Microsoft to hawk DirectX for games development

Microsoft is using its appearance at the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Jose, California, this week to talk up how its DirectX suite of Windows multimedia APIs (application programming interfaces) can be used in games development.

The Redmond, Washington company is displaying the latest release of the software -- DirectX 8.0a. -- at the GDC show, and will host a DirectX Developers Day at the event today. Microsoft first released DirectX in 1995 as a standard Windows platform on which developers could create multimedia applications.

The latest version of DirectX 8.0, released in November last year, includes a Direct3D API to allow the creation of more life-like shading effects, particularly in relation to lighting. The software also contains the DirectPlay API, which offers integrated support for voice communication.

The GDC kicked off Tuesday and runs until Saturday, and is being held in the San Jose Convention Center. Later in the week, Microsoft will provide GDC attendees with an update on the status of its Xbox video gaming console, which the vendor unveiled in January at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Microsoft's J Allard, self-styled Minister of the Third Party for the Xbox platform, and Seamus Blackley, director of the company's advanced technology group, will be giving a keynote address Friday at GDC. The title of their joint speech is "Xbox: One Year Later," and the pair intend to provide more details on the device along with new Xbox demos and rumored surprise guests. When Microsoft Chairman and Chief Software Architect Bill Gates launched Xbox in January, the special guest was World Wrestling Federation star The Rock.

Xbox is due to begin shipping in the US in the third quarter of this year.

Information about GDC can be found online at http://www.gdconf.com/.

Microsoft, based in Redmond, Washington, can be reached via the Internet at http://www.microsoft.com/.

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