DirectX is a (APIs) developed by Microsoft for handling tasks related to multimedia, gaming, and other graphics-intensive applications on the Windows platform. The following is a list of versions released till date:

DirectX All Versions

  • DirectX 1.0: Released in September 1995. It provided a basic set of APIs for handling graphics, sound, and input in Windows games and multimedia applications.
  • DirectX 2.0: Released in December 1995. this featured Direct3D capability, allowing programmers to produce 3D graphics for their programmes and video games.
  • DirectX 3.0: Released in September 1996. It introduced support for DirectDraw, which allowed developers to create 2D graphics and animations.
  • DirectX 5.0: Released in August 1997. It introduced support for DirectPlay, which enabled network communication and multiplayer gaming.
  • DirectX 6.0: Released in August 1998. Moreover, it supported DirectSound3D, which allowed for 3D sound effects, and hardware-accelerated 3D visuals.
  • DirectX 7.0: Released in September 1999. It introduced support for hardware-accelerated geometry processing, as well as support for DirectMusic, which enabled the playback of MIDI files and other music formats.
  • DirectX 8.0: Released in November 2000. It introduced support for programmable shaders, which allowed developers to create more advanced lighting and shading effects.
  • DirectX 9.0: Released in December 2002.It added support for the 2.0 versions of pixel and vertex shaders, high dynamic range rendering, and enhanced anti-aliasing.
  • DirectX 10: Released in November 2006. It was the first version of DirectX to be exclusive to Windows Vista and later operating systems. It introduced support for geometry shaders, and also introduced a new graphics driver model called the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM).
  • DirectX 11: Released in October 2009. Updates to Direct3D and Direct2D are added, as well as multithreading support for compute shaders.
  • DirectX 12: Released in July 2015. It introduced support for low-level graphics programming, as well as support for asynchronous compute, explicit multi-adapter, and other advanced features.
  • DirectX 12 Ultimate: Released in March 2020. It is the latest version of DirectX, and introduces support for ray tracing, mesh shaders, variable rate shading, and other advanced features. It is supported on Windows 10 and Xbox Series X|S consoles.

DirectX Uses (elements)

DirectX’s essential elements include:

  • Direct3D: This API is used for providing 3D graphics in applications and games.
  • Direct2D: To generate 2D visuals and text, this API is necessary.
  • DirectCompute: This API is used for general-purpose computing on the GPU.
  • DirectSound: This API is used for handling sound and audio in applications and games.
  • DirectInput: This API is used to manage input from gadgets like game controllers, mouse, and keyboards.
  • DirectPlay: This API is used for network communication and multiplayer gaming.
  • DirectMusic: This API is used for handling music and MIDI data in applications and games.

Overall, DirectX gives programmers a complete collection of tools and APIs for building graphics- and multimedia-intensive Windows programmes and games.

Popular APIs for Graphics and Gaming

The following are a graphics and gaming popular APIs that are used by developers:

DirectX: Microsoft created the DirectX collection of APIs, which is used in games and multimedia programmes that run on Windows to manage graphics, sound, input, and networking.

Metal: Developed by Apple, Metal is similar to Vulkan and DirectX 12 in capabilities but is optimized for Apple’s hardware and software platforms.

OpenGL: it was created by Khronos Group, for 2D & 3D graphics which is used on Windows, mac, Linux and android.

WebGL: it is a web-based API created by Khronos Group used in web browsers using JavaScript and OpenGL.

Vulkan: Also developed by the Khronos Group, Vulkan is a low-level graphics API that provides more direct access to the hardware and can be used to achieve high performance in graphics and compute applications.

Unity: Develop games for desktop, mobile, and web, using its own API for controlling visuals, physics, sound, and input.

Unreal Engine: mainly, used to create games for consoles, smartphones, and desktop computers.

These APIs and game engines that are used by developers.

Difference Between OpenGL & DirectX?

OpenGL and DirectX are two different graphics APIs used for develop graphics in video games.

Performance: Both APIs can achieve similar performance, but DirectX is often favored by developers working on Windows because it is optimized for that platform.

Industry Adoption: Historically, DirectX has been more widely adopted by game developers, especially those working on Windows platforms.

Platform support: DirectX is developed and supported by Microsoft, so it’s mainly used on Windows platforms.

Ease of Use: DirectX is often considered easier to use, with a more straight forward and consistent API.

DirectX, on the other hand, has a more rigid structure, with a fixed pipeline that handles most of the rendering work automatically.

Another difference is the level of support and documentation available for each API.

While DirectX is often the preferred choice for Windows-based games, OpenGL is a viable option for cross-platform applications and has a dedicated following in certain industries.

Difference Between DirectX 12 vs DirectX 12 Ultimate

It is designed to maximize the performance of modern graphics hardware while minimizing CPU overhead.

it is designed to support next-generation hardware and provides a more unified development experience across platforms. it supports – ray tracing, variable rate shading, mesh shaders, and sampler feedback.