Why Visual Basic and DirectX?
So we come down to the question of why DirectX is now available to Visual Basic developers but wasn't available before. To understand this issue, you need to see how VB has evolved as a viable programming language.
The Evolution of Visual Basic
Visual Basic is an offshoot of an early programming language: BASIC. Personal computer users have always used BASIC and other languages like Pascal to create their own simple, personal games. However, BASIC was not widely accepted as an efficient enough language to create serious, mass-produced video games.
After the creation of the Windows OS, most developers still found themselves confined to low-level languages such as C to create applications for this new platform. Microsoft, seeing that it needed as many developers on its side as possible, invested in a new language called Visual Basic. Visual Basic offered an easy-to-use interface, a language that was simple for first-time programmers to grasp, and the ability to create Windows programs quickly.
Although early versions of Visual Basic were not respected in the programming industry, VB soon found its own niche. After outside companies began making new controls and add-on modules for the VB environment, Visual Basic developers became more in demand. They could create a Windows application in half the time a C developer could. The Visual Basic environment, however, was too slow to handle graphics-intensive programming like games. Early VB game programmers had to rely on puzzle games and card games. Until recently. VB didn't have anywhere near C's speed or reliability, but that has changed. With Visual Basic 6, the gap is closing. Many consider Visual Basic 6 to be almost as fast as C++ code. It still lacks some of the true object-oriented aspects of C++, but it's giving C++ a run for its money.
DirectX for the Masses
It was a logical next step for the DirectX team. The bottom line is that the more people use DirectX, the more popular it will be and the quicker it will become the industry standard. DirectX came home to Visual Basic in the form of DirectX 7. First with DirectX 7 and now with version 8, Microsoft has continued and enhanced its commitment to the VB community. DirectX 8 now includes a DirectX type library for VB users and ActiveX-compliant programs to access the advanced graphics, sound, and multiplayer technologies reserved for the C developers. This addition has opened the floodgates for DirectX development. With DirectX, VB developers can now create the games they always wanted, the multimedia projects they had to rely on C++ for, and much more.