This is a native Direct3D 11 implementation of the SpriteBatch helper from XNA Game Studio, providing identical functionality and API.


The SpriteBatch class requires a Direct3D 11 device context for drawing.

std::unique_ptr<SpriteBatch> spriteBatch(new SpriteBatch(deviceContext));
For exception safety, it is recommended you make use of the C++ RAII pattern and use a std::unique_ptr or std::shared_ptr

Simple drawing

spriteBatch->Draw(texture, XMFLOAT2(x, y));
The Draw method has many overloads with parameters controlling:
  • Specify screen position as XMFLOAT2, XMVECTOR or RECT
  • Optional source rectangle for drawing just part of a sprite sheet
  • Tint color
  • Rotation (in radians)
  • Origin point (position, scaling and rotation are relative to this)
  • Scale
  • SpriteEffects enum (for horizontal or vertical mirroring)
  • Layer depth (for sorting)


The first parameter to SpriteBatch::Begin is a SpriteSortMode enum. For most efficient rendering, use SpriteSortMode_Deferred (which batches up sprites, then submits them all to the GPU during the End call), and manually draw everything in texture order. If it is not possible to draw in texture order, the second most efficient approach is to use SpriteSortMode_Texture, which will automatically sort on your behalf.

When drawing scenes with multiple depth layers, SpriteSortMode_BackToFront or SpriteSortMode_FrontToBack will sort by the layerDepth parameter specified to each Draw call.

SpriteSortMode_Immediate disables all batching, submitting a separate Direct3D draw call for each sprite. This is expensive, but convenient in rare cases when you need to set shader constants differently per sprite.

Multiple SpriteBatch instances are lightweight. It is reasonable to create several, Begin them at the same time with different sort modes, submit sprites to different batches in arbitrary orders as you traverse a scene, then End the batches in whatever order you want these groups of sprites to be drawn.

Alpha blending

Alpha blending defaults to using premultiplied alpha. To make use of 'straight' alpha textures, provide a blend state object to Begin.

CommonStates states(deviceContext);

spriteBatch->Begin(SpriteSortMode_Deferred, states.NonPremultiplied() );

Note: If you need to provide custom blend factors or sample mask, use the setCustomShaders callback to call the device context's OMSetBlendState directly instead.

Custom render states

By default SpriteBatch uses premultiplied alpha blending, no depth buffer, counter clockwise culling, and linear filtering with clamp texture addressing. You can change this by passing custom state objects to SpriteBatch::Begin. Pass null for any parameters that should use their default value.

spriteBatch->Begin(SpriteSortMode_Deferred, nullptr, nullptr, nullptr, nullptr, [=]

Custom pixel shaders

To use SpriteBatch with a custom pixel shader (handy for 2D postprocessing effects such as bloom or blur), use the setCustomShaders parameter to specify a state setting callback function:

spriteBatch->Begin(SpriteSortMode_Immediate, nullptr, nullptr, nullptr, nullptr, [=]

SpriteBatch automatically sets pixel shader resource #0 and sampler slot 0 for the texture specified by each Draw call, so you only need to call PSSetResources for any additional textures required by your shader.

To write a custom sprite batch pixel shader in HLSL, make sure it matches the following signature

Texture2D<float4> Texture : register(t0);
sampler TextureSampler : register(s0);

float4 MySpritePixelShader(float4 color : COLOR0, float2 texCoord : TEXCOORD0) : SV_Target0
    // TODO

Custom vertex shaders

To use a custom vertex shader with SpriteBatch, you'll need to create an input layout for your shader that uses VertexPositionColorTexture. Here's an example using Effects.

void const* shaderByteCode;
size_t byteCodeLength;

effect->GetVertexShaderBytecode(&shaderByteCode, &byteCodeLength);

                          shaderByteCode, byteCodeLength,

spriteBatch->Begin(SpriteSortMode_Deferred, nullptr, nullptr, nullptr, nullptr, [=]
    effect->Apply( deviceContext );
    deviceContext->IASetInputLayout( pInputLayout );

Custom transform

SpriteBatch::Begin also has a transformMatrix parameter, which can be used for global transforms such as scaling or translation of an entire scene. It otherwise defaults to matrix identity.

XMMATRIX matrix = ...;
spriteBatch->Begin(SpriteSortMode_Deferred, nullptr, nullptr, nullptr, nullptr, nullptr, matrix );

This transformation parameter only works if you are using the standard sprite batch vertex shader.

Feature Level Notes

The implementation in SpriteBatch uses dynamic vertex buffers with 4 vertices per sprite, which works on all feature levels. The submission maximum batch size (2048) is within the limits of Feature Level 9.1's requirement to use 16-bit indices (DXGI_FORMAT_R16_UINT) and the maximum primitives per batch limit of 65535. This is robust and works well for the typical scale of usage for sprite batch.

For more extreme usage scenarios (large particle systems, star fields, etc.), writing a custom sprite implementation is likely the better solution over using SpriteBatch. With Feature Level 9.3, you can make use of instancing, and on Feature Level 10.0+ you can make use of the geometry shader to implement point-sprites.

Threading model

Creation is fully asynchronous, so you can instantiate multiple SpriteBatch instances at the same time on different threads. Each SpriteBatch instance only supports drawing from one thread at a time, but you can simultaneously submit sprites on multiple threads if you create a separate SpriteBatch instance per Direct3D 11 deferred context.


For phones, laptops, and tablets the orientation of the display can be changed by the user. For Windows Store apps, DirectX applications are encouraged to handle the rotation internally rather than relying on DXGI's auto-rotation handling.

In older versions of DirectXTK, you had to handle orientation changes via the custom transform matrix on Begin(). In the latest version of DirectXTK, you can handle it via a rotation setting (which is applied after any custom transformation).

Windows Store apps for Windows 8

Using the DirectX starting template, you will want to add to your CreateWindowSizeDependentResources() method:

switch (m_orientation)
case DisplayOrientations::Landscape: rotation = DXGI_MODE_ROTATION_IDENTITY;  break;
case DisplayOrientations::Portrait: rotation = DXGI_MODE_ROTATION_ROTATE270; break;
case DisplayOrientations::LandscapeFlipped: rotation = DXGI_MODE_ROTATION_ROTATE180; break;
case DisplayOrientations::PortraitFlipped: rotation = DXGI_MODE_ROTATION_ROTATE90; break;
spriteBatch->SetRotation( rotation );

Windows phone 8

For Windows phone 8 applications, you do something very similar to Windows Store apps for Windows 8, although you will need to add the support to the DirectX template as described in this post

switch (m_orientation)
case DisplayOrientations::Portrait: rotation = DXGI_MODE_ROTATION_IDENTITY;  break;
case DisplayOrientations::Landscape: rotation = DXGI_MODE_ROTATION_ROTATE90; break;
case DisplayOrientations::PortraitFlipped: rotation = DXGI_MODE_ROTATION_ROTATE180; break;
case DisplayOrientations::LandscapeFlipped: rotation = DXGI_MODE_ROTATION_ROTATE270; break;
spriteBatch->SetRotation( rotation );

Windows Store apps for Windows 8.1

Using the DirectX starting template, you will want to add to your CreateWindowSizeDependentResources() method:

spriteBatch->SetRotation( m_deviceResources->ComputeDisplayRotation() );

In Common\DeviceResources.h, you need to make ComputeDisplayRotation() a public function instead of being private.

3D Sprites

As explained in this article, you can use SpriteBatch to render particles and billboard text in 3D as well as the default 2D behavior.

To simplify this application, you can set the rotation mode so that SpriteBatch doesn't apply a view transform matrix internally and assumes the full transform is accomplished by Begin's matrix parameter.


Further reading

Last edited Mar 15, 2014 at 9:46 PM by walbourn, version 36