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Legacy D3DX on NuGet


Chuck Walbourn -

If you’ve been following this blog for any period of time, you know that much of it has been spent explaining the deprecated nature of the legacy DirectX SDK, and the options for avoiding the need for it. For Direct3D 11 or later, there’s plenty of good replacement options that are open source, written in modern C++, and simple to include without using a legacy redist solution. Despite all that, there are still some scenarios where D3DX9, D3DX10, and/or D3DX11 are a necessity. There’s now a new option for using D3DX that avoids the need for both the legacy DirectX SDK and the DirectX End-User Runtime (DXSETUP): The Microsoft.DXSDK.D3DX NuGet package (dxsdk-d3dx on vcpkg).

As part of working through the mitigations for the recent SHA-1 deprecation, we were able to revisit the way that legacy D3DX9, D3XD10, and D3DX11 were provided. The NuGet package provides a method for using these deprecated libraries completely independent of the legacy DirectX SDK. Furthermore, the runtime DLLs required are now licensed for “application-local” deployment -and- are SHA-2 Authenticode signed. These are functionality the same binaries as the DirectX SDK (June 2010) release so there’s no bug-fixes or other changes.

This NuGet package is intended to provide a supportable option for existing codebases, as well as for Direct3D 9 and/or Direct3D 10-based games. It can also be used for middleware engines or content tools that continue to rely on the D3DX11 deprecated utility library. For new projects you should prefer to use the open source replacements instead. For on-going projects, plan to move to the open source replacements when feasible.

  • For the HLSL compiler, use the D3DCompile API directly. D3DCompiler_47.dll is available for “application local” redistribution for Windows 7 or later. See this blog post. For Windows 8.1 or Windows 10, it’s already in the OS.

  • For XAudio2 see the XAudio2Redist. The xaudio2redist.dll supports “application local” redistribution. If you require Windows 10, XAudio 2.9 is already in the OS.

  • Use XInput 9.1.0 (Windows 7 or later) or XInput 1.4 (Windows 8 or later) instead of legacy XInput 1.3 per this blog post. These DLLS are included with the OS, so no redistribution is needed.

Updating old samples

In order to provide test coverage for the NuGet package, I’ve ported the Direct3D 9, Direct3D 10, and DirectSound samples from the legacy DirectX SDK. I also included a few Direct3D 11 samples, although I’d strongly recommend looking at the fully modernized versions of Direct3D 11 samples on directx-sdk-samples that use open source replacements exclusively.

These older samples build and run without the legacy DirectX SDK, and just use the Windows 10 SDK plus the Microsoft.DXSDK.D3DX NuGet package. You can find them published on directx-sdk-legacy-samples.

The DirectSound samples use MFC, so you need to have the optional VS 2019 component C++ MFC for latest v142 build tools (x86 & x64) installed.

The only changes here were for updating the VC++ project files, a few minor VS 2019 warning fixes, and the NuGet. I removed all references to the DXSDK_DIR environment variable. I also eliminated all references to dxerr.lib and instead added the dxerr code to DXUT / DXUT11 directly.

Application local deployment

When using the Microsoft.DXSDK.D3DX NuGet package, you do not need to run the DirectX SDK installer or the DirectX End-User Runtime as they use “application local” copies of the D3DX9$(D)_43.DLL, D3DX10$(D)_43.DLL, and/or D3DX11$(D)_43.DLL.

When it comes time to ship your game or application, just ship the D3DX9_43.DLL, D3DX10_43.DLL, and/or D3DX11_43.DLL along with D3DCompiler_43.DLL depending on your usage as part of your normal package. No need for administrative rights to install them, no need to use the DirectSetup API, no registry editing needed. See the NuGet license for more details.

Note you cannot use D3DX9, D3DX10, and/or D3DX11 in a Universal Windows Platforms (UWP) or Xbox app. These DLLs will not pass WACK certification. For those cases, the open source route is the way to go.

For Desktop Bridge “Centennial” apps in the Windows Store, you can use the “DirectX Framework Package” Microsoft.DirectX.x86 / Microsoft.DirectX.x64 to ship using D3DX9, D3DX10, and/or D3DX11.

.X file APIs

One bonus here is that D3DX9_43.DLL includes an implementation of the X-File parser API. These are the ID3DXFile interface and related APIs. The D3DX9xof.H header and d3dx9.lib import library provide access to these APIs.

I plan to make use of it for meshconvert.exe in DirectXMesh to support .X file import.

You should avoid using the older IDirectXFile and d3dxof.lib import library. d3dxof.dll is a 32-bit only DLL and is not supported for x64 native applications.

UPDATE: The initial release of the Microsoft.DXSDK.D3DX package contained header files identical to those that shipped in the legacy DirectX SDK (June 2010). I’ve updated the package with some minor edits to the header files to better integrate with the modern Windows SDKs:

  • D3DX_DXGIFormatConvert.inl updated to rely on DirectXMath rather than XNAMath for C++ support.
  • WINAPI_FAMILY_DESKTOP_APP partitioning for the d3dx9.h, d3dx10.h, and d3dx11.h headers.
  • Converted VS-style SAL to SAL2 for better code analysis support.

See also: The Zombie DirectX SDK