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Thursday, November 18, 2010

SharpDX, a new managed .Net DirectX API available

If you have followed my previous work on a new .NET API for Direct3D 11,  I proposed SlimDX team this solution for the v2 of their framework, joined their team around one month ago, and I was actively working to widen the coverage of the DirectX API. I have been able to extend the API coverage almost up to the whole API, being able to develop Direct2D samples, as well as XAudio2 and XAPO samples using it. But due to some incompatible directions that the SlimDX team wanted to follow, I have decided to release also my work under a separate project called SharpDX. Now, you may wonder why I'm releasing this new API under a separate project from SlimDX?

Well, I have been working really hard on this from the beginning of September, and I explained why in my previous post about Direct3D 11. I have checked-in lots of code under the v2 branch on SlimDX, while having lots of discussion with the team (mostly Josh which is mostly responsible for v2) on their devel mailing list. The reason I'm leaving SlimDX team is that It was in fact not clear for me that I was not enrolled as part of the decision for the v2 directions, although  I was bringing a whole solution (by "whole", I mean a large proof of concept, not something robust, finished). At some point, Josh told me that Promit, Mike and himself, co-founders of SlimDX, were the technical leaders of this project and they would have the last word on the direction as well as for decisions on the v2 API.

Unfortunately, I was not expecting to work in such terms with them, considering that I had already made 100% of the whole engineering prototype for the next API. From the last few days, we had lots of -small- technical discussions, but for some of them, I clearly didn't agree about the decisions that were taken, whatever the arguments I was trying to give to them. This is a bit of disappointment for me, but well, that's life of open source projects. This is their project and they have other plans for it. So, I have decided to release the project on my own with SharpDX although you will see that the code is also currently exactly the same on the v2 branch of SlimDX (of course, because until yesterday, I was working on the SlimDX v2 branch).

But things are going to change for both projects : SlimDX is taking the robust way (for which I agree) but with some decisions that I don't agree (in terms of implementation and direction). Although, as It may sound weird, SharpDX is not intended to compete with SlimDX v2 : They have clearly a different scope (supporting for example Direct3D 9, which I don't really care in fact), different target and also different view on exposing the API and a large existing community already on SlimDX. So SharpDX is primarily  intended for my own work on demomaking. Nothing more. I'm releasing it, because SlimDX v2 is not going to be available soon, even for an alpha version. On my side, I'm considering that the current state (although far to be as clean as It should be) of the SharpDX API is usable and I'm going to use it on my own, while improving the generator and parser, to make the code safer and more robust.

So, I did lots of work to bring new API into this system, including :
  • Direct3D 10
  • Direct3D 10.1
  • Direct3D 11
  • Direct2D 1
  • DirectWrite
  • DXGI
  • DXGI 1.1
  • D3DCompiler
  • DirectSound
  • XAudio2
  • XAPO
And I have been working also on some nice samples, for example using Direct2D and Direct3D 10, including the usage of the tessellate Direct2D API, in order to see how well It works compared to the gluTessellation methods that are most commonly used. You will find that the code is extremely simple in SharpDX to do such a thing :
using System;
using System.Drawing;
using SharpDX.Direct2D1;
using SharpDX.Samples;

namespace TessellateApp
    /// Direct2D1 Tessellate Demo.
    public class Program : Direct2D1DemoApp, TessellationSink
        EllipseGeometry Ellipse { get; set; }
        PathGeometry TesselatedGeometry{ get; set; }
        GeometrySink GeometrySink { get; set; }

        protected override void Initialize(DemoConfiguration demoConfiguration)

            // Create an ellipse
            Ellipse = new EllipseGeometry(Factory2D,
                                          new Ellipse(new PointF(demoConfiguration.Width/2, demoConfiguration.Height/2), demoConfiguration.Width/2 - 100,
                                                      demoConfiguration.Height/2 - 100));

            // Populate a PathGeometry from Ellipse tessellation 
            TesselatedGeometry = new PathGeometry(Factory2D);
            GeometrySink = TesselatedGeometry.Open();
            // Force RoundLineJoin otherwise the tesselated looks buggy at line joins

            // Tesselate the ellipse to our TessellationSink
            Ellipse.Tessellate(1, this);

            // Close the GeometrySink

        protected override void Draw(DemoTime time)

            // Draw the TextLayout
            RenderTarget2D.DrawGeometry(TesselatedGeometry, SceneColorBrush, 1, null);

        void TessellationSink.AddTriangles(Triangle[] triangles)
            // Add Tessellated triangles to the opened GeometrySink
            foreach (var triangle in triangles)
                GeometrySink.BeginFigure(triangle.Point1, FigureBegin.Filled);

        void TessellationSink.Close()

        static void Main(string[] args)
            Program program = new Program();
            program.Run(new DemoConfiguration("SharpDX Direct2D1 Tessellate Demo"));

This simple example is producing the following ouput :

which is pretty cool, considering the amount of code (although the Direct3D 10 and D2D initialization part would give a larger code), I found this to be much simpler than the gluTessellation API.

You will find also some other samples, like the XAudio2 ones, generating a synthesized sound with the usage of the reverb, and even some custom XAPO sound processors!

You can grab those samples on SharpDX code repository (there is a SharpDXBinAndSamples.zip with a working solutions with all the samples I have been developing so far, with also MiniTris sample from SlimDX).

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Hacking Direct2D to use directly Direct3D 11 instead of Direct3D 10.1 API

Disclaimer about this hack: This hack was nothing more than a proof of concept and I *really* don't have time to dig into any kind of bugs related to it.

[Edit]13 Jan 2011, After Windows Update KB2454826, this hack was not working. I have patched the sample to make it work again. Of course, you shouldn't consider this hack for anykind of production use. Use the standard DXGI shared sync keyed mutex instead. This hack is just for fun![/Edit]

If you know Direct3D 11 and Direct 2D - they were released almost at the same time - you already know that there is a huge drawback to use Direct 2D : It's in fact only working with Direct3D 10.1 API (although It's working with older hardware thanks to the new feature level capability of the API).

From a coding user point of view, this is really disappointing that such a good API doesn't rely on the latest Direct3D API... moreover when you know that the Direct3D 11 API is really close to the Direct3D 10.1 API... In the end, more work are required for a developer that would like to work with Direct3D 11, as It doesn't have any more Text API for example, meaning that in D3D11, you have to do it yourself, which isn't a huge task itself, if you go to the easy precalculated-texture-of-fonts generated by some GDI+ calls or whatever, but still... this is annoying specially when you need to display some information/FPS on the screen and you can't wait to build a nice font-texture-based system...

I'm not completely fair with Direct2D interoperability with Direct3D 11 : there is in fact a well known solution proposed by one guy from DirectX Team that imply the use of DXGI mutex to synchronized a surface shared between D3D10.1 and D3D11. I was expecting this issue to be solved in some DirectX SDK release this year, but It seems that there is no plan to release in the near future an update for Direct2D (see my question in the comments and the anwser...)... WP7 and XNA are probably getting much more attention here...

So last week, I took some time on the Direct2D API and found that It's in fact fairly easy to hack Direct2D and redirect all the D3D10.1 API calls to a real Direct3D 11 instance... and this is a pretty cool news! Here is the story of this little hack...