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Nvidia talk Vulkan in a developer blog post, they say Vulkan supplements OpenGL

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Nvidia are talking about Vulkan a little more now, which is really good to see. Looks like they will have a little bit of support for it on "day-zero" too.

I hope people aren't expecting Vulkan to come along and instantly blow away OpenGL, even Nvidia are now keeping people's expectations in check.

They don't ease you into it, as the blog post is very developer orientated, and not really meant for idiots like me to read over, but it's very interesting anyway.
QuoteNVIDIA believes strongly that Vulkan supplements OpenGL, and that both APIs have their own strengths.

Vulkan’s strengths lie in the explicit control and multi-threading capabilities that by design allow us to push more commands to the GPU in less CPU time and have finer-grained cost control. OpenGL, however, continues to provide easier to use access to the hardware. This is especially important for applications that are not CPU-limited. Current NVIDIA technologies such as “bindless”, NV_command_list, and the “AZDO” techniques for core OpenGL, can achieve excellent single-thread performance.


I see what they are saying here, but I have yet to see any game developer use AZDO on Linux with OpenGL. In fact, we have seen nothing but game developers complain about OpenGL. For AAA titles, or just heavy titles in general Vulkan sounds like a good fit, but for smaller indie games, OpenGL will probably remain king for being easier to use. That's what I am taking away from this.

QuoteThere is a new level of complexity to Vulkan, that didn’t really exist in OpenGL before.

Don't be scared by that quote, as with all new things it will take time to learn.

They are also making the transition to Vulkan easier with stuff like this:
QuoteStarting with a new API can involve a lot of work as common utilities may not yet be available. NVIDIA will therefore provide a few Vulkan extensions from day zero, so that you as developer can enjoy less obstacles on your path to Vulkan. We will support consuming GLSL shader strings directly and not having to use SPIR-V. Furthermore we leverage our industry leading OpenGL driver and allow you to run Vulkan inside an OpenGL context and presenting Vulkan Images within it. This allows you to use your favorite windowing and user-interface libraries and some of our samples will make use of it to compare OpenGL and Vulkan seamlessly.


To be clear, when they say "NVIDIA will therefore provide a few Vulkan extensions from day zero", they are talking specifically about using it inside OpenGL:

@gamingonlinux using Vulkan inside OpenGL and using GLSL directly inside Vulkan are the extensions I meant

— Christoph Kubisch (@pixeljetstream) January 15, 2016


@gamingonlinux So far NVIDIA has a really good track record on providing driver with OpenGL version release, intend to keep it for Vulkan :)

— Christoph Kubisch (@pixeljetstream) January 15, 2016



There's a fair bit more to the post, so I do suggest giving it a look over. Go read the developer post here, and get interested.

I am more excited than I have ever been to be a Linux gamer, and I am getting more excited as the days go by. I can't wait to see Vulkan actually be used in a game. It's not going to be a silver bullet though remember, developers still have to learn how to use it and get the best out of it. We could be looking at quite a while before we see the first game with it, and it will probably be Valve with something like Dota 2 which they already had a demo of a while ago with Vulkan.
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TobiSGD 15 January 2016 at 12:53 pm UTC
QuoteStarting with a new API can involve a lot of work as common utilities may not yet be available. NVIDIA will therefore provide a few Vulkan extensions from day zero, so that you as developer can enjoy less obstacles on your path to Vulkan. We will support consuming GLSL shader strings directly and not having to use SPIR-V. Furthermore we leverage our industry leading OpenGL driver and allow you to run Vulkan inside an OpenGL context and presenting Vulkan Images within it. This allows you to use your favorite windowing and user-interface libraries and some of our samples will make use of it to compare OpenGL and Vulkan seamlessly.
I don't read this as "we don't have a full implementation in our drivers yet", I read this as "we have a full implementation of Vulkan and, to make developer's lifes easier, we provide some extensions that allow for an easier transition to Vulkan".
liamdawe 15 January 2016 at 12:57 pm UTC
TobiSGD
QuoteStarting with a new API can involve a lot of work as common utilities may not yet be available. NVIDIA will therefore provide a few Vulkan extensions from day zero, so that you as developer can enjoy less obstacles on your path to Vulkan. We will support consuming GLSL shader strings directly and not having to use SPIR-V. Furthermore we leverage our industry leading OpenGL driver and allow you to run Vulkan inside an OpenGL context and presenting Vulkan Images within it. This allows you to use your favorite windowing and user-interface libraries and some of our samples will make use of it to compare OpenGL and Vulkan seamlessly.
I don't read this as "we don't have a full implementation in our drivers yet", I read this as "we have a full implementation of Vulkan and, to make developer's lifes easier, we provide some extensions that allow for an easier transition to Vulkan".

You're quite possibly right, it was this bit that threw me off "NVIDIA will therefore provide a few Vulkan extensions from day zero", it makes it sound like they aren't providing the full API yet. It's not crystal clear that's for sure.

I've tweeted the Nvidia guy who wrote it, to see if we can get that bit cleared up. I will edit the article once I get a response to make it clearer based on the reply.


Last edited by liamdawe at 15 January 2016 at 12:58 pm UTC
khalismur 15 January 2016 at 12:58 pm UTC
I don't think it will bring anything to the table this year. You seem very excited about Vulkan, OP, but I'm afraid I don't share these feelings.

"NVIDIA will therefore provide a few Vulkan extensions from day zero" means to me they will slowly implement it into the driver. How long will it take until enough is implemented? Or even after that, how long until some game actually uses it? And even further, how big of a performance gain can we end users realistically expect?

I know I might sound negative, but most people are so eagerly expecting this API to be the saviour of AAA GNU/Linux gaming. Am I delusional to think that games fully supporting Vulkan will take 2+ years to come out, and the performance gain will not be that magical? Mind you, I'd love to be wrong :-)
liamdawe 15 January 2016 at 1:01 pm UTC
khalismurI don't think it will bring anything to the table this year. You seem very excited about Vulkan, OP, but I'm afraid I don't share these feelings.

"NVIDIA will therefore provide a few Vulkan extensions from day zero" means to me they will slowly implement it into the driver. How long will it take until enough is implemented? Or even after that, how long until some game actually uses it? And even further, how big of a performance gain can we end users realistically expect?

I know I might sound negative, but most people are so eagerly expecting this API to be the saviour of AAA GNU/Linux gaming. Am I delusional to think that games fully supporting Vulkan will take 2+ years to come out, and the performance gain will not be that magical? Mind you, I'd love to be wrong :-)

I am of course excited about the possibility of Vulkan, as OpenGL has shown many times it just isn't comparable with DirectX for the heavier games we are now getting.

You can see the sort of thing that can be accomplished with Vulkan already, here's one example.


Last edited by liamdawe at 15 January 2016 at 1:02 pm UTC
liamdawe 15 January 2016 at 1:04 pm UTC
Article updated with reply from the person who wrote the Nvidia post.
khalismur 15 January 2016 at 1:09 pm UTC
TheBoss
khalismur...I know I might sound negative, but most people are so eagerly expecting this API to be the saviour of AAA GNU/Linux gaming. Am I delusional to think that games fully supporting Vulkan will take 2+ years to come out, and the performance gain will not be that magical? Mind you, I'd love to be wrong :-)
...
You can see the sort of thing that can be accomplished with Vulkan already, here's one example.
Yeah, that's not "one example" but the "only example" I know of. While it might look impressive, let's not forget it's prototype software running on prototype drivers, running on Windows.

I hope you are right, and I also hope we see something before the end of 2056.
DrMcCoy 15 January 2016 at 1:17 pm UTC
QuoteThey are also making the transition to Vulkan easier with stuff like this: [Vulkan in an OpenGL context]

There problem there is that this will probably be Nvidia-only. It won't work with AMD cards, it won't work with Intel cards.
mirv 15 January 2016 at 1:39 pm UTC
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I'm going to go against what a lot of people will intuitively think, and say that providing extensions to "ease into it" from day one is a very, very, very bad idea. Vulkan is a clean slate, let's keep it that way.
Trying to bridge the gaps might seem a good idea, but such ideas have a very bad habit of sticking around for a long, long time, and you get the worst of both worlds instead of the best.

Perhaps I'm being too negative, but I am truly concerned about Vulkan turning into another OpenGL3.0 debacle.
liamdawe 15 January 2016 at 1:50 pm UTC
mirvI'm going to go against what a lot of people will intuitively think, and say that providing extensions to "ease into it" from day one is a very, very, very bad idea. Vulkan is a clean slate, let's keep it that way.
Trying to bridge the gaps might seem a good idea, but such ideas have a very bad habit of sticking around for a long, long time, and you get the worst of both worlds instead of the best.

Perhaps I'm being too negative, but I am truly concerned about Vulkan turning into another OpenGL3.0 debacle.

Vulkan is a clean slate, this is just Nvidia providing a way to run Vulkan in OpenGL for testing, it doesn't change anything to do with Vulkan.
rune 15 January 2016 at 1:56 pm UTC
TheBossI am of course excited about the possibility of Vulkan, as OpenGL has shown many times it just isn't comparable with DirectX for the heavier games we are now getting.

If the game is rather demanding in the first place, then you will definitely notice a difference (if it's a DirectX game). Rewriting an engine, and optimizing the code takes time, and time is money. I guess that they (Feral, Aspyr, etc.) can not afford to spend that much time optimizing the code.

Unless you have optimized code, you can not compare DirectX to OpenGL. I don't believe that the games we're getting now are 100% optimized, not even close.
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