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What Is DirectX?

When Windows NT was first released, all graphics devices, much like other hardware components such as memory, network cards, and so on, were controlled by the kernel, and the response time was much slower than on a MS-DOS machine, where, for example, applications could directly control the display driver. To make up for this, and thus allow high-speed graphics and input devices, DirectX was incorporated into the operating system. Windows XP supports DirectX Version 8, which includes the following components:

  • DirectX Graphics—This combines earlier components known as Microsoft DirectDraw and Microsoft Direct3D into a single component. This simplifies the task of the application developer who creates those wonderful games or other graphics that make Windows XP a great platform for graphic-oriented applications.

  • Direct Audio—This DirectX feature also combines earlier components, Microsoft DirectSound and Microsoft DirectMusic, into a single applications programming interface (API), again making it easier to develop audio applications on the Windows XP platform.

  • Microsoft DirectInput—This feature provides support for a large number of input devices, including full support for force-feedback technology.

  • Microsoft DirectPlay—If you like multiplayer games like those used on the Internet, then this component of DirectX Version 8 will allow you to create cooperative gaming applications that run at very fast rates.

  • Microsoft DirectShow—Windows XP includes many multimedia features, including MovieMaker. This component of DirectX gives Windows XP the capability to capture high-quality audio and video, as well as the functions necessary to give you a high-quality playback experience.

  • Microsoft DirectSetup—Finally, DirectX Version 8 allows for easy installation for all of the DirectX components. Installing multimedia applications has never been simpler.


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