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Direct X

Direct3D

Direct3D is designed to enable interactive three-dimensional (3-D) graphics on a computer running Windows. Its mission is to provide device-dependent access to 3-D video-display hardware in a device-independent manner. Simply put, Direct3D is a drawing interface for 3-D hardware.

The Direct3D architecture is based on a virtual 3D rendering engine composed of three separate modules. Each of these modules can be hardware accelerated or emulated in software. Direct3D can be queried to verify which components are currently running under emulation. The three modules are known separately as the transform module, lighting module and the raster module. When used together these elements form the Direct 3D rendering pipeline.

This interaction between applications, Direct3D, and the display adapter is summarized in the following table:

  1. Direct3D detects the 3D hardware capabilities of the underlying display adapter.
  2. Direct3D applications send 3D requests using the Direct3D API. Note that requests can be sent to all 3 Direct3D modules individually or simultaneously, based on the need of the application. If the request can be handled by the 3D features in the display hardware then the Direct3D module passes the call directly to the display driver. Any functionality not provided by the display adapter will be performed in software by one of the Direct3D modules.
  3. Completed Direct3D requests are passed, via the display adapter to a rendering target created by DirectDraw. This target can be any "shape" or texture that applications create using DirectDraw.