Programing experiments

Introducing DirectX to WPF

I started to learn DirectX. I wanted, of course, to use it in a WPF environment. I don’t hope to write a game (yet?) but I thought it would be a good API for high performance data visualization. Or simply capturing and tweaking web cam output.

I discovered SharpDX by Alexandre Mutel, which is a 100% managed wrapper. Better yet, it performs better than all other managed wrapper it seems! At least according to this this.

To start with DirectX you need to download the DirectX SDK which is good because it contains tons of tutorials and samples.

I started by rewriting all the 7 MSDN tutorials in C#. I try to write code very close to the original C++ (for comparison purpose) yet beautified (thanks to C#!), I shall say it came out well! Smile



Speaking of which, when you work with DirectX you have to write (pixel, vertex, hull, etc…) shaders (introduction). Basically they are little program that convert the data from one graphic processing stage to an other. The shader code look remotely like a simple C file with some extra.

Once again, thanks again to Alexandre Mutel, I found an extension for VS2010 which provide syntax colouring for shaders, NShader.

With that shader program are much easier to read, behold:

struct VS_INPUT
    float4 Pos : POSITION;
    float3 Norm : NORMAL;

struct PS_INPUT
    float4 Pos : SV_POSITION;
    float3 Norm : TEXCOORD0;

// Vertex Shader
    PS_INPUT output = (PS_INPUT)0;
    output.Pos = mul( input.Pos, World );
    output.Pos = mul( output.Pos, View );
    output.Pos = mul( output.Pos, Projection );
    output.Norm = mul( input.Norm, World );
    return output;


So, how does this all work?


From WPF’s point of view, the DirectX code is to be rendered into a Texture2D and the Texture2D to be displayed with a D3DImage.

It starts with:

public class DXImageSource : D3DImage, IDisposable
    public void Invalidate()

    public void SetBackBuffer(SharpDX.Direct3D10.Texture2D texture)
    public void SetBackBuffer(SharpDX.Direct3D11.Texture2D texture)
    public void SetBackBuffer(SharpDX.Direct3D9.Texture texture)

With this subclass of D3DImage you can directly set a SharpDX / DirectX Texture2D as the back buffer of the image (Remark that they should be created with ResourceOptionFlags.Shared, as they will be access by the D3DImage through a shared D3D9 interface).

This ImageSource could very well be used in a Image class. But to provide continuous updating, resizing, etc.. I created the following FrameworkElement:

public interface IDirect3D
    void Reset(ResetArgs args);
    void Render(RenderArgs args);

public class DXElement : FrameworkElement
{ public DXImageSource Surface { get; } public IDirect3D Renderer public bool IsLoopRendering }

Then the DXElement does very little by itself. It handles resize event. If IsLoopRendering is true it renders its Renderer every frame. It capture mouse and forward to the Render if it implements IInteractiveRenderer (which D3D does).


And that’s it for the UI.


From the DirectX point of view I provide a few class (The D3D tree) that just create an appropriate Device and have virtual method to override to render.


What’s next?

  • Direct2D1 only works with Direct3D10 I’d like to make it works with Direct3D11
  • There are still many thing I’d like to know to be reasonably confident, so I (just) started to implement various sample which will show some interesting aspect of DirectX. (1 completed so far)

Could you get the code?
well.. it’s all on CodePlex!

Tags: ,
Categories: DirectX | WPF
Permalink | Comments (0) | Post RSSRSS comment feed
blog comments powered by Disqus