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Direct X

Versions of DirectX

There have been six versions of DirectX. Some were very minor updates to the DirectX API set. Following is a list of Microsoft products and the version of DirectX that they install. Note that not all of the versions of DirectX are listed here. Some versions were only provided by 3rd party game applications.

Overview - DirectX Versions

DirectX 1.0 (version 4.02.0095) provided:

  • DirectDraw
  • DirectSound
  • DirectPlay
  • DirectSetup
  • AutoPlay

DirectX 2.0 was shipped only with a few 3rd party applications.

DirectX 2.0a (version 4.03.00.1096) added:

  • Direct3D

DirectX 3.0/3.0a (version 4.04.00.0068 or 0069 - a mix of these numbers is acceptable) added:

  • DirectInput
  • Updated Dxsetup.exe utility -- can "restore" audio or display driver separately
  • Updated Joystick Control Panel applet. It also includes updated Virtual Math Coprocessor Device files.

DirectX 4.0 never shipped.

DirectX 5.0 (version 4.05.00.0155) added:

  • DirectInput "force feedback" device support
  • Smarter DirectSetup -- now before updating drivers, will suggest, recommend or advise.

DirectX 6.0 is composed of the following five components:

  • Direct3D is used for 3-dimensional rendering.
    • Significantly faster performance due to overall improvements in the run-time components of Direct3D.
    • A completely rewritten geometry engine, which is responsible for transforming and lighting operations and includes processor-specific performance optimizations that take advantage of features in the latest generation of processors.
    • All-new software rasterizers, which enable developers to compare the visual quality of output on 3-D hardware accelerators to a reference standard.
    • Support for many new hardware features, including single-pass multitexturing, bump mapping, texture compression, stencil buffers, w-buffers and much more.
  • DirectPlay is used for multi-player gaming.
    • New lobbying services.
    • Support for firewalls.
  • DirectDraw is used for onscreen graphics.
    • Performance optimizations.
  • DirectSound is used for audio playback.
    • Performance optimizations for MMX technology in Microsoft Windows 95.
    • NOTE: These performance optimizations are already included in Microsoft Windows 98.
  • DirectInput is used for input device support.
    • There are no new DirectInput features in DirectX 6.0.

DirectX 6.1 is the version shipping with Windows 98 SE. 6.1 is composed of the following six components:

  • Direct3D (used for 3-dimensional rendering)
    • Improved performance of DX5 RAMP rasterizer.
    • Improved support for video memory vertex buffers.
    • Improved support for PowerVR usage of Clear2.
    • Drivers implementing ValidateDevice can now consider texture format if required.
    • Directional and Spot light types now operate correctly on Pentium II computers.
    • Multitexture stage counting is now more accurate.
    • Ramp rasterizer now uses blue channel for gray-scale instead of averaging. This is for compatibility with earlier releases.
    • Vertex fog now works with SPECULARENABLE set to false.
    • 16-Bit ramp rasterizer now supports COPY mode.
    • New cap bit for textures which are not powers of two.
  • DirectPlay (used for multi-player gaming)
    • The serial service provider could attempt to send multiple blocks of data simultaneously, which could cause the connection to be lost. Now access is serialized.
    • If a client was dropped from a session ungracefully and someone else tried to join the game before the host timed out that player, all subsequent joins would fail. Now joins succeed again once the host completely times out all players.
  • DirectDraw (used for screen graphics)
    • Enables AGP Command Buffers.
    • ModeX fixed for AGP computers.
  • DirectSound (used for audio playback)
    • No new DirectSound features are included in DirectX 6.1
  • DirectInput (used for input device support)
    • No new DirectInput features are included in DirectX 6.1.
  • DirectMusic (used for message-based musical data)
    • Several new DirectMusic components.

DirectX 7.0 delivers fast performance for DirectX-enabled games and other rich media software programs and provides support for the latest generation of 3-D graphics acceleration hardware.

System Requirements
  • This distribution is for Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows 98 only. It does not work on Windows NT. DirectX 7.0 will be included in the forthcoming release of Microsoft Windows 2000. In the interim, you can download SP5 service pack, which includes DirectX 3 for Windows NT 4.0.
  • The DirectX installation process will require approximately 50 MB of free space on your hard drive. After installation, the DirectX download will take approximately 15 MB of hard drive space.
  • If you have an earlier version of DirectX installed on your system you will see little difference in available space on your hard drive since DirectX 7.0 will overwrite the earlier version.
  • NOTICE: After installation, the DirectX 7.0 run time cannot be uninstalled because it changes core components and makes numerous registry changes within your operating system.

MORE INFORMATION

DirectX 7.0 is composed of the following six components:

  • Direct3D (used for 3-dimensional rendering)
  • DirectDraw (used for screen graphics)
  • DirectSound (used for audio playback)
  • DirectPlay (used for multi-player gaming)
  • DirectInput (used for input device support)
  • DirectMusic (used for message-based musical data)
The following new features are included in DirectX 7.0.

New Direct3D features include:

  • Hardware-accelerated transformation and lighting: Direct3D can now take advantage of 3-D accelerators to accelerate transformation and lighting operations in hardware devices.


  • Environment mapping with cubic environment maps: Direct3D and DirectDraw now support a special type of texture map used in environment mapping, called a cubic environment map. Cubic environment mapping involves the use of a six-sided texture that can contain images to be applied to objects in a scene. Cubic environment maps provide realistic environment mapping in programs.


  • Geometry Blending: Programs that use the Direct3D geometry pipeline can take advantage of new support for geometry blending. Geometry blending can be used to perform "skinning" effects to increase the realism of segmented objects in a scene, especially characters.


  • Device-state blocks: Programs that target the new IDirect3DDevice7 interface can take advantage of its support for programmable sets of state changes, called state blocks. State blocks make it possible for a Direct3D program to record common sequences of device state changes into a construct that has a unique identifier, or block handle. Programs can use the block handle to execute previously recorded state blocks in a single method call. Besides minimizing the calls required to change device states, state blocks enable devices to cache precompiled sets of state changes for optimal execution, often resulting in improved performance.


  • Improved texture management: The Direct3D texture manager has been expanded to allow programs to prioritize managed textures. Direct3D uses texture priorities to determine which textures to keep in memory, and which to remove.


  • Enhanced software emulation: Direct3D has been optimized to use any special instructions supported by the CPU. Supported instruction sets include the AMD 3D-Now! instruction set on some AMD processors and the MMX instruction set supported by many Intel processors. Where available, Direct3D utilizes the 3D-Now! instruction set to accelerate transformation and lighting operations and the MMX instruction set to accelerate rasterization. Programs that use the Direct3D transformation and lighting pipeline with software devices automatically benefit from this feature.


New DirectDraw features include:

  • DirectDraw stereo support has been added for active devices.


New DirectSound features include:

  • Improved hardware voice management.


  • New 3-D audio processing algorithms result in better CPU utilization.


New DirectPlay features include:

  • Ripple launching is provided for Microsoft DirectPlay lobbied programs.


New DirectInput features include:

  • Microsoft DirectInput now supports up to eight mouse buttons, exclusive access to the keyboard, and delayed start for force-feedback effects.


New DirectMusic features include:

  • Microsoft DirectMusic supports the Downloadable Sounds level 2 standard.


DirectX 7.0a is an update to DirectX 7.0, which provides improved force feedback performance and the best compatibility with today's input devices.

System Requirements
  • This distribution is for Microsoft Windows 95 and Windows 98 only. It is not required on Windows NT platforms, including the forthcoming release of Microsoft Windows 2000.
  • The DirectX installation process will require approximately 50 MB of free space on your hard drive. After installation, the DirectX download will take approximately 15 MB of hard drive space.
  • If you have an earlier version of DirectX installed on your system you will see little difference in available space on your hard drive since DirectX 7.0a will overwrite the earlier version.
  • NOTICE: After installation, the DirectX 7.0a run time cannot be uninstalled because it changes core components and makes numerous registry changes within your operating system.

MORE INFORMATION

DirectInput Run-Time and Redistributable Update

After Microsoft DirectX 7.0 was released, problems were discovered which affected some titles' compatibility with Universal Serial Device (USB) gaming devices. The DirectInput component had flaws that caused legacy interfaces to act slightly differently than in previous releases. Although the differences are small, a few legacy programs no longer functioned properly.

Due to these issues, Microsoft has updated the DirectInput component and repackaged the DirectX redistributable files.

Specifically, updates were made in the following areas:
  • USB device compatibility is improved.


  • USB device configuration persistence is withheld across restarts, and configuration data is produced more accurately.


  • Legacy programs are not able to receive exclusive keyboard access (only DirectX 7.0 programs should be able to do this).


  • Force feedback performance is improved.