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The End Of DirectX As We Know It 285

Posted by Hemos
from the and-i-feel-fine dept.
socram writes "Speaking with ATI and NVIDIA at ECTS allowed us to confirm that after DX9.0, DirectX Graphics is no more. In name only. Microsoft's next set of core presentation and 3D APIs are now under the umbrella of Windows Graphics Foundation and Avalon. Microsoft will still rely on DirectX in name for the rest of the core components, but the graphics API is now under a new name. Look out for WGF 1.0 compatibility on the back of that next generation graphics card's box. Some WGF 1.0 Info!" Update: 09/06 22:27 GMT by T : David Ross of hexus.net points out that this text comes straight from hexus, and should have been credited as such.
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The End Of DirectX As We Know It

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  • Wonderful (Score:4, Funny)

    by randomized (132106) on Monday September 06, 2004 @09:48AM (#10168254)
    And after WGF 9.0 they'll finally release OpenGL compatible standard! WOOHOO! :)
    • WGF? (Score:2, Funny)

      by c0p0n (770852)
      WTF!!!
    • Re:Wonderful (Score:5, Informative)

      by jonsmirl (114798) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:30AM (#10168518) Homepage
      Does anyone have a pointer to more detailed technical specs on this? Like the reference manual for writing a compatible driver?
      • What I'm wondering is, will this even be different? I can think of a few different things, in order of how likely I think they are:

        1. Same thing as the old DirectX, but it includes a nifty remote function call that leads to a swarm of new worms.
        2. Same thing as the old DirectX, but every game and driver released before will stop working.
        3. Same thing as the old DirectX, but even the new games won't work anymore.
        4. Same thing as the old DirectX, just with a new name. Everything works the same.
  • by scheuri (655355) on Monday September 06, 2004 @09:50AM (#10168268)
    ...where developers have a glance at the new OpenGL?

    such changes are perfect to look around instead of hurrying to the next "standard"-MS-stuff....with some luck game devs might see, that OpenGL is neither dead nor old-fashioned!

    well, there is hope...even if it is just a little!
    • by pVoid (607584) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:13AM (#10168420)
      Man, today, it doesn't matter what API you use... The days of backward archane APIs are gone. Every API is just as good, and you know why? Because every API has the goal of allowing access to the underlying structure of the GPU.

      Besides, developers today aren't 1 man teams pent up in their basements working against Big Brother, they are billion dollar industries (EA, id, whatever...) who have top of the line programmers who could make *any* API work regardless (because they have the budget to do so), who only really care about the performance and capabilities afforded by the API. Microsoft - like any other big company tending a big market - tries to please them, not piss them off!

      IMHO, the time of the underdog syndrome is past... Let people use whatever friggin API they want. It's not like the gaming industry is in the middle of a standards battle.

      On a different note, the really amazing thing about Avalon, and you gotta commend Moft for this, is that they're actually moving the graphics driver to User-mode. Just imagine what a gi-nourmous task that is... Let's you appreciate how they can have so much programming going on in there.

      • by ergo98 (9391) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:52AM (#10168687) Homepage Journal
        On a different note, the really amazing thing about Avalon, and you gotta commend Moft for this, is that they're actually moving the graphics driver to User-mode.

        Do you have a source for this? My impression of Avalon is that it's a library and version of Explorer.exe that sits on top of DirectX - of course the video card driver would still be ring 0, and the GDI+++ library (the new Avalon graphics library) would be user mode, just as GDI or GDI+ are today. Avalon represents a new interface application and set of tools for third party applications to use, but it isn't a tremendous plumbing change.

        Funny thing about Microsoft software - invariably it hits the market as is dramatically less of a schism than people imagined it to be.
        • My source would be what the Microsoft PR guy is stated to say in the article:

          One of the first orders of business is to "fix busted stuff," as Blythe put it. These items include no more blue-screens (hard crashes) caused by the graphics driver, and moving more processing into what's known as user mode. [...]

          To that end, Microsoft is investing considerable development resources into ensuring that crashes will be very rare, and that when they do occur (and they will), the graphics subsystem can do a snap

      • by Anonymous Coward
        "The days of backward archane APIs are gone."

        That's exactly right, because DirectX is the only API people use. Why? Several reasons.
        1. It drives all hardware development. There is no hardware built for SDL or OpenGL or what have you. Every feature--bad or good--is built to conform to Microsoft's latest DirectX rather than the other way around. And you thought Microsoft's monopoly was just in software! HA! And wait til you see what Longhorn itself brings to hardware!
        Meanwhile, how do you even do Vsy
      • by ivan256 (17499) * on Monday September 06, 2004 @12:53PM (#10169514)
        Man, today, it doesn't matter what API you use...

        Yes it does. Some APIs have implementations on multiple platforms, and some don't.

      • "Every API is just as good, and you know why? Because every API has the goal of allowing access to the underlying structure of the GPU."

        That is not what makes the API just as good. if the code were done with opengl, then people on macintosh, linux, etc... could easily port the game, without having to pay fee's to M$ for the use of the new libraries on the respective platforms.

        For example. RTCW, Enemy Territory, WWIIOnline, etc... use opengl, so i can play it on all the machines i own, rather than only o
    • by tesmako (602075) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:14AM (#10168424) Homepage
      Yes, when libraries change name it is an obvious reason to go to another library. Not to mention logotypes, I can never feel comfortable with foundation technologies changing logos, you never know where you stand then.
      • Yes, when libraries change name it is an obvious reason to go to another library.

        Yeah, I used to browse Slashdot with this thing called Firebird, but then they changed its name, so I thought I'd better switch to this other thing called IE. Thanks for the advice -- it's good to know I made the right call on that one.

  • WTF 1.0 (Score:5, Funny)

    by flux (5274) on Monday September 06, 2004 @09:51AM (#10168276) Homepage
    I think the name has a nice ring to it.
  • DirectX (Score:3, Interesting)

    by pommiekiwifruit (570416) on Monday September 06, 2004 @09:52AM (#10168281)
    What is this DirectX? On most games today it says "runs on either Nvidia card xxx or ATI card yyy". Portability doesn't exist. I bought a new PC and new games won't run on it. Heck, old games won't run on it either:

    "Requires Nvidia TNT2 or better. Must be running as admin. Don't press alt-tab." (ok the last bit is in the readme not on the box). So my non-nvidia card won't help me even though DirectX 9.0c claims to be running fine.

    (old coot) I remember when Windows 95 came out and Microsoft claimed that this would let games run on more than a couple of graphics cards. It seems they've given up on that recently (/old coot).

    • Re:DirectX (Score:5, Informative)

      by FullMetalAlchemist (811118) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:00AM (#10168338)
      No, it's the gamedevelopers that does that for you by checking for if your card supports the features it needs to be playable.
      It's not MicroSoft's fault, by any extension, it is however silly that you are not allowed to check if it is playable according to _your_ standard; and it's the gamedevelopers you should blame.
      I guess it's easy to point at something big, like MS if you want someone to blame, people tend to do that.
      • Re:DirectX (Score:3, Insightful)

        by gl4ss (559668)
        actually it's the fault of the 3rd party gfx card makers that just adhere to buzzwords, but don't deliver(real performance & etc, even if you had them in mind when coding).

        so they put in just enough features that they can dub it as directx9 compatible... and slap it to the retailers with a package that claims it'll run games fast and that it is directx9 compatible - and that it is cheaper than ati/nvidia offering claiming similar things.

        remember when virge dx was dubbed as 3d accelerator card?
      • ...for inventing their own standard, instead of collaborating with the OpenGL group. That's a typical micro$oft tactic, create a new, incompatible, standard and keep changing it, to force people to upgrade.

        I have the same problem the grandparent post mentions. I used to like a game by Electronic Arts, "Need for Speed - Porsche Unleashed", which was released in 2000. Then in 2003 they released "Need for Speed Underground", which required a card beyond my Riva TNT2, so I got a GeForce FX5200. Now NFSPU doesn

        • That's a typical micro$oft tactic, create a new, incompatible, standard and keep changing it, to force people to upgrade.

          You're so right. They have no business creating a product and enhancing it as time goes on and new gpus become available. That's what a company that was trying to make a profit by filling a market niche would do! Ew! They should have donated all their efforts to some other product.

          • I'll bite.
            They have every to do whatever they can get away with, right?
            Using their own "standards" to lock people to their platform, perpetuating their own dominance. It makes it much harder for competition to arise in this situation. The majority of games will never be ported to another system.
            Sounds fair? Sounds like monopoly abuse to me.
        • Actually, DirectX is fully backwards compatible.
          It's probably driver problem causing this, because you normally need a new driver to match the DirectX increments; sucks, but that's what it takes.
          It's actually the buyers market, if people didn't spend money on top of the line graphics cards with new features then DirectX wouldn't need to be updated to accomodate those features.

          I do think that better game programmers would write a more dynamic gfx engines that are pluggable with the new features instead of d
    • Re:DirectX (Score:2, Insightful)

      by gowen (141411)

      What is this DirectX? On most games today it says "runs on either Nvidia card xxx or ATI card yyy". Portability doesn't exist. I bought a new PC and new games won't run on it.

      Well, the long and short of it is, if PCs are meant to compete with the PlayStation 2, then they're going to have a narrow band of hardware. The sort of performance needed for a PC game to be equivalent to a PS2/Xbox means having a top end graphics card, and using most of those top end features. Sad, but if you want cutting edge,

      • I bought a GameCube game instead (I was at the games shop for lunch, hence reading the system requirements). At least there is a better than 50% chance of it working once I get home.

        And a couple of days ago I was at a conference where microsoft was telling games developers how to write for windows (not requiring admin rights to run, allowing ALT-TAB to work without crashing the PC, etc.). The afternoon of the conference was cancelled due to lack of interest (the speakers outnumbered the attendees).

    • Re:DirectX (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Tim C (15259) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:13AM (#10168417)
      On most games today it says "runs on either Nvidia card xxx or ATI card yyy".

      Well, on most of the requirements I've seen recently, it'll list something like "Graphics card: 100% DirectX 8 compatible, 64MB RAM". Just because in today's hardware market that translates to "a recent card from NVidia or ATI" doesn't make that MS's fault.

      So my non-nvidia card won't help me even though DirectX 9.0c claims to be running fine

      Chances are, DX 9 *is* running fine, but your card lacks support for certain features used by the game. Now, the game devs could fall back to software, or even just disable those features; not doing so is not the fault of DX or MS.
    • It lets card manufacturers produce cards that will work with developers games, without either party having to talk to each other to ensure compatability.

      Without it, your card would have to be specifically coded for, to enable the game to run. As it is, most cards from most manufacturers work with most games, as opposed to a few cards from a few manufacturers work with a few games.

      Your card not being able to play those games isn't microsoft's fault. Of course, this is slashdot, where logic never impedes

  • WGF? (Score:4, Funny)

    by ticklemeozmo (595926) <justin.j.novack@acm . o rg> on Monday September 06, 2004 @09:54AM (#10168297) Homepage Journal
    Microsoft has had some great innovative technologies, however their naming department isn't working all that hard.

    Microsoft Windows
    Windows Graphics Foundation
    (B)it(M)a(P)
    Microsoft Proxy Server
    Exchange Server
    Windows Update Server
    Microsoft Word
    and many more...
    • MS memo (Score:5, Funny)

      by corpsiclex (735510) <dark.logic@comcast.net> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:18AM (#10168453) Homepage
      I propose the following changes, which will result in clarity and increased initial understanding of the product:

      Microsoft Windowbird
      Bitthunder Mapping Format
      Proxyfox
      Microsoft WordBird

      For every day use, the following abbreviations should be adopted to referring to the product as simple as possible:
      MWB
      BMF
      PFX
      MWD
      Any more suggestions?
    • Re:WGF? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dasmegabyte (267018) <das@OHNOWHATSTHISdasmegabyte.org> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:32AM (#10168534) Homepage Journal
      As opposed to the OSS world, where naming is working overtime.

      Tell me -- just from the names -- what the following programs do:

      Apache
      Firefox
      Thunderbird
      Mono
      BitTorrent
      Grep
      Putty
      (and the fucking stupidest ever) Script-Fu, part of The Gimp

      The idea, I guess, is to glamorize the program name like a brand name, and I suppose it works for some things (Apache, for example). Most of the time, however, it only serves to confuse people who have never heard of a program before. Microsoft errs on the side of shit you can understand, because when they use funky names (like BackOffice), they spend a lot of time explaining what the damn program does.
      • Re:WGF? (Score:5, Funny)

        by WWWWolf (2428) <wwwwolf@iki.fi> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:53AM (#10168689) Homepage
        Apache

        A big honkin' helicopter.

        Firefox

        Propels Fox upward (or whevever you tilt the stick) while frying everyone nearby on the ground.

        Mono

        It only plays from the other speaker, or if you're lucky, same stuff from two speakers. So, it's probably ancient.

        BitTorrent

        Hey, I know this one! It moves tons and tons of bits from one place to another! Am I right?! What did I win? Tell me!

        Putty

        Turns perfectly working Linux server into a blob of clay, probably. Remotely. From a Windows desktop.

        (and the fucking stupidest ever) Script-Fu

        "-Fu" probably refers to martial arts, so... um... "Script-Fu's Name that could be understood is not the true Script-Fu's Name." Or something.

      • As opposed to the OSS world, where naming is working overtime.

        Tell me -- just from the names -- what the following programs do:


        Since when were program names supposed to be nothing more than bland descriptions (cue "in Soviet Russia" joke...)? They're for branding for chrissake! It would be incredibly irritating if every program were named that way ("Do you have 'internet browser'"? "No, I have 'internet navigator'. Or maybe that was 'internet explorer'?")

        Okay, so I'm exagerrating for laughs :). Howe
      • apache, dunno, a patchy something or other...

        firefox, the clint eastwood browser.. "I know what you're thinking punk, did I install 5 IE updates or all six?"

        thunderbird, international rescue data recovery

        mono, a budget sb16 sound card, new for linux

        bittorrent, modem accelerator

        grep, the prequel to shrek

        putty, (easy one) what you use to stop (memory) leaks in windows.

        script-fu, I am still meditating and seeking enlightenment on that one.

        no you want silly, try these

        microsoft autoroute, nope, won't ev
      • by solios (53048)
        Out of everything on the list, BackOffice and BitTorrent are the only two with syntax-deferrable functionality.

        Though as a graphic artist, I do have to say that The Gimp is very aptly named. ;-D

        As for the rest, I'm biased because I already know what all the soft does....
  • I'm sorry. (Score:5, Funny)

    by porkchop_d_clown (39923) <(mwheinz) (at) (me.com)> on Monday September 06, 2004 @09:55AM (#10168302) Homepage
    Did you really say I should look for WTF compatibility?

    Hrm. I can hear the slogan now....

    If it doesn't make you say "WTF" it isn't from Microsoft!
  • I don't think so (Score:5, Informative)

    by Quasar1999 (520073) on Monday September 06, 2004 @09:56AM (#10168309) Journal
    This is a boat load of hogwash. DirectX is here to stay. DirectX is the damned core, Avalon, or whatever the heck they end up calling it is simply a layer on top of DX. But don't take my word for it, google it. There is enough info out there, that anyone that knows how to program for DirectX will immediately realise that it is being modified with the new UI in mind. It's being done to help it hook into DirectX, and if you examine the DX API closely (especially the latest SDK release), you'll notice a trend to add APIs that allow features that are required for a fully integrated UI. And at the end of the day, game developers will still be using the DX api.
    • The functions in the API may remain the same, but the classification and implementation may change. This is just like Apple changing the Mac Toolbox to Carbon.
    • Re:I don't think so (Score:4, Informative)

      by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:35AM (#10168993) Journal
      Not so. I attended a talk on WGF at Eurographics '04 last week. The disparity between GDI and DirectX is being removed (as DirectDraw and Direct3D were rolled into one around DX8). Avalon will be built on top of WGF, and any Avalon application will be able to exploit 3D capabilities directly without having to use two APIs (if you've ever written a an app that uses GDI and DirectX you'll know that there are a few cases where the two don't exactly play nicely with each other).
      • Re:I don't think so (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Quasar1999 (520073) on Monday September 06, 2004 @12:56PM (#10169545) Journal
        Perhaps you misunderstood what was explained at the conference, or they did a poor job of explaining it. Either way, GDI and DX should never, ever be used to access the same screen realestate. The same app can use them at the same time, but never in the same screen area. Now with that said, the avalon interface will support the basic 2D/3D stuff as a superset of what GDI does currently for 90% of the apps out there. If you want to get fancy and use vertex/pixel shaders (or common shaders as they will be called), then you will need to fall back to the DX api... completely... you won't call Avalon for some rendering and DX for the rest, it's either all avalon or all DX, if you try and mix the two, you will have serious issues, probably similiar to the ones you run into with GDI and DX currently.

        There are early versions of the API's floating around if you know where to look... trust me when I say this isn't the revolutionary be all and end all of windows graphics API's... It's just a minor evolution of DX, and a wrapper ontop of DX (think d3dx functions currently) that simply makes UI tasks easier. Perhaps that Eurographics '04 talk you attended was a lot of hype with little substance? Did they back up any of their claims?
  • So many changes... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by JoeShmoe950 (605274) <CrazyNorman@gmail.com> on Monday September 06, 2004 @09:59AM (#10168333) Homepage
    I hope that by the 2006 Longhorn release, either most game companies also release their games for Linux, cause Wine is in for a really hard time.
    • but then again, wasn't avalon already slashed from longhorn, or are they still saying it'll be in it at release time?

      it's still too early to speculate what will really make it or not..
      • They said Avalon would be released for XP, before longhorn's release...
        • by _Spirit (23983)
          When I read the explanation one of Microsofts developers gave of what Avalon is, I got the feeling that is an additional layer on top of DirectX, not a replacement. Their relationship sounded a bit similar to the way Quartz and OpenGL work on Mac OS X: Quartz (the engine that renders the desktop and UI elements) runs on top of OpenGL.
          • by dave420 (699308)
            Avalon is the name given to the window manager, effectively. DirectX (or whatever it'll be called then) will provide the interface for the hardware and drivers to achieve it. So yes, Avalon==Quartz (but not as advanced as Avalon), and OpenGL==DirectX :)
  • of course (Score:2, Insightful)

    by wobedraggled (549225)
    M$ knows full well that Wine now has a pretty good hold on DirectX, so of course they are gonna change things around... "rolls eyes"
  • by jrest (539296) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:12AM (#10168412)
    What about the parts of DirectX that are not about 3D? The article is only about the Direct3D part of DirectX.
    I'm using DirectShow a lot myself actually. Are changes expected there too?
    • DirectShow has been deprecated because damn, it is a crappy API. It'll probably be around for a little but but undeveloped and unsupported (see what happened to Direct3D Retained Mode).

      Other more reasonable parts of DirectX (DirectInput, DirectSound, etc) will still be there...
  • mixed feelings (Score:5, Interesting)

    by andr0meda (167375) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:16AM (#10168442) Homepage Journal

    It's not a good idea to replace an API when that API is one of the major libraries people use to display fast graphics.

    It is however a good idea to force people to use a new standard when the old one has limitations that start to pop up. Sometimes it's necessary to cut the cables and start over.

    Personally I think Dx9 is still all valid and good, it has no issues concerning shader support or other. I would not have replaced this API at this point, because I would consider the WGF as a surplus, something extra alongside DX. I guess doubling up the internal library is too cumbersome for the ones writing the video card drivers, which is why they replaced everything at once.

    • You are all aware that you DX is backwards compatible. I wrote a wrapper for DirectDraw, and DirectSound that uses Dx8 features. It works fine under Dx9 because DX8 (and Dx7, 6,5, ...) are all included. You have to add a few extra defines when compiling because the default DX headers assume you are using the latest version.

      Old games using old version of DX should work just fine if they are not doing anything wierd. I have run ino a few old DX games that have glitches, but most run just fine.

  • After Windows Longhorn, Windows is no more. In name only. The next OS from Microsoft will be integrated into the core of WMG 9.0.

    Seeing that graphics cards exceeds standard desktop computers in both processing power and memory capabilities, it was the logical choice to have the graphics do the OS, and not the other way around., says Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft.

    Look out for WMG 9.0 compatibility on the back of that next generation graphics card's box.

  • by Savage-Rabbit (308260) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:27AM (#10168507)
    WGF=Windows Gone Funky
    WGF=Windows Graphical Frustrater
    WGF=Windows Gore Functionality
    WGF=Windows Glitch Factory
    WGF=Windows!!! Go Figure?!?!

    Excersize your imagination:
    WGF=______________________

    Sigh! If only they had called it WTF!
  • by BTWR (540147) <.americangibor3. .at. .yahoo.com.> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:32AM (#10168540) Homepage Journal
    Ending at Direct X 9.0??? They could have at least waited for the 10th version: the awesome name "Direct X, X"
  • by emarkp (67813) <slashdot&roadq,com> on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:14AM (#10168841) Journal
    Since it is a MS product, be sure to wait until version 3.0.

    (Yes, that is a joke.)
    • MS operating practice. This is Known.

      v.1 = SHIP! OUT THE DOOR!
      v.2 = features MS wanted in v1, initial bugfixes, etc.
      v.3 = where user feedback starts getting implemented.

      90% of the CRAP in Windows is there because people want it, requested it, or bugged microsoft for it at some point, or MS had to slather it in to make something that people wanted actually Work (re: DOS compatability in NT4+).
  • Vaguely on-topic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by bairy (755347) *
    Does anyone happen to know how DirectX got it's name?
    • Re:Vaguely on-topic (Score:4, Informative)

      by mikael (484) on Monday September 06, 2004 @12:37PM (#10169406)
      Back in the early 1990's, Microsoft saw the re-emergence of console systems, and realised the PC platform was under threat. After consulting with many game developers, the one complaint that kept coming up was the lack of a consistent interface to control hardware. Game developers had to write their own drivers to support all the different sounds cards, video cards and CPU's that were available. So Microsoft announced a set of of libraries that would give programmers direct control of the hardware without needing to resort to hardware programming. This set of libaries became known as DirectX.

  • The end? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2004 @12:21PM (#10169303)
    K. Brockman : ... and it appears to be the end of DirectX ...
    H. Simpson : Woohoo!!
    K. Brockman : ... as we know it.
    H. Simpson : D'oh!!
  • by Stevyn (691306) on Monday September 06, 2004 @04:24PM (#10170873)
    DirectX is a bunch of APIs that are intended to make game development easier for developers. While microsoft fiddles around with the name and marketing brochures on this for a while, would this be a good time to develop a set of standards for running games on linux? A combination of graphics, sound, controllers, and network handling might sound good for a developer trying to get games to run on linux, but is worried about the costs of trying to find each component and hope it works on most people's computer.

    Then again, if wineX can fit the bill for now, maybe developers should just try to make sure their products work with that. It's cheaper and probably not the best for linux in the long run, but it takes care of the need now and at lower costs.

    Any set of standards would have to work then with windows or else developers probably wouldn't be interested. Does anyone know of any projects that aimed to do this with some success?

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