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Direct3D offers full vertex software emulation but no pixel software emulation for features not available in hardware.
For example, if software programmed using Direct3D requires pixel shaders and the video card on the user's computer does not support that feature, Direct3D will not emulate it, although it will compute and render the polygons and textures of the 3D models, albeit at a usually degraded quality and performance compared to the hardware equivalent.
For Direct X 2.0 and 3.0, the Direct3D immediate mode used an "execute buffer" programming model that Microsoft hoped hardware vendors would support directly.
Execute buffers were intended to be allocated in hardware memory and parsed by the hardware to perform the 3D rendering.
Besides adding Direct Music support for the first time, this release improved support for Intel Pentium III 3D extensions.
They were extremely awkward to program, however, hindering adoption of the new API and prompting calls for Microsoft to adopt Open GL as the official 3D rendering API for games as well as workstation applications. Direct3D) Rather than adopt Open GL as a gaming API, Microsoft chose to continue improving Direct3D, not only to be competitive with Open GL, but to compete more effectively with proprietary APIs such as 3dfx's Glide.
From the beginning, the immediate mode also supported Talisman's tiled rendering with the Begin Scene/End Scene methods of the IDirect3DDevice interface.
Another was Tri Tech's proprietary bump mapping technique.
Microsoft included these features in Direct X, then added them to the requirements needed for drivers to get a Windows logo to encourage broad adoption of the features in other vendors' hardware.