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DirectX 8.1, 8.0a and 8 New Features & Improvements

DirectX 8.1:

DirectX 8.1 shipped as an integral part of Windows XP and is available for all versions of Windows 98, Windows ME and Windows 2000. Developers choosing to support Windows 95 should continue to use DirectX 8.0a.

DirectX 8.1 includes all of the previous DirectX 8.0 functionality as well as new DirectX graphics features and new DirectShow features specific to Windows XP.

DirectX 8.1 graphics supports the following new features:

  • new pixel shader models 1.2, 1.3, and 1.4
  • new high precision texture formats
  • new nPatch quadratic interpolation order
  • new dynamic texture support
  • new D3DX methods
  • updated DirectX graphics documentation

There have been considerable improvements made to the DirectShow content for the DirectX 8.1 SDK. These improvements include updating existing samples, adding many new samples (including Windows XP samples), providing modified source code for the sampleGrabber, and improving documentation. See the DirectShow section below for more specific information.

The SDK contains several new tools, they include:

  • screensaver framework
  • AppWizard support
  • DX error lookup tool
  • MView mesh viewer
  • DP8sim network simulator

This DirectX 8.1 version of DirectMusic Producer sports a number of new features to streamline the authoring process for composers and sound designers. Some of these features include low enough software synthesizer latency to input musical performances from a keyboard in real time (WDM driver required), easier wave capture, and improved DLS/wave editing features like one-click stereo wave insert, insert silence and a resample wave option. Segment Designer features include multiple wave insert as segments, the ability to edit segment length based on clocktime, and ability to start and stop segments while editing DMO effects. Other improvements include many bug fixes, an improved look to segment strips and customizable wallpaper. Documentation has been thoroughly revamped and a new tutorial with a sample game is also available.

DirectX 8.0a Information:

DirectX 8.0a contains updates for issues with international installs on Windows 2000 and issues where input devices could have buttons disabled that were enabled with previous DirectX releases. There are no other changes.

DirectX 8.0:

There are many new features in DirectX 8 that makes this a worthwhile upgrade.

  • Consolidated interfaces for DirectDraw® and Direct3D® simplify application development and improve performance.
  • Improved graphics authoring tool integration eases development of optimal 3-D characters and environments.
  • Vertex shaders and pixel shaders improve image realism.
  • Consolidated DirectSound® and DirectMusic® interfaces simplify application development.
  • DLS2 audio synthesis support improves instrument realism.
  • DirectInput® device mapping provides simplified device support.
  • DirectPlay® performance and scalability for massively multiplayer games has been improved.
  • DirectPlay IP voice communication support is provided.
  • DirectShow® Editing Services APIs provide real-time compositing and editing of audio/video timelines.
  • DirectShow supports reading and writing Windows Media™ Audio and Video (WMA and WMV).
  • Microsoft TV Technologies support digital television.


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