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February 19, 1997updated 05 Sep 2016 12:38pm


By CBR Staff Writer

Microsoft Corp last week began quietly distributing beta test versions of a new Direct3D application programming interface. The new version has a simplified programming interface that Microsoft is hoping will stifle the criticism that the three-dimensional graphics system it built for the games market and other desktop applications (CI No 2,885) is simply too hard for human beings – even programmers – to use. Independent software vendors have been criticizing the Direct3D interface, calling it too verbose and time-consuming to write to. The new Draw Primitive interface in Direct3D is said to be one of the most significant improvements in the new version, which is set to officially appear as part of DirectX 5.0, a new version of Microsoft’s desktop suite that Direct3D is part of. Microsoft hopes that DirectX 5.0 will be ready in time for software vendors to write software for the Christmas market – DirectX 3.0 didn’t make it out until last November, a quarter late and missing the Christmas 1996 market entirely. There won’t be a DirectX 4.0. Although Direct3D was conceived of as a Windows95 games applications programming interface, with Windows NT using the up-market OpenGL for more serious things like computer-aided design and manufacturing software, Microsoft has since moved Direct3D into NT 4.0 to support the growing cadre of games vendors now using NT Workstation to craft their wares. Some games designers, including ID Software Inc’s John Carmack, author of the best sellers Quake and Doom, have scorned Direct3D and use OpenGL instead. Microsoft only added OpenGL to Windows95 under protest.

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