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Microsoft Rolls Out DirectX 9.0 Beta

Microsoft Corp. announced the beta release of the latest version of its DirectX suite of multimedia application programming interfaces used by many video-game developers.

The beta 1 version of Microsoft DirectX 9.0 features new high-level shader language (HLSL) as well as a new graphics toolset.

"DirectX 9.0 offers unparalleled advances in graphics technology," Ted Hase, Microsoft's director of Windows Third-Party Gaming and Programming, said in a statement. "Developers will discover the new capabilities built into DirectX 9.0 make it significantly easier to create content that demonstrates richness, robustness and totally immersive depth."

DirectX 9.0 beta 1 is available for free to registered DirectX 9.0 beta sites, while the final release of the DirectX 9.0 software development kit and DirectX 9.0 runtime is due for this fall.

In addition to the new HLSL, which helps developers deploy a range of 3-D graphics, the beta version also boasts:

  • A library supporting patch meshes and traditional polygonal meshes
  • Real-time animation allowing the blending of separate animations on the same mesh
  • Improved low-level graphics programmability
  • Integration of the new shader models with Visual Studio
  • A new version of DirectMusic Producer
  • New wizards to create direct management objects
  • Availability of DirectPlay for the PocketPC 2002

DirectX, which debuted in 1995, is a suite of Windows-based multimedia APIs that allows programmers access to specialized hardware features without knowing hardware-specific code.