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The DirectX Tool Kit (aka DirectXTK12) is a collection of helper classes for writing DirectX 12 code in C++

Project README

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DirectX Tool Kit for DirectX 12

Copyright (c) Microsoft Corporation.

February 21, 2024

This package contains the "DirectX Tool Kit", a collection of helper classes for writing Direct3D 12 C++ code for Universal Windows Platform (UWP) apps for Windows 11 and Windows 10, game titles for Xbox Series X|S and Xbox One, and Win32 desktop applications for Windows 11 and Windows 10.

This code is designed to build with Visual Studio 2019 (16.11), Visual Studio 2022, clang for Windows v12 or later, or MinGW 12.2. Use of the Windows 10 May 2020 Update SDK (19041) or later is required for Visual Studio.

These components are designed to work without requiring any content from the legacy DirectX SDK. For details, see Where is the DirectX SDK?.

Directory Layout

  • Inc\

    • Public Header Files (in the DirectX C++ namespace):

      • Audio.h - low-level audio API using XAudio2 (DirectXTK for Audio public header)
      • BufferHelpers.h - C++ helpers for creating D3D resources from CPU data
      • CommonStates.h - common D3D state combinations
      • DDSTextureLoader.h - light-weight DDS file texture loader
      • DescriptorHeap.h - helper for managing DX12 descriptor heaps
      • DirectXHelpers.h - misc C++ helpers for D3D programming
      • EffectPipelineStateDescription.h - helper for creating PSOs
      • Effects.h - set of built-in shaders for common rendering tasks
      • GamePad.h - gamepad controller helper using Windows.Gaming.Input or GameInput
      • GeometricPrimitive.h - draws basic shapes such as cubes and spheres
      • GraphicsMemory.h - helper for managing dynamic graphics memory allocation
      • Keyboard.h - keyboard state tracking helper
      • Model.h - draws meshes loaded from .CMO, .SDKMESH, or .VBO files
      • Mouse.h - mouse helper
      • PostProcess.h - set of built-in shaders for common post-processing operations
      • PrimitiveBatch.h - simple and efficient way to draw user primitives
      • RenderTargetState.h - helper for communicating render target requirements when creating PSOs
      • ResourceUploadBatch.h - helper for managing texture resource upload to the GPU
      • ScreenGrab.h - light-weight screen shot saver
      • SimpleMath.h - simplified C++ wrapper for DirectXMath
      • SpriteBatch.h - simple & efficient 2D sprite rendering
      • SpriteFont.h - bitmap based text rendering
      • VertexTypes.h - structures for commonly used vertex data formats
      • WICTextureLoader.h - WIC-based image file texture loader
      • XboxDDSTextureLoader.h - Xbox exclusive apps variant of DDSTextureLoader
  • Src\

    • DirectXTK source files and internal implementation headers
  • Audio\

    • DirectXTK for Audio source files and internal implementation headers
  • build\

    • Contains YAML files for the build pipelines along with some miscellaneous build files and scripts.

MakeSpriteFont and XWBTool can be found in the DirectX Tool Kit for DirectX 11


Documentation is available on the GitHub wiki.


All content and source code for this package are subject to the terms of the MIT License.

For the latest version of DirectXTK12, bug reports, etc. please visit the project site on GitHub.

Comparisons to DirectX 11 Version

  • No support for Visual Studio Directed Graph Shader Language (DGSL) effect shaders (i.e. DGSLEffect). CMO files are loaded using BasicEffect or SkinnedEffect materials.

  • VertexTypes does not include VertexPositionNormalTangentColorTexture or VertexPositionNormalTangentColorTextureSkinning which were intended for use with the DGSL pipeline.

  • DirectX Tool Kit for DirectX 11 supports Feature Level 9.x, while DirectX 12 requires Direct3D Feature Level 11.0. There are no expected DirectX 12 drivers for any lower feature level devices.

  • The library assumes it is building for Windows 10 (aka _WIN32_WINNT=0x0A00) so it makes use of XAudio 2.9 and WIC2 as well as DirectX 12.

  • DirectX Tool Kit for Audio, GamePad, Keyboard, Mouse, and SimpleMath are identical to the DirectX 11 version.

Release Notes

  • Starting with the February 2023 release, the Mouse class implementation of relative mouse movement was updated to accumulate changes between calls to GetState. By default, each time you call GetState the deltas are reset which works for scenarios where you use relative movement but only call the method once per frame. If you call it more than once per frame, then add an explicit call to EndOfInputFrame to use an explicit reset model instead.

  • As of the September 2022 release, the library makes use of C++11 inline namespaces for differing types that have the same names in the DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 version of the DirectX Tool Kit. This provides a link-unique name such as DirectX::DX12::SpriteBatch that will appear in linker output messages. In most use cases, however, there is no need to add explicit DX12 namespace resolution in client code.

  • In the June 2021 release or later, the VS 2019 projects of this library build the HLSL shaders with Shader Model 6 via DXC. Since the NuGet still builds using VS 2017, the build-in shaders in that version are currently Shader Model 5.1. See this wiki page for more information. The Microsoft GDK projects always use Shader Model 6.

  • Starting with the June 2020 release, this library makes use of typed enum bitmask flags per the recommendation of the C++ Standard section Bitmask types. This may have breaking change impacts to client code:

    • You cannot pass the 0 literal as your flags value. Instead you must make use of the appropriate default enum value: AudioEngine_Default, SoundEffectInstance_Default, ModelLoader_Clockwise, DDS_LOADER_DEFAULT, or WIC_LOADER_DEFAULT.

    • Use the enum type instead of DWORD if building up flags values locally with bitmask operations. For example, WIC_LOADER_FLAGS flags = WIC_LOADER_DEFAULT; if (...) flags |= WIC_LOADER_FORCE_SRGB;

  • The UWP projects and the Win10 classic desktop project include configurations for the ARM64 platform. Building these requires installing the ARM64 toolset.

  • When using clang/LLVM for the ARM64 platform, the Windows 11 SDK (22000) or later is required.

  • The CompileShaders.cmd script must have Windows-style (CRLF) line-endings. If it is changed to Linux-style (LF) line-endings, it can fail to build all the required shaders.


For questions, consider using Stack Overflow with the directxtk tag, or the DirectX Discord Server in the dx12-developers channel.

For bug reports and feature requests, please use GitHub issues for this project.


This project welcomes contributions and suggestions. Most contributions require you to agree to a Contributor License Agreement (CLA) declaring that you have the right to, and actually do, grant us the rights to use your contribution. For details, visit

When you submit a pull request, a CLA bot will automatically determine whether you need to provide a CLA and decorate the PR appropriately (e.g., status check, comment). Simply follow the instructions provided by the bot. You will only need to do this once across all repos using our CLA.

Code of Conduct

This project has adopted the Microsoft Open Source Code of Conduct. For more informatsion see the Code of Conduct FAQ or contact [email protected] with any additional questions or comments.


This project may contain trademarks or logos for projects, products, or services. Authorized use of Microsoft trademarks or logos is subject to and must follow Microsoft's Trademark & Brand Guidelines. Use of Microsoft trademarks or logos in modified versions of this project must not cause confusion or imply Microsoft sponsorship. Any use of third-party trademarks or logos are subject to those third-party's policies.


The DirectX Tool Kit for DirectX 11 is the work of Shawn Hargreaves and Chuck Walbourn, with contributions from Aaron Rodriguez Hernandez and Dani Roman.

The DirectX Tool Kit for DirectX 12 is the work of Pete Lewis, Justin Saunders, and Chuck Walbourn based heavily on the DirectX Tool Kit for DirectX 11.

Thanks to Shanon Drone for the SDKMESH file format.

Thanks to Adrian Tsai for the geodesic sphere implementation.

Thanks to Garrett Serack for his help in creating the NuGet packages for DirectX Tool Kit.

Thanks to Pete Lewis and Justin Saunders for the normal-mapped and PBR shaders implementation.

Thanks for Travis Johnson for the mGPU support.

Thanks to Roberto Sonnino for his help with the CMO format and the VS Starter Kit animation.

Thanks to Richie Meyer for their contribution of Xbox PIX custom memory and type allocation tracking events support.

Thanks to Andrew Farrier and Scott Matloff for their on-going help with code reviews.

Open Source Agenda is not affiliated with "DirectXTK12" Project. README Source: microsoft/DirectXTK12

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