What is Direct X, and why do games keep on requesting different versions?

I am not very experienced with computers, and was wondering what Direct X actually does, on my PC.

Why do various games request different versions? Should the latest version cover all of them, or do certain games only support specific versions?


TL;DR: DirectX is a redistributed library that helps the game talk to your hardware. DirectX should support earlier versions, and as PTwr suggests, is often the culprit of “missing DLL d3dx9_[somenumber].dll” messages. The required version should always be included as part of a game’s installation process, so you often end up with multiple versions.

DirectX is simply the software in the middle, that acts as the translator between your graphic card and the game you are playing, among other things1. It is essential that you have the version required of by the video game, or higher. As far as I have seen, having the newer version should not be an issue; however, I have never seen a game that did not come with the required DirectX version in its installer, so there really shouldn’t be a problem either way.

Newer versions of DirectX work with newer graphic card features; for example, a game using DirectX 9 has less to work with graphically than a game using DirectX 10, theoretically. That does not account for developer ability, of course.

To elaborate on why we need it, every computer graphic card speaks a different language. A set of cards from the same manufacturer might speak almost the same language, but it will not be exact, like two people speaking Chinese except with different dialects. In the early days of computer gaming, you would need to ensure that your graphic card was actually listed as a supported card. You would have to go through a small list of cards and try and find your exact model number. And if the developers decided they did not want to deliberately add the support, too bad. Computers can be incredibly difficult to work with, even with the slightest inconsistency. A full stop in the wrong place could crash your entire system.

DirectX was created as a means to combat this obvious problem. Game developers would write to use the DirectX libraries, as would graphics card manufacturers. These days, instead of having to search for your card model between a list of potentially hundreds of listed models, you instead only have to ensure your graphics card is compatible with that DirectX version.

As a side note, DirectX was created by Microsoft. As a result, any game with express DirectX requirements will likely only run correctly on Windows. This is why it is rather difficult to play most games on a *nix- or Mac-based system.

1 DirectX has grown to facilitate other media functions, within Windows, but it is primarily associated with the graphical capabilities. Technically, the graphics component of DirectX is known as Direct3D, while other parts include DirectShow for media, DirectWrite for fonts, etc.

Source : Link , Question Author : user4485 , Answer Author : oldmud0

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