A collection of APIs from Microsoft for multimedia related tasks on Microsoft's platforms
Windows 8 / Windows 7 / Windows XP / Windows 2000 / Windows ME / Windows 98 SE / Windows 98
DirectX Redistributable is a set of runtime files based on APIs that developers can include with their software and end users can install on their computer. DirectX is Microsoft's successor to OpenGL technology to provide high quality gaming and multimedia experience. It provides direct support for games to access the mouse, keyboard, graphics card, sound card, and game controllers. It provides 3D graphics to make games seem more realistic and 3D sound to immerse players in their game's environment.
DirectX was used as the basis for the Xbox and Xbox 360 game consoles. It is also present on Windows Phone 8, Windows RT, and is incorporated into every Intel based version of Windows as of the second version of Windows 95. Support for Windows 95, 98, 2000, and XP has discontinued in later versions of DirectX.
In recent times, features have been added to the core code of DirectX. This was to support multithreading for multicore processors and graphics cards with a dedicated processor for advanced 3D rendering.
In 2006, Microsoft implemented technology called the XNA Framework. This technology simplifies integration of DirectX into games and was a major improvement for programmers. By reducing complexity in development, Microsoft was able to encourage many new developers to enter the PC and Xbox game arenas. DirectX is one of the factors that helped the Xbox line of consoles to become successful.
Microsoft has worked hard to provide mathematical functions to boost the speed of 3D rendering and animation in the latest versions of DirectX. They have also created responsive, robust support for streaming audio and video in Windows and on the Xbox line of game consoles. The DirectShow technology that was originally part of DirectX makes it possible to watch online videos and play DVDs on the computer.
Microsoft has included technology for communication over a local or wide area network to support online game play. This is the technology that helped games like World of Warcraft and Second Life to become the runaway favorites they are today.
There is a technology called Direct Music that allows developers to compose music with rich detail for their games. Developers can use a tool called Direct Music Producer to make their game's sound track.