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Vole punts DX10.1

New audio tech to replace DirectSound
Wed Aug 01 2007, 10:41
SCARCELY HAVE WE managed to get to grips with DirectX 10, and Microsoft is already bringing out a significant revision to the technology.

The Volistas have announced the availability of the beta of DX10.1, which, as the numbers may have suggested to you, is an incremental update for DX10.

What's updated? Well, the big news is in audio. A new technology dubbed XAudio 2 is going to replace DirectSound, and the first look is in here. This is the same technology as is used in Xbox 360, and will enable easier cross-platform development when it comes to audio.

The main components of the technology includes sophisticated multi-channel and audio spatialisation support. 5.1 sound has been used well on Xbox and 360 titles, and MS is hoping that it can push PC games in the same direction. Also included is better support for multi-core processors, enabling a sufficiently sophisticated CPU to do a bit of the audio processing legwork.

Sound on Windows Vista, when it comes to games, has so far been a bit of a disaster. By changing the way that Vista implemented DirectSound instructions at a low-level, Microsoft single-handedly killed off surround sound and DSP effects in games through the well-established EAX protocols, something Creative is only now begining to tackle with some thoroughness.

Also on the cards for DX10.1 is a new revision to the graphics subsystem, which will move to Shader Model 4.1. This adds thrilling features such as a dynamically selective sample pattern for MSAA, better resource handling and TextureCube Arrays. We're not sure what those are.

The beta SDK is right here, but be warned - you need to be running Windows Vista SP1 beta to get it to work, and SP1 beta isn't out yet. Although its requirement here does suggest that it is imminent, so watch out for that one. µ


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