Celebrating 20 Years of DirectX 9

Cassie Hoef

The last 20 years have brought countless hours of play to millions of gamers via the DirectX 9 graphics API, with 2,500+ games still being enjoyed today. For the first time, developers experienced the power of high-level shader language (HLSL) combined with pixel and vertex shaders, paving the way for the future of DirectX Raytracing and high-precision floating point color, which would bring new levels of quality and depth to every pixel.  

Microsoft is committed to bringing you a great gaming experience and in honor of the 20th anniversary of DirectX 9, we’re happy continue our dedication to the API through DirectX 9-on-12 Mapping Layers, which will ensure that gamers can continue to enjoy their favorite games for another 20 years.  Happy Anniversary DirectX 9! 

Intel has been providing DirectX 9 support through our 9-on-12 layers since their 12th Gen Intel Core launch in 2021 and will continue to do so with their recently announced Intel Arc GPUs. We are pleased to support this effort, so that Intel can continue innovating and looking to the future while Microsoft provides support for a library of classic games. Keeping games running great on today’s PCs is not just great for gamers now, but vital to preserving a generation of art and entertainment that future gamers can also enjoy  

When we designed DirectX 12, one of our design principles was to create a single API and driver interface capable of both supporting all features from current and past APIs and enabling the next era of graphics innovationDirectX 12 mapping layers for DirectX 9 is one example of the success of this design; developers can write DirectX 9 games and have them automatically run with high performance on any driver with DirectX 12 support, even if there is no built-in support for DirectX 9 appsThis mapping layer approach has the additional advantage that it allows Microsoft and graphics hardware vendors to focus on optimizing and increasing the reliability of DirectX 12What this means for gamers is that any such optimizations will automatically accrue to DirectX 9 games as well, multiplying the efficiency of all engineering work 

Our efforts to help all Windows apps benefit from DirectX 12 isn’t limited to DirectX APIs – we also provide an OpenCL™ and OpenGL® Compatibility Pack. Check out our previous blog posts below for more information about mapping and translation layers from the DirectX team. 

Further Reading:

Open Sourcing Direct3D 9 on 12 and the Release of the DXBC Signer NuGet Package – DirectX Developer Blog (microsoft.com)

Announcing the OpenCL™ and OpenGL® Compatibility Pack for Windows 10 on ARM – DirectX Developer Blog (microsoft.com)

Engineering Arc – 8/19/2022 – Intel Communities

D3D12 Translation Layer and D3D11On12 are now open source – DirectX Developer Blog (microsoft.com) 







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  • Alessio T 1

    what about older version of Direct3D? Are they already wrapped or thunked in some way on modern versions of Windows? I am still happy to being able to play ‘9x era games with my last DX12 ultimate graphics card, but I struggle to think IHVs still spend time and resources for so very old versions of direct3D 😉

    • Jesse NatalieMicrosoft employee 2

      D3D9On12 supports all versions of D3D prior to D3D10. D3D11On12 can be used for D3D10 and D3D11.

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