Hi Dark,
It is not so much I'm particularly worried about people upgrading
their version of DirectX as much as convenience for the end user here.
During my previous game releases of Final Conflict, Montezuma's
Revenge, and Mysteries of the Ancients the number one technical
support issue and complaint was that the game installs were too
complicated and confusing. Often they made mistakes like installing a
DirectX upgrade before installing .NET which resulted in some missing
libraries and broken compatibility issues. Another common complaint
was the size of the files they needed to download to get my games to
run. They had to download a huge .NET Framework upgrade, a huge
DirectX upgrade,install them, and then download/install my games. A
lot of people wanted me to just make it so they could download and
install it without the hastle of downloading and installing this or
that extra upgrade too. So one of the primary purposes of switching to
C++ was to not only simplify the install, but to take all the guess
work and confusion out of the install by using common Windows
components that should be already present on the end user's machine.
Now obviously if I go with XAudio2 Windows 7 already has this library
installed, and upgrading is more or less optional if you want updates
and bug fixes. On Windows XP you'll likely have to run a DirectX
update to get XAudio2 as it isn't a core part of the Windows XP
operating system by default. Though running the DirectX update tool
can fix that easy enough.So like i said part of my concern here is
simple convenience as well as technical concerns.
DirectSound 8 comes with XP, Vista, and Windows 7 so installing extra
components or upgrades are not necessary. With XAudio2 you may very
well have to run a DirectX upgrade if your directX isn't very
current.Plus XAudio2 is under active development so a version released
a year ago isn't necessarily going to be as stable or bug free as the
current release. So it is probably a good idea that the customer
installs the latest DirectX upgrades anyway to make sure any patches
or bug fixes are applied. I was sort of hoping to save some end users
that extra step.
Although, convenience aside XAudio2 does look like a superior audio
API. As has already been mentioned on list numerous times it is fairly
new, but has a lot going for it. It was designed for a modern PC and
Windows operating system and can take advantage of the higher end
sound cards, processors, and has a much more advanced software mixer
that allows a developer to do things not possible with DirectSound.
Here is a case in point.
As i understand it with XAudio2 you are able to mix sounds, sound
sources, in such a way that you can create truly unique and incredably
realistic sound effects on the fly. Let's take a game like Final
Conflict as our example here. When you destroy a starship with
DirectSound you can either play a single static explosion effect,
randomly select from a list of explosion sounds, or load multiple
sounds into sound buffers and play them together. With XAudio2, as i
understand it, you can remix those sounds in a way to dinamically
create your own unique explosion from multiple sound sources. You can
randomize it so no two explosions sound exactly the same.  Plus you
can apply custom DSP effects further adding a bit of realism or unique
flavor to the audio output.
I'm not too clear on all the specifics on how this is done, but it
does certainly seam like a superior audio API for sure. XAudio2 is to
us what Direct 3D graphics is to the mainstream video game market.
However, given the fact it is a very new and practically an untested
API from my end I'd like to have some end user experiences with it
before proceeding with supporting something I know little to nothing
about personally.

Cheers!

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