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MSDN Home > MSJ > October 1999
October 1999

Microsoft Systems Journal Homepage

Editor's Note

In early 1999, three authors disappeared in the technology woods near Redmond, Washington, while writing articles.
A year later their content was found.
Yes, fans, it's time for MSJ's annual Halloween editor's note! One sweet prize in your candy sack this year will be DirectX for Visual Basic, slated to ship in the
X
DirectX 7.0 SDK. You read correctly. The scary world of DirectX will no longer be the just realm of Visual C++ programmers.
Underneath the gooey goodness of DirectX for Visual Basic is a chewy DLL center. This DLL will ease the translation between Visual Basic and the DirectX runtime. The DirectX functionality is made Visual Basic-friendly via exposed types while remaining true to the C-based origins of the DirectX objects. Another layer of code between your game and the video hardware? Our faith is strong that the Microsoft engineers are also concerned about this; we'll still be watching closely.
MSJ's DirectX coverage has hopefully prepared you well for DirectX for Visual Basic. Many of the DirectX favorites are supported. DirectDraw will yield access to the video hardware, provide image manipulation, and allow for transparent BLTs. To handle the thousands of triangles comprising your 3D objects, you'll be using Direct3D Immediate Mode. Direct3D Retained Mode will be used to create/load, view/edit, and animate your 3D geometry. What game would be complete without access to the keyboard, mouse, joystick, and other USB devices? Here, DirectInput will be the choice. To hook up multiple players across the network, use DirectPlay. Rounding out your Visual Basic-based game will be audio support from both DirectSound and DirectMusic. DirectSound will be used to record, mix, and edit your audio, while DirectMusic keeps your game rocking.
To assist in the creation of the next Sundance award winner, DirectX for Visual Basic will arrive complete with samples, tutorials, and helper controls. Among these controls are DXSound, RMCanvas, IMCanvas,DDCanvas, and DDSurface. No, Microsoft program managers were not cursing the entire town here, so don't let the choices instill fear into your souls. What could be more Visual Basic than passing a WAV file name to the DXSound control, which also does sound mixing using multiple instances? Set up that eerie scene with RMCanvas. IMCanvas handles the initialization of DirectDraw, Direct3D, and Direct3DDevice. Just use the device and start the triangle party.
In addition to the accompanying Visual Basic-centric help reference and sample controls, stay tuned to our pages and MSDN for the latest scoop. http://www.microsoft.com/directx/developer/information/vb.asp will also have more on DirectX for Visual Basic.
If you're looking for something not so frightful, plan to attend DevDays '99. Bill Gates's keynote will give us his perspective on Windows 2000, future versions, and most importantly the Microsoft commitment to your satisfaction. You'll learn application development tricks for Windows 2000 and be treated to the latest prerelease build of the OS. Topics such as application compatibility and testing, the Windows Installer Service, and security and directory services will also be covered. It's coming September 15th to a theater near you (http://msdn.microsoft.com/events/devdays).
And please, for the sake of our weak stomachs (we can only tolerate two minutes of those first-person games—on a belly full of candy, we'll become the inspiration for the DXVirtualHurl control), keep those Direct3D cameras steady.
J.F.


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