What is DirectX?

DirectX is comprised of application programming interfaces (APIs) that are grouped into two classes: the DirectX Foundation layer, and the DirectX Media layer. These APIs enable programs to directly access many of your computer’s hardware devices.

What is DirectDraw?

The Microsoft DirectDraw API supports extremely fast, direct access to the accelerated hardware capabilities of a computer’s video adapter. It supports standard methods of displaying graphics on all video adapters, and faster, more direct access when using accelerated drivers. DirectDraw provides a device-independent way for programs, such as games and two-dimensional (2-D) graphics packages, and Windows system components, such as digital video codecs, to gain access to the features of specific display devices without requiring any additional information from the user about the device’s capabilities.

What is Direct3D immediate mode?

The Microsoft Direct3D Immediate Mode API (Direct3D) provides an interface to the 3-D rendering functions built into most new video cards. Direct3D is a low-level 3-D API that provides a device-independent way for applications to communicate with accelerator hardware efficiently and powerfully.

Direct3D provides application developers with many advanced features, such as:

Switchable depth buffering (using z-buffers or w-buffers)
Flat and Gouraud shading
Multiple lights and light types
Full material and texture support
Robust software emulation drivers
Transformation and clipping
Hardware independence
Full hardware acceleration on Windows 2000 (when the appropriate device drivers are available)
Built-in support for the specialized CPU instruction sets, including Intel’s MMX and Pentium III architectures, and the 3DNow! architecture

What is DirectSound?

The Microsoft DirectSound API provides a link between programs and an audio adapter’s sound mixing and playback capabilities. It also enables wave sound capture and playback. DirectSound provides multimedia applications with low-latency mixing, hardware acceleration, and direct access to the sound device. It provides this feature while maintaining compatibility with existing device drivers.

What is DirectMusic?

The Microsoft DirectMusic API is the musical component of DirectX. Unlike the DirectSound API, which captures and plays digital sound samples, DirectMusic works with message-based musical data that is converted to digital audio either by your sound card or by its built-in software synthesizer. As well as supporting input in Musical Instrument Digital Interface (MIDI) format, DirectMusic provides application developers the ability to create immersive, dynamic soundtracks that respond to user input.

What is DirectInput?

The Microsoft DirectInput API provides advanced input for games and processes input from joysticks as well as other related devices including the mouse, keyboard, and other game controllers, such as force-feedback game controllers.

What is DirectX Media?

The DirectX Media layer works with the DirectX Foundation layer to provide high-level services that support animation, media streaming (transmission and viewing of audio and video as it is downloaded over the Internet), and interactivity.

What is Direct3D retained mode?

The Microsoft Direct3D Retained Mode API provides higher-level support for advanced, real-time, three-dimensional (3-D) graphics. Direct3D Retained Mode provides built-in support for graphics techniques like hierarchies and animation. Direct3D Retained Mode is built on top of Direct3D Immediate Mode.

What is DirectAnimation?

The Microsoft DirectAnimation API provides integration and animation for different types of media, such as two-dimensional images, three-dimensional objects, sounds, movies, text, and vector graphics.

What is DirectPlay?

The Microsoft DirectPlay API supports game connections over a modem, the Internet, or LAN. DirectPlay simplifies access to communication services and provides a way for games to communicate with each other, independent of the underlying protocol, or online service.

What is DirectShow?

The Microsoft DirectShow API plays multimedia files located in local files or on Internet servers, and captures multimedia streams from devices, such as video capture cards. DirectShow plays video and audio content compressed in various formats, including MPEG, audio-video interleaved (AVI), and WAV.

What is Microsoft DirectX Transform?

The Microsoft DirectX Transform API enables application developers to create, animate, and edit digital images. DirectX Transform works with both two-dimensional (2-D) images and three-dimensional (3-D) images, which can be used to create stand-alone programs or dynamic plug-ins for Web graphics.