Microsoft releases updated Direct3D 10 tech preview

Redmond (WA) - Game developers on Tuesday received an updated set of graphics APIs for games running under Windows Vista and the next version of Microsoft multimedia driver DirectX. The April DirectX SDK comes with a v.10 High level shading language (HLSL) compiler and more details on how to use Direct3D 10.

Slowly but surely we are seeing Microsoft's next DirectX platform taking shape. The most recent driver update, published today, does not reveal much of the functionality to users yet, but game developers will be able to send their code through another update and test track.

According to the blog of Sebastien St-Laurent, a software engineer in Microsoft's Game Studios, the April technology preview "provides reference material, conceptual content, developer libraries, tutorials and samples that demonstrate how to use Direct3D 10."

Among the significant updates is an updated version of the HLSL compiler, which is used to create vertex or pixel operations. While the February preview was still based on Direct3 D9 shader models, the latest version apparently is a 10th generation compiler and delivers several new features for Shader Model 3.0 and below.

St-Laurent also mentioned that the kit includes two new samples demonstrating displacement mapping on dynamic objects and multi-stream rendering, which should benefit the surface detail level game developers can apply to objects and result in more realistic images overall.

Microsoft is expected to release DirectX 10 simultaneously with the launch of Windows Vista, which is currently scheduled for February of 2007. However, sources claim that there will not be an immediate transition from DirectX9 to version 10. Both versions will co-exist for some - however, DirectX 10 will only work with Windows Vista and will not be compatible Windows XP.

Related article:
Download of SDK from Sebastien St-Laurent's blog

Microsoft quietly releases first glimpse at DirectX 10