KarbosGuide.com. Module 7c5.

PC sound - continued

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  • DOS or DirectX
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  • DOS or DirectX

    When so many games used to be DOS based, it primarily was because of the sound. Under DOS the programmer can modify and manipulate the sound card to a very high extent. It can be controlled very precisely, sounds can be mixed without interruption, and all kinds of effects can be designed. Here DOS proves very effective - the operating system permits direct control of the hardware.

    The disadvantage with DOS sound is, that the hardware must be totally standardized. This gave the Sound Blaster card its great success.


    In Windows all program instructions to hardware are executed through a programming layer (API).

    The first multimedia API would not allow mixing of sounds. Therefore the music in the Windows-based game had to be cut off, if there was a need for playing such a thing as the sound of an explosion. This put heavy restraints on programming creativity. Consequently DOS based game applications remained long into the Windows era. But it changed ...


    DirectX is a set of multimedia APIs ( application program interface ) developed for Windows . It is a collection of programs which enable much improved low level control over the hardware in games and other multimedia applications. DirectX has now reached version 6.1 and includes:

  • DirectDraw
  • DirectSound
  • DiectSound3D
  • DirectPlay
  • DirectInput
  • DirectSetup

    These programs are designed to enable all possible image and sound effects.

    The advantage of DirectX is that the applications can be written directly to Windows and simultaneously get maximum hardware control. Hence DirectX is very important to hardware manufactures. To make sure that the new products work together with all software, the drivers have support the latest version of DirectX.

    With DirectX we should finally have eliminated the need for programs to rely on Sound Blaster compatibility.

    DirectX comes in new versions every year.

    In version 7.0 you find improved 3D acceleration of sound as well as picture with reduced CPU usage. The performance should be increased with 20% compared to version 6.1.

    Windows 2000 was the first NT-based version of Windows to include DirectX.

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    Also see: Module 7d - about digital music: MP3s, MODs etc.

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