DirectX/C++ in VS 2012 and VS 2013, little known secrets to keep you in the dark

In what might seem like a scheme to keep you in the dark, there are features carefully hidden in Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 Professional, Ultimate and Premium.  Now these features aren’t so much as hidden really or secret, but rather just poorly documented, almost as if they didn’t exist.  Really. 

I will now reveal these deep secrets to you! 

And of course there are plenty of material online explaining this, but the number of people that I talk to do not seem to know about the material, I have included links where I can find them, can you?  Maybe it is some sort of plan to keep you in the dark about the wonderful new capabilities.

(So this is just an attempt at silly headings.  I just want you to be aware of the available material.  )


DDS or DirectDraw Surface editor

Yep, there is a DDS editor under the Add-New-Graphics menu.  So if you felt that you needed to install one of the earlier versions of DirectX, you don’t.

Why haven’t you been told about this?  Well if you had, you wouldn’t be reading this blog, so it works for me.

Graphics Tools

Top Secret:

3-D editor

There is a 3D editor on par to Blender carefully hidden in all versions of Visual Studio 2012 and 2013 that is available to you.  Again, you get to the editor using: Add-New-Graphics menu.  But there is an added mystery, how do you add things like Cubes, Cones, even a Teapot?  Well you get to these things via the toolbox, which you might not notice on the left or right side.

Why haven’t you been told about this: See above, and it allows your friends to make fun of DirectX and C++.

Roberto’s visual starter kit and the three part training are some excellent documents on how to use this extremely useful tool.

Other more conventional approach (some with links in document):


Tip-Top Uber Secret:

Visual Shader Graph

This is just soooo cool, I have no idea yet how to use it, and it doesn’t seem to be a tutorial anywhere I can find, but there is some documentation (now) for both VS 2012 and VS 2013.

Working with Shaders

Shader Designer Examples