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The End Of DirectX As We Know It 285

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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  • 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.
  • 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.
  • by intx13 ( 808988 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:05AM (#10168373) Homepage
    Oh yes, because opengl in OSX doesn't use up all a low end mac's memory or anything. If Longhorn is going to go for the whole "devote the systems memory to good looks" style, no wonder it requires 1GB ram!

    As a poor college student, ram is hard to come by. I don't want my desktop using it all to generate spiffy little icon effects. And seeing as Microsoft isn't going to ship multiple desktops, I hope Longhorn keeps the graphics simple for us poor kids.
  • Re:Nice... (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tranzig ( 786710 ) <voidstar@freemail.hu> on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:07AM (#10168386)
    Actually the whole graphic subsystem was in userland in Windows NT 3. It was bulletproof but slow and it did not allow the low level hw access needed for DirectX, so they moved it into kernel with NT 4.0. And I'm quite sure it will stay there.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:21AM (#10168475)
    Avalon is going to be released to XP before Longhorn is released, so in fact it'll pre-date Longhorn.
  • 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?
  • by Emil Brink ( 69213 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:37AM (#10168578) Homepage
    OpenGL is the equivalent of DirectX
    Just to pick a nit: this is not true. DirectX is a family [microsoft.com] of APIs, and not limited to graphics like OpenGL. The latter is roughly the equivalent to Direct3D, however. Or at least it used to be back around DirectX 3.0, heh. But I think it's still the case.
  • by Tim C ( 15259 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:42AM (#10168626)
    Two things:

    1) that page, judging by the date at the bottom, is 7 years old - that's plenty of time for the situation to have completely changes
    2) judging from the logo on it and the URL, the guy is particularly anti-MS; you might want to cite a source with a little more objectivity
  • by sh0dan ( 762382 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:56AM (#10168713) Homepage
    Does that mean that any game made with the Doom 3 engine will be OpenGL?
    Yes. Most probably they will.

    As a historical note, Halflife added D3D support at some stage, even though it was based on Quake1/2, which was also OpenGL (and Glide & Software) based.
    That being said, it was probably a lot easier to add at the time than with current engines, which implement a lot more features.
  • by myster0n ( 216276 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @10:57AM (#10168725)
    Then why is avalon being dropped [theregister.co.uk] from longhorn?
  • by sh0dan ( 762382 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:08AM (#10168793) Homepage
    Thanks, John Carmack, for keeping OpenGL alive!

    And he almost decided to kill it off. According to Carmack, the "godawful interface" for OpenGL pBuffers/Render to Texture, made him be "the closest ever to switching over to D3D".

    If you are interested in listening to an hour of video-graphics supergeeky stuff, download the one hour video [gamespy.com] of his keynote from Quakecon 2004.
    It contains an hour of tech-talk from John C. about the doom3 engine, and what he's working on now.
  • by dave420 ( 699308 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:17AM (#10168857)
    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 :)
  • Mod parent down (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday September 06, 2004 @11:26AM (#10168926)
    ..and me up:

    "Microsoft - like any other big company tending a big market - tries to please them, not piss them off!"
    Paul Hsieh's OpenGL versus Direct3D [azillionmonkeys.com]

    Learn to link. While copypasteing is annoying enough, these anti-page-widening spaces /. inserts make it unbearable.

  • 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:curious (Score:4, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 ( 641858 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @12:00PM (#10169162) Journal
    Not really. DirectX includes functional equivalents of:
    • OpenGL (Direct3D)
    • OpenAL / CoreAudio (DirectSound)
    • Quicktime (DirectShow)
    • OpenPlay (DirectPlay)
    • HID Manager (DirectInput)
    I may have missed a few things. WGF is roughly equivalent to OpenGL / Quartz Extreme and everything else that DirectX does at the moment, while Avalon is equivalent to Aqua / WindowServer. Of course, the differences in architectural designs mean that these equivalencies are only very approximate.
  • 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.

  • Re:[OT] Re:Nice... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Naysayer ( 71120 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @01:35PM (#10169792)
    Right now, a lot of high-end games using Direct3D spend a lot of time going through kernel traps because every time you call DrawPrimitive, well, there go a boatload of cycles. This is becoming a real bottleneck to how much can be rendered.

    I don't know if that's the main motivator to them moving things to user-mode or not, but it seems so. I can imagine the drivers being built in a two-stage structure where the bulk of the driver is in user mode and a small back-end runs in kernel mode.

    I am not sure what world Tranzig here lives in ... Nvidia and ATI are totally prepped for the move to WGF.
  • by DWIM ( 547700 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @03:28PM (#10170491)
    Microsoft was a pioneer in writing flight sims.
    After purchasing SubLogic's pioneering efforts.
  • by Jorkapp ( 684095 ) <jorkapp&hotmail,com> on Monday September 06, 2004 @03:29PM (#10170502)
    Actually, Half-Life is still Quake 1 at heart. If you've flipped through the source code in the SDK, you'll see alot of things that still relate it to Quake 1:
    * Copyright (c) 1996-2002, Valve LLC. All rights reserved.
    * This product contains software technology licensed from Id
    * Software, Inc. ("Id Technology"). Id Technology (c) 1996 Id Software, Inc.
    * All Rights Reserved.
    * Use, distribution, and modification of this source code and/or resulting
    * object code is restricted to non-commercial enhancements to products from
    * Valve LLC. All other use, distribution, or modification is prohibited
    * without written permission from Valve LLC.
    Thats the standard comment header in most if not all SDK files.

    Though it has been reengineered over the years, its BSP files are still almost Quake 1 compatible, its SPR files can be recompiled in Quake 1 compilers, and many other things.

    or more to the point OpenGL in it.
    wtf are you on? More than 50% of people use Half-Life's OpenGL renderer over its D3D or Software renderers. Namely due to its better performance on most cards, and that the D3D Renderer is unstable and causes crashes in some instances.
  • Mandatory notice (Score:2, Informative)

    by Lisandro ( 799651 ) on Monday September 06, 2004 @08:02PM (#10172571)
    I've noticed a lot of people referring to Direct3D as DirectX; given, it's the most visible part of the API, but DirectX is much broader and cover sound, networking, controllers, and so.

    OpenGL is the multiplatform equivalent of Direct3D, and APIs like SDL are the multiplatform equivalent of SDL.

    Just nitpicking here ;)

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