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The People Behind DirectX 10 352

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the behind-the-curtain dept.
ThinSkin writes "In the first of a three-part series covering the people behind the new DirectX 10, ExtremeTech interviews Microsoft's David Blythe and Chris Donahue to discuss the development, decisions, and future of the new API. They answer several questions such as how different it will be than DX9, why it will only be for Vista (and not for XP), and when we might be able to see it."
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The People Behind DirectX 10

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  • by mi (197448) <slashdot-2012@virtual-estates.net> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:37AM (#15618749) Homepage
    It better not be called "X11"...
  • Duh (Score:5, Funny)

    by csplinter (734017) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:45AM (#15618780) Journal
    "questions such as how different it will be than DX9, why it will only be for Vista (and not for XP)"

    Oh... I don't know... It couldn't be so people will buy vista.
    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:53AM (#15618814)
      This is going to be an annoying flamewar on Microsoft by a bunch of people who didn't RTFA.

      I was about to comment as well on how Microsoft just wanted to force people to upgrade, but read the article and you can see it was the driver model of the older systems that was the problem. Microsoft took the Apple approach of making things better instead of sticking to the broke, buggy design of Windows that all of you seem love(I am talking about the 97% of you). Honestly, this falls right in line with all the news about Vista(driver and kernel re-designs)

      So, to re-cap... The designers chose to not be hindered by the older design decisions and to look towards the future.
      • Re:Duh (Score:2, Interesting)

        by csplinter (734017)
        Call me anti-Microsoft, fanboy, zealot if you will but, I find it seriously hard to believe that they were having trouble getting DirectX 10 to work at a decent speed on Xp, an operationg system that hogs probably half as many resources as Vista will. Theres no reason given in the article why it should run faster on Vista it just says there is one.
        • Re:Duh (Score:5, Informative)

          by Utopia (149375) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:11AM (#15618902)
          It says right in the article that DX10 supports the new Vista driver model (which has user mode execution etc.)
          Porting it to XP would means having support XP's driver model as well.

          Supporting two different driver model means more complexity and less things added to DX10 in the same timeframe.
          • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

            by csplinter (734017) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:15AM (#15618917) Journal
            "Supporting two different driver model means more complexity and less things added to DX10 in the same timeframe."

            Yes but, I don't really consider time frame a "technical reason" as far as this goes. Thats more of an economical reason, wouldn't you agree?
            • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

              by flithm (756019) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:20AM (#15619940) Homepage
              You make a point, and I wouldn't argue that you're wrong, because you're not. But in the software development world getting away from anything that adds more complexity is generally better for the overall health of the system.

              Adding the ability to support two driver models would have a dramatic influence on the design of the project and would likely force them to go in a totally different direction. It's not that it's not possible to do, it's just that it would likely be quite detrimental.

              Personally speaking I give them a salute for finally doing something right. They're evil anyway so why does it matter? Just consisently do what's best for the software and eventually people will be okay with the decisions.
          • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @04:21AM (#15619315)
            The changes to the Windows driver model have far more to do with DRM than any stability issues.
            • Re:Duh (Score:4, Insightful)

              by Fred_A (10934) <fred@noSpAM.fredshome.org> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:06AM (#15619877) Homepage
              Since the display drivers have apparently been mostly moved to userland, there will probably be lots of stability issues (positive ones hopefully).

              I'm not a Windows users as such (I only use it to play games every now and then) but since for once they did seem to make a good decision in that specific area, it shouldn't be downplayed... regardless of how much fun it is to diss Microsoft in general...

              And wouldn't DRM be safer in kernel mode anyway ?

              Keep the bashing for when it's justified, it's not as if there aren't enough occasions to indulge, especially with Microsoft.
              • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

                by mrchaotica (681592) * on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @11:38AM (#15621496)
                And wouldn't DRM be safer in kernel mode anyway ?

                I'm not sure what you mean by "safer" but the DRM would work more effectively, which is why they're putting it there. The design goal is to have a "Trusted" kernel running on "Trusted" hardware, so that the system can disallow any software-based circumvention technique -- including device drivers that tried to save the framebuffer to a file. That's both the reason why most drivers are going to run in user mode, and why the rest have to be "certified" by Microsoft. Certification isn't about quality; it's about DRM enforcement.

            • DRM? (Score:3, Insightful)

              by The MAZZTer (911996)

              Hardware accellerated desktop, display drivers that can restart themselves if they crash, less reboots to install new drivers, multiple hardware accellerated windows, virtual memory for video cards.

              Obviously those are all features intended to overshadow the main new feature... DRM!

              Sorry... sarcasm doesn't translate well over the internet...

          • Re:Duh (Score:4, Funny)

            by gowen (141411) <gwowen@gmail.com> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @05:30AM (#15619492) Homepage Journal
            Well, you see, thats the trouble with Windows.

            There's so many different distributions available that fragmentation between them is inevitable. ;)
          • Re:Duh (Score:5, Interesting)

            by TheRaven64 (641858) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @05:33AM (#15619499) Journal
            The point of an API is to hide the implementation details. A Direct3D programmer doesn't have to know whether they're using an Intel, ATi or nVidia chip, for example, in order for their code to work. This is called abstraction. Similarly, they don't need to know how the driver is implemented; with DirectX 3, there were widely different driver models on NT 4 and Windows 95 implementing the same API. With OpenGL, the Windows, Mesa and IRIX implementations are hugely different, and yet they still implement the same API.

            If your user-visible API dictates the structure of your drivers to the extent that you can't back-port it to another driver model, then you're doing something deeply wrong. Or you're using technical buzzwords to confuse people into thinking that a management decision is a technical one.

            • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

              by andi75 (84413) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @10:35AM (#15620937) Homepage
              > A Direct3D programmer doesn't have to know whether they're using an Intel, ATi or nVidia chip, for example, in order for their code to work.

              HAHAHA! Best joke I've heard in a while. You obviously haven't been programming with D3D a lot.

              It's absolutely vital that you check Vendor ID, Device ID, and Driver version in order to work around the countless bugs, quirks, and performance holes in all the well known broken systems out there (unless you absolutely want to slap a BIG 'only supported on Card X with (at least) Driver Y' STICKER on your packaging).
          • Re:Duh (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @05:57AM (#15619547)
            Yes but scroll down. These jokers think developers will be doing DirectX 10-only games within 2 years. Not only does that presume that Vista will actually be out in 2 years, it also presumes that Vista will be so massively successful in this timeframe that 90% of gamers will have it on their systems thus justifying a DirectX 10-only policy from publishers.

            This is the stuff of which dreams are made. i.e. it's not remotely plausible. Look at the stats on w3schools, for example. Today, June 2006, 89% of Windows users are on XP. XP has been out for 4 years and it doesn't even make that much sense today to ignore Windows 2000 users. There are still as many W2K users as Mac users and the "port" from XP to Win2K is easy enough to make it worthwhile. Not many people would make an XP-only program today.

            Two years ago, XP was on 57% of Windows machines - i.e. after 2 years it achieved 60% market share. No-one, two years ago, made XP-only software for end users.

            Which OS to put DX10 onto is not a technical decision. The commercial realities forbid a Vista-only API unless MS want to wait five years for DX10 to be widely accepted by end-users.

            In other words, they will put DX10 onto XP or DX9 is all we will get from most publishers until 2010. Few developers have the resources to target two versions of DX at once.
            • Premiere Pro was XP only since it came out (2003). The official excuse from Adobe was that the new graphical system of XP allowed them to do preview most effects without having to render them, that back then was something only dedicated hardware based video editors could do, and that was one of the main selling points over previous premiere versions. Or at least that's what they said in the adobe forums anytime the question came out, wether it was true or not is left to the reader.
      • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

        by demachina (71715)
        " The designers chose to not be hindered"

        So instead they chose to hinder application developers, especially game developers, with two choices:

        A. Design for DirectX 9 and not use any DirectX 10 specific feature
        B. Adopt DirectX 10 and abandon any potential customer not running Vista which will be more than half of their target market for a LOOOONGGGG time

        If they opt for B, and I wager a future version of HALO will opt for B, then we can switch to hindering consumers. When the game they want to buy runs best
    • Re:Duh (Score:5, Informative)

      by TubeSteak (669689) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:03AM (#15618871) Journal
      According to TFA, it has something to do with their new driver model, meaning less driver running in kernel mode.

      That somehow ties into virtualizing access to the graphics hardware.

      You can read the specifics on this page
      http://www.extremetech.com/article2/0,1697,1982033 ,00.asp [extremetech.com]

      P.S. The Printer Friendly page on extremetech leaves out pictures & perhaps more importantly, leaves out their captions.
      • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

        by ultranova (717540)

        According to TFA, it has something to do with their new driver model, meaning less driver running in kernel mode.

        Why would a program using an interface be affected by what mode the code behind the interface runs in ?

    • Re:Duh (Score:2, Interesting)

      by RMingin (985478)
      What I find really amusing is how many MS fans will say 'Oh, obviously; DX10 depends on LDDM, and XP doesn't have Longhorn's nifty new driver model!'.... Yet 98SE supported both WDM and it's predecessor, at the same time.

      What's keeping MS from backporting some of the new Longhorn kernel/driver niftiness to XP? Oh, right. Money. There's no money in adding new things to an already-sold product. It's all about selling the new hotness.
      • Give me a break! (Score:5, Insightful)

        by xtracto (837672) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @03:38AM (#15619183) Journal
        What's keeping MS from backporting some of the new Longhorn kernel/driver niftiness to XP? Oh, right. Money. There's no money in adding new things to an already-sold product. It's all about selling the new hotness.

        So, one of the first complains I read over here about Windows is how they have been carrying a legacy of compatibility from Win 3.11 days. Now, they try to simplify the platform (didnt Mac did that when going from OS9 to OSX?, and from PPC to Intel?) and everybody starts whining.

        What is keeping Microsoft from backporting is the complexity it would yield, Windows XP is a mess, thats why they had to restart the development of Longhorn to a new model. They decided to throw away the compatilibity and improve the technology.

        I do not know how good or bad will vista be, I use Fedora anyways, but I think there is just so much bullshit people can throw at Microsoft, IMHO they are *trying* to do something fine, for a change.

        • Apparently you are new here.

          The slashdot paradigm with respect to MS is that we(the FOSS geek community) are right, they are wrong. In the most extreme of cases (such as when MS does something correct) we are right, they are *trying*, but they are still ultimately evil.

          Please don't get any hopes up just because you have been modded insightful. This is only a gesture, after which you are pretty much screwed. Kiss your karma goodbye.

          Regards,
          -F
    • Re:Duh (Score:3, Insightful)

      What's really "funny" is that people (slashdotters and their ilk) criticize Microsoft when they backport tech from Vista to XP, saying, "Well, there's no reason to buy Vista then". Yet when Microsoft doesn't backport tech from Vista to XP (like DirectX 10), you guys still bitch.

      Which is it? Do you want Vista tech backported to XP or do you want Microsoft to keep Vista tech exclusive to Vista?
      • Which is it? Do you want Vista tech backported to XP or do you want Microsoft to keep Vista tech exclusive to Vista?
        I want to be able to play the newest games without buying and installing a new OS. Easy enough.
      • I don't know what these "funny people" you speak of want. *I* want a pony!!!!!111oneone1
      • Personally, I don't want the XP version, I want the W2K version.
      • Is that funny? I thought the answer was that we want Microsoft to backport it so that there's no real reason to get Vista... After all, we don't *want* to spend several hundred dollars on an upgrade...
      • What's really "funny" is that people (slashdotters and their ilk) criticize Microsoft when they backport tech from Vista to XP, saying, "Well, there's no reason to buy Vista then". Yet when Microsoft doesn't backport tech from Vista to XP (like DirectX 10), you guys still bitch.

        Oh, that's fresh, a Slashdotter accusing other Slashdotters of groupthink. Yet for all your snide accusations, most of the highly rated posts at this time of writing seem to support their decision, as backporting would be difficult a
      • Those are not the same people asking for backporting, and new feature. I request backporting because I am cheap ass and do not want to buy a new system, install it, loose time hunting driver and patch, just to play the new games. JUST.FOR.FREAKING.DIRECT.10.

        Other wants new feature because they want the new shiny toys, or search for any excuse to bash MS, or simply try to see if upgrading is interresting.
      • by mgblst (80109)
        Wow, it is almost as if there are different people, with different opinions and different needs and different wants. Surely this isn't possible. The world is consists of two people, me and not-me. Otherwise it makes it really difficult to understand.

        The problem is that this will force people to upgrade, and Vista is a pretty huge upgrade for most people. So they will either miss out on the new games, or new games won't be able to utilise the new functionality of dx10.

        And I haven't really seen anyone bitch a
      • by miyako (632510)
        Some people want Microsoft to backport some of the new features to XP, and other people want Microsoft to make sure Vista is full of new features, no contradiction there.
        I also think that many people want Microsoft to backport things that can reasonable be backported, instead of arbitarily making things "Vista Only" to force upgrades, but would also like Microsoft to bring some innovation to Vista that means features can be added that werent possible in XP for example.
        Personally, I don't really care that
        • Last I looked (and it's been a while), as a developer, you poll DX to find out if it supports a particular interface version. There is some level back compatibility, so an older game will work on a newer DX, but it's certainly not at the "all older DX API coded games work against DX new" level. That said, I would be completely shocked if MS didn't make DX 10 provide DX 9 compatible. That's a bit like begging for a game devs to choose another interface (eg. SDL + OpenGL) but MS isn't dumb, I just can't see t
      • by Alioth (221270)
        There is more than one Slashdotter you know. The people who complain about the first issue are NOT NECESSARILY the same people who are complaining about the second.
      • 1) More than one person comments on Slashdot!
        I know it's a shocking idea, that people may have differing opinions rather than following dogma; in a proper, well-organised society, such people would of course be 're-educated'.

        2) We like bitching about things.

        -Chris
    • Re:Duh (Score:2, Insightful)

      by webvictim (674073)
      The fact that Microsoft are making DX10 only for Vista doesn't surprise me in the slightest. Yes, it's because the whole driver structure has been changed... but it is also rather convenient for them.

      Microsoft: "You must upgrade to Vista because DirectX 10 will not work with Windows XP, due to a new driver architecture." Me: "I see... but surely that means you're just attempting to pull more money out of me and other Windows users by our eyeballs. After all, I wouldn't upgrade to Vista otherwise because I

  • by Netochka (874088) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @01:57AM (#15618841)
    Seems more like a bunch of pre-approved PR junk... Some sample 'questions':

    A lot of people are complaining, "Oh, why won't we have DirectX 10 for Windows XP." There's a good technical explanation for that, where it's really not possible to do what DX10 does in the Windows XP driver model."

    So if the decision had been made, "Yes, we're going to try to make all this work on XP," you'd really have to sort of hamstring DirectX 10. You'd have to say, "Then we can't do this, we can't do that..."

    You could even see the graphics card having a big hand in doing some of the stuff that was traditionally done on the CPU. Things like collision detection, or calculating obscured geometry so you don't have to render it. You start to see a lot of flexibility in how developers can use both the geometry shader and the stream-out-to-memory function together.

    Video is another area where you're starting to see the graphics card manufacturers doing a lot of fun stuff with their video processing using the power of the GPU. And you could see DX10, especially with the reduced overhead, enabling more powerful video processing on the graphics unit.
    • Seems more like a bunch of pre-approved PR junk...

      Of course it's PR. Microsoft always has the "behind the scenes" interviews before a major release. It's all a part of the marketing campaign for Vista.

      Microsoft knows they have major perception problems with Vista, and they are trying to build up a positive "buzz" to counter all of the negative issues surrounding Vista.

  • and began panicking... no more X10 pop unders!
  • by cperciva (102828) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:22AM (#15618945) Homepage
    From the comments so far, it seems that people feel that Microsoft is somehow failing in a sacred duty by not making DirectX 10 available for Windows XP.

    Why should Microsoft make DirectX 10 available for old versions of Windows? How many new video drivers released for Linux in 2006 support early 2.4.x kernels?

    Sometimes making progress means saying "sorry, we don't support that; you'll have to upgrade to something newer".
    • Microsoft still has an obligation to (legal) users of XP. These users supposedly paid for a product. Basically Microsoft is giving the finger to it's XP consumer base. Although, no surprises there.

      The Linux kernel can be freely downloaded at http://kernel.org/ [kernel.org] I don't think upgrading to Vista will be a zero-cost venture, especially since the hardware requirements are excessive.
      • What obligation? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by spoco2 (322835) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:50AM (#15619038)
        I mean really? What obligation are they under? You have a copy of an operating system that runs everything it's supposed to now and in the immediate future. There was nothing in the deal that said "Your copy of Windows XP will continue to support the bleeding edge games for 10 years after we release it".

        Come on.

        How many programs only run on Mac OSX and don't run on OS9?

        I hardly see how a finger is being given at all here... and it's not like you haven't had fair warning that Vista is coming out.. hell it's late, late, late... so there's no big 'whoops I bought XP because I didn't know Vista was coming out'.

        The main deal is that Vista will still run all the XP stuff, so you haven't had the 'finger' given to you for buying XP, because when you do upgrade to Vista down the track you won't have to upgrade all your software as well if you don't want to... that would be giving the finger... kinda like how Apple did with OSX not really supporting old OS9 programs.

        Man, Microsoft can do no right by some people, no matter how hard they actually do try.
        • by Aceticon (140883)
          The problem here is that, with the help of their 95% share of the PC market, MS has made DirectX the de facto abstraction layer for games on the PC.

          Since MS will not fix issues with older versions of DirectX after they start distributing a new version, game developers are pushed into developing their games to the latest DirectX version.

          So via this mechanism, MS makes sure that game developers use MS' chosen DirectX version.

          By making DirectX 10 to be Vista only, and since they have locked-in game developers
      • by Jugalator (259273) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:50AM (#15619043) Journal
        Microsoft still has an obligation to (legal) users of XP.

        Oh, so they still have?

        Where is the formula to decide how much service depending on product cost a company should give to their consumers?

        Because Microsoft has already supported their XP users for years in non-essential software to use the OS. For how much longer should they do so? Many here seem to know the answer because they seem to say Microsoft is doing something wrong here. Please don't leave out the details for me and give me the date.

        If this was essential updates and about security, stability, and so on, the answer would be simple: during the product lifetime that Microsoft sets up for all their operating systems. But this is glitz to play some new games.
        • You seem to be forgetting the fact that new computers are still shipping with XP, and will continue to do so until Vista comes out (whenever that is). If it launches on the projected date (yes, I know this is unlikely), this will mean that a lot of machines bought over the XMas 2006 season will have an OS that MS will start treating as obsolete a month later. IMO the way they handle this could affect how a _lot_ of customers relate to them in the future: if for example they offer free upgrades for all PCs b
      • Explain to me how new features in a new version of a product somehow lessen what the windows XP users paid for?

        Are you ripped off or owed anything if the new ford focus next year comes with satellite nav, and the one you bought this year doesn't?
      • By that logic, I should get a free copy of Windows XP because a computer I bought in 1995 came with Windows 95! After all, since DirectX stopped working on Win95 with version 8.0a, why not get a free upgrade to XP to get me past the hump?

        How about those poor souls with NT 4.0? Stuck at DirectX 3, I hear. Damn.

        Microsoft is a company out to make money. You're lucky they even give out software updates for free; their EULAs certainly go out of its way to specify that you have no guarantees that what you bou
        • I think the difference is that there is no overlap. Windows 95 kept getting DirectX upgrades after Windows 98 and even WinMe were released. NT 4 was stuck on DirectX 3, but most NT users didn't care about DirectX. Windows 2000 got DirectX updates after XP was released.

          I wonder how much this will hurt DirectX 10 adoption. If I develop for DirectX 9 (or OpenGL) then I have a much larger target audience than if I develop for DirectX 10, and this will probably be true for some years after the release of

      • Microsoft still has an obligation to (legal) users of XP. These users supposedly paid for a product. Basically Microsoft is giving the finger to it's XP consumer base. Although, no surprises there.

        Wow, one of the most stupid comments I have read in some time. First, Microsoft has no obligation in giving you anything after you bought a LICENSE to use their software (XP). However, they will SURELY give an upgrade discount to acquire the license to use their new Operating system (Vista) which will be cheaper t
    • OK, I'll bite on this one.

      First, compatability. Let's say you're a desktop user with a 2.4 kernel. Why would you not switch to a 2.6 kernel. Hmmm, well maybe you have some legacy hardware that only works on 2.4. But hold on a second, if your machine is using such legacy hardware, then what are the chances that it's going to have/need a new skookum video card. Hmmm.... not very

      So in most cases, your newer kernel is going to work with the hardware. Cue in Vista... well it might work with your hardware, bu
      • The full Windows XP lifetime doesn't apply to updates not essential to run the OS itself well, so DirectX has little to do with Microsoft's lifecycle policies beyond the mainstream support. This ends at earliest this year; 5 years after the product has been released. After this, the product enters the extended support phase, but then mostly just security updates and paid support is available. Customers can find out this policy before purchasing any Windows version to decide what OS is right for them and if

    • Why should Microsoft make DirectX 10 available for old versions of Windows?


      In one swoop, they've condemned people to upgrading if you want to play games on the dominant PC gaming platform. Do you see why that might irritate a few people? Vista sure isn't going to be free.

      What's going to cost more? Vista or an Xbox 360?

      On the other hand, that'd remove my main reason for not saying screw it all and moving to an x86 mac for everything. My existing PC plays all the games I'm going to have time for for the next
      • In one swoop, they've condemned people to upgrading if you want to play games on the dominant PC gaming platform.

        And in one swoop, Nintendo have condemned people to upgrading to the wee if they want to play games on a dominant console.

        You've also not realised that most major developers will not use DirectX 10 if it only works on Vista, as they'd be cutting off most of their customer base. They'll only switch once most people have Vista, in which case it's the right time to cut off the stragglers.

      • When DirectX 7 was released with Windows 2000, developers had the option of using it, or sticking with DirectX 6. If they stuck with DirectX 6, then anyone with Windows 95, 98, ME, or 2K could play their game. If they used DirectX 7, then anyone with Windows 95, 98, ME, or 2K could play their game, and they got some new features.

        When DirectX 10 is released with Vista, developers will have the option of using it, or sticking with DirectX 9. If they stick with DirectX 9, then anyone with Windows 98, ME

    • ...old versions of Windows...


      XP is the latest version of Windows
    • by NickFortune (613926) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @06:58AM (#15619686) Homepage Journal
      Why should Microsoft make DirectX 10 available for old versions of Windows?

      Because they're not a nasty vicious monopolistic corporation hell-bent on extorting every last cent from their customer base, and who would never stoop so low as to refuse to release a key product for a mature platform still well within its support cycle, purely to force an upgrade cycle upon a market that feels no particular need to switch to an unproven product that offers debateable advantages and which will require expenditure on new hardware in most cases?

      Opps, sorry. Wrong parallel universe.

  • by 10Ghz (453478) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @02:41AM (#15619001)
    Why have we had lawsuits about media-players and the like, while something like DirectX has been left alone? I mean, DirectX (or more precisely: Direct3D) is replacing OpenGL, especially in games. And DirectX runs only on Windows. Doesn't that mean that porting those games to other platforms would end up being very difficult, and if you wanted to play games on your PC, you practically needed Windows (well, that's true even today, but the reasons for that are elsewhere).

    In short: authorities were concerned about Microsoft dominance in the web-browser market. And they have been worried about Mcirosoft dominance in the media-playback market. Yet they are not concerned about DirectX and the dominance it gives to Microsoft? How come?
    • DirectX is an API. Nobody forces the developers to use it.
      • Looking at how Microsoft plans to cripple OpenGL in Vista, I think that developers might not have a choice on the matter.
    • Doesn't that mean that porting those games to other platforms would end up being very difficult, and if you wanted to play games on your PC, you practically needed Windows (well, that's true even today, but the reasons for that are elsewhere).

      Yes, but Windows is hardly a gaming platform monopoly. Consoles seem to be holding their ground pretty well, and many game developers these days simply give Windows the finger and makes pretty big profits.
      • Couldn't you just as well say that "Windows is not a gaming-monopoly, since we have lots of people playing real-life poker"? What makes you think that console is replacement for PC as far as gaming is concerned?
    • by datafr0g (831498) * <datafrog@gWELTYmail.com minus author> on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @04:00AM (#15619257) Homepage
      In short: authorities were concerned about Microsoft dominance in the web-browser market. And they have been worried about Mcirosoft dominance in the media-playback market. Yet they are not concerned about DirectX and the dominance it gives to Microsoft? How come?


      Because nobody's being forced or tricked into using DX to play games - the people who made the game made the choice and that choice is entirely up to them.

      If MS locked down Windows so that only DX API's could be used (no OpenGL, etc) then there'd be cause for argument.

      • "If MS locked down Windows so that only DX API's could be used (no OpenGL, etc) then there'd be cause for argument."

        And that is what they are doing with Vista, basically. In Vista, OpenGL is just a wrapper around Direct3D, and it takes about 50% performance-hit. Sure, vendors (NVIDIA etc.) could provide their own OpenGL-implementation, but that means that the spiffy 3D-desktop Vista has would not work anymore. In other words: Microsoft is making sure that OpenGL is as undesireable as possible in Vista.
    • Because it's not illegal to achieve a monopoly, only to use the dominating position in one area (OS) to force out the competition in other markets (browsers, media players). In this case I'd say games are free to go with either DirectX or OpenGL on Windows - the games ship with the latest redistributable anyway so there's no particular "preinstall" advantage. That DirectX is winning and OpenGL is losing is from what I've understood mostly been on its own merits. Or at least that's what the developers of the
      • "Because it's not illegal to achieve a monopoly, only to use the dominating position in one area (OS) to force out the competition in other markets (browsers, media players)"

        And through the dominance of Windows, Microsoft is also pushing DirectX. Why can they push DirectX, but they can't push Media Player or IE?

        "In this case I'd say games are free to go with either DirectX or OpenGL on Windows - the games ship with the latest redistributable anyway so there's no particular "preinstall" advantage"

        Except that
  • Why is it that this glue is (ultimately) dictating to the materials what properties they must possess? That's a pretty backwards way of doing things IMO.

    Yeah, stupid metaphor. I tried, at least.
    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @12:25PM (#15621840) Homepage
      That's the wrong way to look at it. The DX guys are, in essence, acting as the negotiators between the game developers and the hardware manufacturers. The game dev folks tell the DX people what they'd like, in terms of feature set. The DX people then work with the hardware manufacturers to implement those features. It really does make a lot of sense. The game developers get what they need, in terms of feature set and APIs. The DX folks then get to work with the hardware manufacturers to ensure that the required capabilities are available and relatively consistent across hardware vendors.
  • I must be the only person who misread it as "DirectX 1.0", like we were going to get some sort of historical retrospective from The Man Himself, Alex St John, on the travesty that was 1.0 :)
  • by Antony T Curtis (89990) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @03:30AM (#15619153) Homepage Journal
    I remember when Microsoft Windows NT 4 was released with its new in-kernel video drivers. Critics of OS/2 were saying how much better it would be than OS/2 which had the video drivers working in user mode - as DLLs loaded by Presentation Manager.

    Sad truth, although it was easily demonstrated that DIVE was faster than DirectX on the same hardware, practically no games were ever written for OS/2 with people citing the critics.

    Hopefully with the new driver model, they can address one of DirectX's big shortcomings which has existed since its beginnings - blitting graphics with an obscuring window intersecting it. With DIVE, the fps increases as there is less pixels to blit. DirectX the performance goes down as it makes heavy work with many more kernel-mode/user-mode transitions. Of course, to solve this, Windows games opted for full-screen mode so that there will be no obscuring frames above the window ... but it rather limits the multitasking ability of the system turining it into a fancy DOS.

    When I used to play games, I rather enjoyed having the game run in a window next to my wordprocessor... Excellent for turn based games like Civilization.

  • by Flyboy Connor (741764) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @03:36AM (#15619174)

    Basically, DirectX is meant as an Interface between Windows and (Video) hardware. It says "if you call my function xxx, I will translate that to a certain call to the hardware". It is terribly easy to make DirectX 10 compatible with XP. You just take DirectX 9, add the new calls, and let them return "sorry, I cannot do that". Then game developers will simply add an option "activate advanced DirectX 10 features" to show off the cool stuff, but any XP user will still be able to play the game. So there is no good reason to exclude XP from the new games market, as Microsoft is trying to do.

    Even better, they could (and IMHO should) open up the source code of DirectX. I am dead certain that an XP version of DirectX 10 would be created in days.

    But of course, they have great MARKETING reasons why they will not do that. Yes, it is all marketing. The rest of the argumentation is blah.

    • Basically, DirectX is meant as an Interface between Windows and (Video) hardware. It says "if you call my function xxx, I will translate that to a certain call to the hardware". It is terribly easy to make DirectX 10 compatible with XP. You just take DirectX 9, add the new calls, and let them return "sorry, I cannot do that". Then game developers will simply add an option "activate advanced DirectX 10 features" to show off the cool stuff, but any XP user will still be able to play the game. So there is no g

  • The bottom line is.. (Score:2, Informative)

    by BadassJesus (939844)
    that DirectX 10 forces you to upgrade to Vista, because all the new shiny metal hardware like new GPUs will be made for DX10.
  • Expensive products that are forcibly sold, do not sell.

    DDR was on the go, they said. RDRAM was the hype, they said. Yet in 6 months time all mobo manufacturers resumed ddr models.
  • Simple Opinion.. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by DoctorDyna (828525) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @08:45AM (#15620064)
    I think, honestly, game designers are going to be the deciding factor. Microsoft can do whatever they want with versions, support, backwards compatibility and directx. If game designers don't want to develop for DX10, then they won't. I'm going to go out on a very thick limb here and say that DX10 will still run all the DX9 features. As long as the relationship stays that way, then there is no problem, and nothing to discuss! This is all completely moot. I'm 100% sure we've all seen games that "require" Windows XP. We're basically crying that Microsoft is going to do the exact same thing again that they have done in the past.

    The printing on game boxes that read "Requires Windows 95" "Requires Windows 98" and "Requires Windows XP" will soon have a brother. Big shock guys, there is going to be a "Requires Windows Vista"

  • by kimvette (919543) on Wednesday June 28, 2006 @12:34PM (#15621912) Homepage Journal
    why it will only be for Vista (and not for XP) is:

    They need a compelling reason for people to buy the upgrade.

You can measure a programmer's perspective by noting his attitude on the continuing viability of FORTRAN. -- Alan Perlis

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