DirectX Versions

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This is a description of what each version of DirectX is capable of, for reference when creating fallback materials. Under each heading are features not available in previous versions of DirectX.

To test lower-quality DirectX levels on a more advanced graphics card, use the mat_dxlevel console CVAR. Set it to 60, 70, 80, 81 or 90 to set the corresponding DirectX version; it is not possible to run at a higher level than the graphics hardware is capable of.

DirectX Capabilities

DirectX 6

DirectX 7

  • Blob shadows
  • Displacement map texture blending

DirectX 8.0

  • Refractions with the use of a du/dv map
  • Dynamic shadows
  • Directional lighting on world brushes using normal maps
  • Bumpmaps and other shaders
  • Cubed specular maps

DirectX 8.1

  • Soft edge dynamic shadows

DirectX 9

  • Refractions with the use of a bump map
  • True reflection for water
  • Softer edge dynamic shadows
  • Normal-mapped lighting on models
  • Improved-quality specular effects

Sample Screenshots


DirectX 6.0 Zombie dx6.jpg
DirectX 7.0 Zombie dx7.jpg
DirectX 8.0 Zombie dx8.jpg
DirectX 8.1 Zombie dx81.jpg
DirectX 9.0 Zombie dx9.jpg