SAN JOSE, Calif., March 8, 2000 — This week at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) 2000, Microsoft Corp. will preview for software developers the next version of its powerful game-development DirectX® application programming interface (API). With sweeping advances in real-time rendered music, photo-realistic graphics and the addition of advanced voice technology, the forthcoming version of Microsoft® DirectX, scheduled to ship in late summer 2000, is expected to enable the creation of game titles that deliver the most sensory, immersive Windows® based gaming experience to date.
To achieve the best multimedia and gaming performance possible on Windows-based PCs, consumers have downloaded the run-time version of DirectX 7.0, the current version of the API, 10 million times since its release in September 1999. Likewise, the DirectX 7.0 Software Development Kit (SDK) has been downloaded more than 950,000 times since its release, demonstrating that independent software vendors have truly embraced Windows as a preferred platform for game development.
"Following the success of DirectX 7.0, the next generation of DirectX will enable developers to create applications with real-time voice communication; complex musical scores; rich, ambient sound; and real-time, photo-realistic graphics," said Ted Hase, group program manager for DirectX at Microsoft. "The most significant advances will be seen in our advanced audio DirectMusic® API and the DirectPlay® networking API."
The next version of DirectX will include substantial improvement in DirectX audio technologies. In response to developer feedback, the DirectSound® and DirectMusic APIs have been combined to create a new unified audio architecture combining the best of both APIs.
"DirectX audio will enable developers, composers and sound designers to deliver motion-picture-quality interactive music and sound effects in games," said Chanel Summers, audio technical evangelist for DirectX at Microsoft. "The next generation of DirectMusic provides real-time services and processing typically used by recording industry professionals."
The DirectMusic synthesizer will be upgraded to support DownLoadable Sounds Level 2 (DLS2), a powerful next-generation technology for music and sound generation. Prerecorded music can be utilized interactively, providing the ultimate combination of sound quality and real-time response to game action.
On the networking side, the DirectPlay API will feature a new scalable architecture for massively multiplayer Internet games. The introduction of DirectPlay Voice, Microsoft's new voice communication API, will allow developers to implement real-time chat in networked games.
"The integration of voice communication into the DirectPlay networking API will make it easy for developers to provide this new functionality to their customers," said Andrew Walker, games technology evangelist for DirectX at Microsoft. "Rather than providing voice communication as a separate application, developers will be able to provide it as a fully featured part of the game."
The new DirectPlay API will give developers full control over voice-communication implementation, allowing them to choose the quality of voice transmission appropriate for the game they are creating. A complete set of voice codecs will be provided to developers free of charge with the next version of the DirectX SDK.
In addition, voice functionality will be made available to existing DirectPlay-based games in the newly enhanced Gaming Options Control Panel in the next version of DirectX.
The latest version of DirectX, DirectX 7.0a, is available for free* consumer download from the DirectX Home User Downloads Web page, at http://www.microsoft.com/directx/ , or by using the Windows Update feature in Windows 98. Likewise, the DirectX SDK can be downloaded and ordered from the DirectX Downloads Web page, at http://msdn.microsoft.com/directx/ .
Microsoft DirectX is an advanced suite of multimedia APIs built into Microsoft Windows operating systems. DirectX provides a standard development platform for Windows-based PCs by enabling software developers to access specialized hardware features without having to write hardware-specific code. DirectX was first introduced in 1995 and is a recognized standard for multimedia application development on the Windows platform.
Microsoft at GDC 2000
At GDC 2000, to be held March 8-12 at the San Jose Convention Center, Microsoft will exhibit its latest product and technology updates, including DirectX, for game developers in the company's Expo booth (booth 1504), present several sessions at the conference, and cosponsor the second annual Independent Games Festival (IGF). The conference also will feature a keynote address by Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates.
Interested parties can obtain additional details about Microsoft's GDC 2000 plans at http://msdn.microsoft.com/events/directx/ . Microsoft's activities at the Game Developers Conference are sponsored in part by NVIDIA Corp.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT" ) is the worldwide leader in software for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software -- any time, any place and on any device.
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