DirectX is a software development kit (SDK) developed by Microsoft. It allows the software to interact with a computer’s graphics hardware and other subsystems.
The latest version of DirectX, DirectX 12, was released in 2015.
DirectX was developed by Microsoft, one of the world’s largest tech companies.
Microsoft is a software company that produces and sells computer operating systems (OS), personal computers, server software, programming languages, business, and consumer productivity software, and video gaming consoles like Xbox. Windows 95 was the first version of Windows to support DirectX in 1995.
Versions of DirectX
There have been 12 versions of DirectX released, and the earliest version was 1.0, which came out in September 1995.
But you won’t see this version if you go to the Microsoft download page for DirectX.
Version 2.0 never even made it past Beta status and was not released to the public due to some incompatibilities with Microsoft’s operating system, Windows 95 (why many people say that DirectX 1.0 had two versions).
From 1996 until 2002, DirectX released updates every few months to meet the changing demand for new software and new games.
And since then, updates have continued, but they are not announced as often because users or developers do not usually require them.
Uses of DirectX in Modern Games
Modern games use DirectX for a variety of functions. The most common uses for DirectX in gaming are:
- Displaying 3D graphics, textures, and lighting effects
- Providing dynamic sound effects and music
- Enabling GPU acceleration
These features help make modern games more realistic, interactive, and immersive.
Many different types of games use DirectX, including First Person Shooters (FPS), Real-Time Strategy (RTS), Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPG), and Role Playing Games (RPG).
DirectX vs OpenGL
You have a choice between OpenGL and DirectX.
If all you want to do is learn 3-D graphics, and you’re not particularly fussed about how it works under the hood, then OpenGL is probably the way to go.
It’s easier to learn than DirectX, so there are fewer barriers to entry for beginners. And it’s available on both Windows and Mac OS X machines, so you can take your code with you if you decide to switch operating systems in the future (or now, for that matter).
Most importantly, though, OpenGL is better for productivity—i.e., making 3D games or applications—because of its cross-platform support and ease of use.
But if what you want to do is create traditional video games or high-end graphics applications that don’t need cross-platform support (such as Maya), then it makes sense to choose DirectX because it’s more appropriate for such purposes.
So there you have it. You now know the ins and outs of what DirectX is, how it works, and its place in your gaming experience.
DirectX has had a significant impact on the PC gaming scene since its initial release in 1995. We can only expect that impact to grow as Microsoft continues to push DirectX development forward.
If you’ve got a system capable of running high-end games, you’ve got a system capable of handling the latest version of DirectX.
And if your graphics card doesn’t yet support DirectX 12 or 11 (or even 10), don’t worry—you’ll probably be able to upgrade without purchasing completely new hardware!
If you’re experiencing issues with your current version of DirectX, check our guide below for help updating or reinstalling it.