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The adapter is the physical (or emulated) device and is part of the DXGI api. These adapters are used in multiple APIs (D3D and D2D for example). The device is an abstraction on that that exposes APIs for creation of buffers and performing work in Direct3D. The device is basically what you work with and the adapter is what the device works with.
There's also DXGI_FORMAT_B8G8R8X8_* formats - explicitly no alpha, but still you must expand 24-bit image into 32-bit texture when loading data. In Direct3D11 24-bit and 16-bit formats are gone for good.
Yes. Adapters are your video cards (you can also create a software adapter). First create a DXGIFactory https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/dn268307(v=vs.85).aspx Then query adapters on the device https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/windows/desktop/ff471336(v=vs.85).aspx and last create your device with the adapter your prefer ...
In the case of a masked texture, only fully opaque pixels should update the depth buffer. Any pixel that is partially or completely transparent should not update the depth buffer. Updating the depth buffer will prevent pixels of greater depth from being drawn/calculated, and pixels with alpha need to blend with pixels in the background. If no blending occurs,...
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