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What is Direct X?

Direct X is an API that helps you play video games on Windows devices. But what does that mean, and why are they important?

For the answers to these questions and more, here is everything you need to know about Direct X.

What is an API?

Before we start looking at what Direct X is in too much depth, we need to run through what an API is. API stands for Application Programme Interface and it is a set of programming code that enables different applications to communicate with each other.

In a nutshell, API is software that will deliver a request. This comes in many forms, like a hotel website finding the rate for a specific room on a particular date, or the weather app requesting the relevant information for today’s forecast from a database.

There are countless uses for APIs and you are likely to engage with them every day without even noticing, as they make it much easier for us to find out helpful information without having to delve into the original server.

What is Direct X?

As you may have guessed, Direct X is an API. In a similar fashion to Vulkan, it communicates with your laptop or PC’s GPU to tell it which parts of your game it needs to render, such as characters or environments.

Direct X was introduced by Microsoft to allow communication between games and video cards on Windows devices, as Windows 95 actually restricted access to some forms of hardware for security reasons.

While Direct X is not the only API out there for gamers, like the aforementioned Vulkan, it is native to Windows which makes it a great option for anyone with a Windows device.

What is Direct X 12?

Direct X 12 was officially launched in 2015 and is the upgraded version of the vanilla Direct X. It comes with a couple of new features, with the most notable being Direct X Raytracing 1.1.

DXR 1.1 allows for supported games to enable a computer GPU to turn on and control ray tracing without needing to inform the CPU, making it a quicker process overall. This is more effective when rendering in-focus objects and it leads to improved frame rates overall.

Why is Direct X important?

Direct X, up to Direct X 12, makes it easier for game developers to develop immersive and graphically-impressive games that can be played on multiple platforms. It means that games can be compatible with Direct X, rather than a specific graphics card, which will allow them to run well regardless of the platform.

The latest Xbox Series X and Series S consoles also utilise Direct X, which makes it easy to PC games to be ported over to the Xbox and vice versa.

Which games support Direct X?

Direct X has been developing a growing since 1995, meaning that there are a fair few games that support it.

Here are some of the most noticeable games that use some form of Direct X below:

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