Updated June 17, 1998
Looking for some inside information on the newly released DirectX® 6.0 Beta? The people at Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) have assembled a few key players from the DirectX team to answer your questions. Join us and find out how to take full advantage of the power and features of DirectX 6.0. This online discussion takes place Friday, June 19 from 11:00 A.M. - noon (PDT), 2:00 - 3:00 P.M. (EDT), 6:00 - 7:00 P.M. (GMT). Visit MSDN to join in.
With summer starting to heat up, the DirectX team is once again on the verge of a meltdown . . . Meltdown 98, that is. The premier event for hardware vendors and DirectX title developers interested in compatibility testing and the latest inside info on DirectX, Meltdown convenes for three days beginning on July 14, 1998 in beautiful Burlingame, California. It will feature everything from performance tuning assistance to one-on-one sessions with DirectX team members, technical presentations from the DirectX development team, and, of course, an extensive schedule of compatibility testing. To register, visit the Meltdown Web site.
.2b or not .2b?
There's a new version of the DirectX Media run time, we call it 5.2b. The DirectX Media 5.2b run time supports PAL DVD disks and features improved interactive responsiveness. Better than ever, DirectX Media 5.2b capture capabilities have been enhanced to support a wider range of the WDM streaming class capture hardware that runs under Windows 98 or Windows NT 5.0. Find the new run time bits on our DirectX Media run time download page. For the updated DirectX Media 5.2b SDK, see the DirectX Media SDK download page.
Author once, get 3-D
DirectX goes scalable with Microsoft's licensure of MetaCreations' MetaStream 3-D graphics file format. The integration of the MetaStream file format into DirectX will herald the long-awaited flexibility to author once, and publish both on the Web and the desktop. Read the press release to find out more about the scalable 3-D technology that will send you into another dimension.
Get your gamma going
Tired of seeing your carefully programmed 3-D games lose realism and quality because of monitor-to-monitor gamma variation? Combine the flexibility and power of DirectX 6.0 with Colorific's 3Deep, and you can individually calibrate gamma channels to display the awesome 3-D lighting and shading effects programmed into your game. Visit Colorific's All Things 3Deep page to find out how to get your free 3Deep Developers' Kit.
Microsoft and Sega collaborate on next-generation game machine
Dreamcast, the forthcoming home video game system from Sega, will include an optimized version of Microsoft® Windows CE with integrated DirectX. This provides a flexible, versatile development environment to ease title development and enable cross-platform title compatibility with Windows-based PCs.
Georgia on my mind
It's E3 -- the Electronic Entertainment Expo -- one of the industry's premier showcases for the latest and greatest in digital games. The venue is the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia; festivities begin on May 27 and continue through May 30. You won't want to miss a minute. Be sure to visit the "Best of E3 Partner Pavilion" while you're there. Co-sponsored by Microsoft, along with Creative Labs, Quantum3D, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), and CyberMax Computer, Inc., the Pavilion can be found in the West Exhibit Hall, booth 4420. Check out the happenings at the E3 Web site.
DX for NT? Check your FAQs
Here's a question. How can you take advantage of DirectX 5 to create games for the Windows NT platform? Actually, all you need to do is write for the DirectX 3 interfaces and Voila! you're set. Let the DirectX 3 documentation be your guide. Check out the Frequently Asked Questions in the Related Developer Information area of this Web site; they've been updated to provide you with the details.
Summer camp in 3-D
Summer camp's not just for kids anymore; NVIDIA and Microsoft are sponsoring Direct3D Summer Camp. It's two days of sessions and meetings with the top 3-D minds in the business. And if you go, we're tossing in a free RIVA TNT 3-D processor. We'll be setting up camp in two different locations: you can pitch your tent at the Grand Hyatt in San Francisco on June 11-12 or at the Metropole Hotel in London on June 25-26. See the Direct3D Summer Camp 1998 page for more details.
Please release me . . .
With the Computer Games Developers Conference serving as the perfect backdrop, we were pleased to officially announce the release of the DirectX 6.0 beta version on May 5, 1998. This new version of our groundbreaking set of multimedia APIs will speed development with greater stability, reliability, and consistency. It includes significant enhancements to Direct3D and DirectDraw, and introduces DirectMusic, a new API that delivers high-quality music to the Windows platform. For details on these and other updates and upgrades to DirectX, take a look at the press release we've prepared.
Are the simple beeps and buzzes of yesterday's computer games good enough for your cutting-edge projects? Or are you looking to add audio that has a little more edge to it? What if you could move sound through virtual 3-D space with features like Doppler effects and sound cones? If that's more what you have in mind, you'll want to jump over to the June issue of Microsoft Systems Journal for Jason Clark's excellent article on using DirectSound to add dimensional sound effects to your Windows-based applications.
Bits and pieces: DirectX 5.2 for end users
A while back we released version 5.2 of the Microsoft® DirectX® software development kit (SDK). DirectX 5.2 SDK shipped with some important changes, including an upgraded edition of Microsoft Internet Explorer, the DirectX Media team's latest version of DirectPlay, and more. Now we're pleased to announce the availability of DirectX 5.2 for end users. These end-user bits will ensure that you can take full advantage of the latest multimedia features and innovations made possible by DirectX. To get your copy, head on over to the DirectX User Downloads department.
Our crack team of expert linguists has rendered the DirectX software development kit (SDK) Help files into impeccable Japanese. Up until now, you had to access the Japanese-language version of our site to download a copy. Now, you can get your copy by just heading on over to the Developer Downloads department.
Playing the DirectSound3D API
There's more to creating a great game than just super visuals. You have to know how to make a sound environment that really, well, hums. In "Avoiding a DirectSound3D Disaster," Game Developer writer Rich Warwick tells you what you've got to know to write to the DirectSound3D API. Learn when to go easy with 2-D sound, and when to rock them with 3-D sound in this informative article that tells you the difference between 3-D positional audio, virtualization, and spatialization, and when and how to use them to your advantage.
Two monitors are better than one
One of the great new features supported by DirectX 5.0 is multi-monitor display. Built into Windows 98 and Windows NT 5.0, the "Multimon" feature gives developers incredible opportunities to expand screen real estate in games, presentations, and applications. At Meltdown 97, Microsoft developer Todd Laney delivered a slide presentation that offered a quick overview of Multimon, with tips, traps, and a look at Multimon in DirectX. We've archived Todd's Multimon slide show on the Microsoft Hardware Development site. Be sure to take a look.
Department of related information
We've labored long and hard to create a logical organization for the content we've collected on this Web site, but not everything fits into nice neat categories. Our solution? An odds and ends page. There you'll find things like end user licensing agreements, slide presentations, SDK information, and much, much more. Called the Related Developer Information page, it's sort of like that junk drawer in the kitchen filled with useful stuff that you know will come in handy someday.
It shall be released!
One of the big questions at the recent Meltdown conference was: When will DirectX 6.0 be released? Having presented our crack crew of engineers and programmers with just the right combination of threats and incentives, we can assure you that DirectX 6.0 will be released in July 1998. The new release will offer significant enhancements to Direct3D, running the gamut from A (as in Alpha in Texture Palettes) to Z (for Z-Buffer Clearing). We're also planning on mid-May for a general beta release of DirectX 6.0. Jump over to our press release page for more details.
License to thrill
Okay, so you've created this great new application and you want to distribute DirectX along with it. How much will it cost? What permissions are required? The short answers are "nothing" and "none." If you'd like a few more details, please take a look at our DirectX Licensing FAQ, which answers questions about using and distributing DirectX. And if you'd like to read all the fine print, check out our End User Licensing Agreements (EULAs). In addition to a EULA for the DirectX SDK, we have two new documents: a EULA for the Supplemental Driver Library (DDK), and a EULA for end user usage.
Lighting, the transformation pipeline, and D3D
Two big questions for DirectX developers: 1) How can I apply light sources to my 3D objects?; and 2) how can I best render my 3D models in screen space? Microsoft software engineer Iouri Tarassov has written a couple of white papers that have the answers. The first, "Lighting in Direct3D," explains how to use Direct3D lighting parameters and compute vertex colors. The second, "The Direct3D Transformation Pipeline," offers technical information on the three Direct3D transformations that convert 3D models to pixel coordinates.
The Inside scoop
Bradley Bargen and Peter Donnelly, both members of the Microsoft DirectX team, recently joined forces to create the definitive guide to DirectX. The result is Inside DirectX, an impressive new work that includes 576 pages and a CD-ROM's worth of authoritative information on how DirectX works and the best techniques for incorporating the power of DirectX into your development projects. You'll find it to be an invaluable desktop reference guide and an essential hands-on guided tour. Visit the Inside DirectX page at the Microsoft Press Web site for more information on this great resource.
WinHEC of a great new product
Excite's Computers & Internet section reviews some of the features of DirectX 6.0 demonstrated at the Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in Orlando, Florida. The news is positive according to writer Robert Lemos, who says that Microsoft is "preparing to add a whole new level of interactivity to computer games." See what's new in DirectX 6.0 in Lemos's article, "Playtime: Microsoft's new DirectX aids gamers."
If you're a topnotch DirectX developer with a knack for prose to go with your talent for code, we want to hear from you. We're looking for DirectX programmers who are interested in passing on their knowledge and expertise to peers from the development community. If you have tips and tricks, success stories, or innovative samples that you'd like to share with other DirectX programmers, download a copy of the DirectXperts Submission Packet (71k .zip); it will tell you everything you need to know to become a contributing writer for the DirectX Web site and other DirectX developer publications.
Music to your ears
Nothing adds excitement and atmosphere like music. Now, a groundbreaking set of new tools for creating and integrating high-quality, interactive sound for multimedia applications and content is at hand. We're proud to announce the release of DirectMusic, the newest DirectX technology. DirectMusic will provide both a palette of sounds rich in texture, color, and harmony, and a sophisticated engine with the intelligence to create a compelling sound experience based on real-time interaction. No wonder industry leaders are calling DirectMusic "a truly revolutionary tool for creating interactive music." See our Future Technologies DirectMusic white paper page for more details.
Wondering what all the hoopla is about? Still a bit unclear about what the heck DirectX is?
Simply put, it's a set of technologies built into Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer
that makes it possible for computer users to enjoy games and Web sites that offer the most
advanced multimedia ever. If you're a game player curious to learn more about
how DirectX works
we've created a document that provides a technical (but not too technical)
explanation. And be sure to visit our User Guide
for links to information and downloads that will help you join the DirectX generation.
What's (not so) new
If it's been more than a couple weeks since your last visit, you might
have some catching up to do. We've got an archive of announcements that will help
you out find what you missed.