Hi Ken,

Ken wrote:

I don't know what xaudio2 is, but personally directX is terrible when
it comes to
3d audio.

My reply:

XAudio2 is the new audio API for DirectX 10 and DirectX 11 that began
shipping with Windows Vista and Windows 7. DirectSound is deprecated,
no longer supported by Microsoft, and only ships with the DirectX
runtime as legacy support for XP and earlier. Most newer games for the
PC now are switching over to XAudio2 as that has largely replaced
DirectSound as the audio API for Windows games.That's why libraries
like dx8vb.dll and so on are becoming so out of date.

Ken wrote:

stay away from dx8!  I don't know how the latest directx is doing, but hopefully
it's a lot better than dx8.

My reply:

Well, there have been a number of major changes in the DirectX API
since DirectX 8 as you can imagine. DirectSound has been phased out in
favor of XAudio2 which is a superior audio API. DirectInput is still
being used, but there is a new library, XInput, that will eventually
phase DirectInput out. XInput was written to provide cross-platform
support for game controllers between the XBox 360 and PC games.
Direct3D 11 is of course far superior in the graphics rendering
department than was Directdraw 8. Unfortunately, if you are interested
in using Direct3D 11 you must have Windows 7 as Direct3D 11 is not
available on Windows XP, and nor does Microsoft plan on making a
version available for XP.

Ken wrote:

 I wouldn't really even think of switching from vb6
to vb .nett except that my hopes are that I'll be able to use Openal
or Directx 11 (and that
dx11 will be much better than dx8.)

My reply:

Well, as far as OpenAL goes there are a couple of ways to use it.
There is an API called SFML which has a .net managed version for C#
.net and VB .net. The thing is that there is a critical bug in the
graphics renderer that causes SFML to crash on Windows computers.
However, seams to work fine on Mac and Linux.

The other option is there is suppose to be a .net implamentation of
OpenAL in development, but the project hasn't been updated in ages.
You would probably have to checkout the source, update the API
yourself, before using it in a C# .net application. From what I seen
of the OpenAL for .net project it has a long ways to go before it is
ready for serious game development.

However, there is a better option here. Since you are writing free
games you could always use FMOD Ex by firelight technology. FMOD has
3d audio support plus can load and play a number of file types like
ogg, mp3, wma, wav, aif, and so on. In terms of an audio library it is
the best solution for a developer in my opinion.

As far as DirectX 11 goes I haven't checked out SlimDX in quite a
while, but last I heard they were upgrading SlimDX to include DirectX
11 support. I do know that SlimDX, an open source managed wrapper for
DirectX, has support for most of the DirectX libraries such as
DirectInput, DirectSound, XAudio2, Direct3D, and so on.

The problem with DirectX 11 you will encounter is that it is Windows 7
specific. That is in order to use DirectX 11 components like Direct3D
11 you need to upgrade to Windows 7. Unfortunately, beginning with
Windows Vista Microsoft began creating Windows specific versions of
DirectX which will make your job as a game developer more difficult.
If you only have XP your out of luck if you want certain DirectX 11
components. Direct3D 11 is one such component I am sure will not run
on XP at all.

Your best option at this point would be to aim for DirectX 9. At least
if you use Direct3D 9, XAudio2, etc you would maintain compatibility
with XP as well as support Windows 7 too. It is just that you won't
get all the extras that something like Direct3D 11 might offer.


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