Microsoft is preparing a fall 1999 release for DirectX 7.0, the next major revision of the company's multimedia APIs. Kevin Bachus talked to Gamespot recently about the changes that are coming, including the news that Windows 2000 is now the preferred development platform.

"The goal is for developers to use Windows 2000 for the development platform but still target the titles for Windows 95/98," Bachus notes.

Direct3D is getting the lion's share of new features and performance gains, including hardware acceleration of lighting effects and transform acceleration. The company is also improving its DirectX extension technology that allows for add-ons like OpenGL.

And, of course, after DirectX 7.0, Microsoft will release DirectX 8.0 sometime in late 2000. This version will incorporate features from Microsoft's Fahrenheit project, a high-end graphics technology co-developed with SGI