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Direct3D 11 Checklist
In DirectX 9 there is a lot of states to be set in the device object, so there are these lengthy articles about what could be the cause of not seeing anything rendered on the screen. For example, you could forget to set D3DRS_LIGHTING to FALSE (default is TRUE) and all your geometry is totally black.
Direct3D 11, on the other hand, has more clean API. There is no fixed-function pipeline, only shaders and all remaining states are grouped into state objects. Still there are some things that need to be set before you make a successful draw call, so I prepared a handy checklist for that. Just remember that you can set NULL as any state object and it's still OK - some well defined defaults will be used in that case.
Of course that's not all what is possible, You can also change render target and depth-stencil, setup scissor rects, stream output, compute shader, unordered access views... Basically all you can find in ID3D11DeviceContext class. But I enlisted what I use most often.
Developing Graphics Driver
Want to know what do I do at Intel? Obviously all details are secret, but generally, as a Graphics Software Engineer, I code graphics driver for our GPU. What does this software do? When you write a game these days, you usually use some game engine, but I'm sure you know that on a lower level, everything ends up as a bunch of textured 3D triangles rendered with hardware acceleration by the GPU. To render them, the engine uses one of standard graphics APIs. On Windows it can be DirectX or OpenGL, on Linux and Mac it is OpenGL, on mobile platforms it is OpenGL ES. On the other side, there are many hardware manufacturers - like NVIDIA, AMD, Intel or Imagination Technologies - that make discrete or embedded GPUs. These chips have different capabilities and instruction sets. So graphics driver is needed to translate calls to API (like IDirect3DDevice9::DrawIndexedPrimitive) and shader code to form specific to the hardware.
Want to know more? Intel recently published documentation of the GPU from the new Ivy Bridge processor - see this news. You can find this documentation on intellinuxgraphics.org website. It consists of more than 2000 pages in 17 PDF files. For example, in the last volume (Volume 4 Part 3) you can see how instructions of our programmable execution units look like. They are quite powerful :)