7.0 Software Developer Kit?
White : They can order it from the DirectX Developer Downloads Web page at http://www.microsoft.com/directx/developer/downloads/default.asp. If they are MSDN Universal Subscribers, they will receive the latest SDK automatically. In addition, DirectX beta program members will automatically receive both the beta and final versions of the SDK as they become available.
PressPass : How can consumers install the latest version of DirectX on their home computers?
White : Consumers can upgrade to DirectX 7.0 by using the Windows Update feature in Windows 98. The latest version of DirectX is always available for download from the DirectX Home User Web page. (http://www.microsoft.com/directx/homeuser/downloads/)