Vulkan support is coming with Godot Engine 4.0 and with it plenty of modern 3D rendering features, however the 2D side of Godot is also seeing plenty of love. In a fresh blog post, lead developer Juan Linietsky went over some of the big stuff that will be coming and it all sounds quite impressive for this free and open source game engine.
Performance is going to be improved, partly as a result of Vulkan with Linietsky mentioned as it has a "lower draw-call cost than OpenGL". However, that's not the only reason as they've done some dedicated improvements to optimize the 2D side including changes to enable "thousands of draw() functions from a node's _draw() callback" which will speed up both the GLES3 and GLES2 back-ends.
You're also going to see:
- Improved 2D lighting - all lights drawn in a single pass.
- Improved 2D materials - adds a new CanvasTexture texture type that can be used with any node or resource to provide normal, specular and shininess map.
- Directional 2D light and shadow support.
- A new CanvasGroup node option - merges together the draw calls of its children nodes to have effects apply to all.
- 2D Masking / Clipping - the ability to easily mask out children 2D nodes using the parent shape.
- Signed Distance Fields for 2D - from any point in the screen, you can request the distance to the closest solid. Linietsky said they can be used for circle tracing, with the example picture below for a long-drop shadow simulating 2D lightshafts:
Lots more is to come for the 2D side of Godot Engine, with developer Gilles Roudiere working on a new 2D tilemap system and editor to improve on the limitations of what they have currently. You can follow progress on their Twitter account for that
Aside from that, Godot also teamed up with the Ogre3D developer Matías N. Goldberg who was commissioned by Godot to work on Betsy, a GPU texture compressor that runs on GPUs. Why do they need Betsy? It's to help solve a "major complaint" with importing textures being "excruciatingly" slow. It will work as a standard command-line tool outside of Godot but it's made with integration with Godot in mind.
There's still no date set for Godot 4.0 with Vulkan, as it seems they're going with a "when it's done" approach. You can support the free and open source game engine on their Patreon. On the subject of funding, recently they did also announce ASIFA-Hollywood as a Silver Corporate Sponsor and also Zenva Academy as a Silver Corporate Sponsor - so each should be giving them a little over £400 a month.