Gaming in Windows Vista
As everyone should already know Ė Windows Vista will be a very good gaming system in the future when DirectX 10 based graphics cards and games come out, right now though that isnít an option for any users. No DirectX 10 cards have final drivers out as we have reached RTM and although one DirectX 10 game is out (Company of Heroes), the patch to update it isnít! So right now there is little to interest gamers who want to see what DirectX 10 performance gains there might be.
The latest version of the multimedia API suite features incredibly fast DLLs, heavily enhanced 3D graphics rendering capabilities, and something Microsoft calls Unified Architecture (UA). By relieving demand on the CPU through API streamlining, DirectX 10 should increase game performance noticeably, helped by the UA, which will effectively combine several stages of the 3D graphics pipeline into one. Note that DirectX 10 won't be compatible with earlier DirectX versions, and it won't be released for Windows XP. For backward compatibility with current games and hardware, Microsoft includes DirectX 9L in Windows Vista.
But gaming under Windows Vista isnít just based on graphics, sound plays a major part too and there are lots of sound changes under the hood that many users may not know about or may not even care about, but if you want to play lots of your old games on Vista then its important that you know some facts.
Gaming Audio in Windows Vista
Firstly Microsoft has moved most of the Windows Audio System directly into Vista itself and out of hardware and drivers. This means that DirecSound3D is no longer hardware accelerated and EAX based effects may never work fully with it again. This doesnít mean all cards will be affected and some software drivers such as OpenAL which Creative Labs uses and has been used in an increasing number of games will be the saving grace for hardware sound. Creative have released a small program that can add EAX effects back into some DirectSound EAX titles by adjusting how the sound files work, but this is only in early beta form at the moment.