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The GDC Video On Approaching Zero Driver Overhead in OpenGL Is Now Up

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We mentioned before about a couple big names talking up OpenGL and how to unlock many times performance gains with it, the GDC video is now up in the vault for all to see.

You can find the video here.

With AMD attempting to push their Mantle API which still isn't confirmed to be on Linux, but is being considered OpenGL is important for us and developers to push it.

A lot of developers are still starting their projects with Directx rather than OpenGL and we need to politely reach out to these developers about the advantages of OpenGL.

Sadly the reason developers go for Directx is still because of all the FUD Microsoft spread multiple years ago about the future of OpenGL and how Directx was the better option. Not only that, but of course Windows still has the majority of desktop users, but times are changing.

The advantages of OpenGL are probably widely known by some of you, but for those not so clued up here are just a few:
  • OpenGL is cross-platform, you set yourself up for ports to other operating systems and consoles
  • OpenGL is better for the future, since it's a non-profit open standard
  • Directx is closed off from input, graphics card manufacturers and developers can get involved in future OpenGL versions


It's a fight I fear we will never really win though, not at least until we have a much, much bigger market-share. Things are of course improving with the massive AAA-class game engines like Unreal Engine & CryEngine supporting OpenGL and Linux.

Here's a good article from Wolfire Games on it all. Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Editorial
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GoCorinthians 22 Apr, 2014
What seems more strange is:

Why AMD just release a low level api just a few weeks before the next-gen pc based show up...

Could it be that developer from consoles extract always most of hide powers from hardware and AMD/Nvidia already know about it and now couldnt more hide that...then releasing a revolurionary before consoles show that they(AMD/NVIDIA) are PC's Heroes...

Weird enough
Mike 22 Apr, 2014
This is something that will iron itself out. Developing on OpenGL is getting easier and easier with big names like Valve also highlighting its advantages. The migration will be something that happens in time but exponentially (due to the network effect), when the Linux/Mac market shares keep growing and devs realise that rather than developing on DirectX then porting to OpenGL, it's much easier and cheaper to develop directly on OpenGL for all 3 platforms. This will happen with indie devs first, but will eventually make its way into the big names. I don't think it will take long for devs to realise that the extra step in moving from DirectX to OpenGL is pointless, considering most new games now are multiplatform (PC/Mac at least) it doesn't take a genius to realise that spending months creating imperfect ports of games is an unnecessary hassle.

It seems like the end to the Microsoft monopoly will never come, but these are changes that happen very suddenly. Just remember how 6 years ago Internet Explorer still had 80% of the market, but now it's relegated to insignificance or people who just don't know how to change their browser. The same will happen to DirectX and maybe someday Windows itself. Technology is no longer at a point where it makes sense for one company to impose its standards on everyone else.
Liam Dawe 22 Apr, 2014
Very true Mike, very true.

With mobiles especially like phones and tablets, you have more startups going to them rather than Desktops too. Which is another nail in Microsoft's coffin considering their phone and tablet sales are abysmal.
Lordpkappa 22 Apr, 2014
Quoting: MikeThis is something that will iron itself out. Developing on OpenGL is getting easier and easier with big names like Valve also highlighting its advantages. The migration will be something that happens in time but exponentially (due to the network effect), when the Linux/Mac market shares keep growing and devs realise that rather than developing on DirectX then porting to OpenGL, it's much easier and cheaper to develop directly on OpenGL for all 3 platforms. This will happen with indie devs first, but will eventually make its way into the big names. I don't think it will take long for devs to realise that the extra step in moving from DirectX to OpenGL is pointless, considering most new games now are multiplatform (PC/Mac at least) it doesn't take a genius to realise that spending months creating imperfect ports of games is an unnecessary hassle.

It seems like the end to the Microsoft monopoly will never come, but these are changes that happen very suddenly. Just remember how 6 years ago Internet Explorer still had 80% of the market, but now it's relegated to insignificance or people who just don't know how to change their browser. The same will happen to DirectX and maybe someday Windows itself. Technology is no longer at a point where it makes sense for one company to impose its standards on everyone else.

Perfect post, it's my view too.
The question is when, no more an "if".
STiAT 22 Apr, 2014
OpenGL is not the problem, AAA titles and others are considering it already only for having a Mac port.

Once having OpenGL, doing Linux isn't too much of a deal graphics whise. The thing really more challanging is input handling and sound systems (if they don't use an abstraction already). OpenGL mostly isn't the part devs are worried about in Linux if they already did a Mac port.
STiAT 22 Apr, 2014
Very interesting talks, very detailed description. I like the apitest, and running on windows and linux it perfectly shows the different results. Though, the options are let's say the "real" ones in OpenGL dev, they don't cover the circumstances you are in, so you maybe end up seeing a different solution working better for your problem.

What I think as well is one of the problems they didn't mention. OpenGL features so many pathes to get to a solution that you're likely not to end up with the best solution for your problem. In D3D you mostly have 1-2 pathes to go, which is in general easier for the developers.

This certainly has to do with all the new extensions, having so many to choose from can be great, but a burden too.
Anonymous 22 Apr, 2014
Quoting: MikeThis is something that will iron itself out. Developing on OpenGL is getting easier and easier with big names like Valve also highlighting its advantages. The migration will be something that happens in time but exponentially (due to the network effect), when the Linux/Mac market shares keep growing and devs realise that rather than developing on DirectX then porting to OpenGL, it's much easier and cheaper to develop directly on OpenGL for all 3 platforms. This will happen with indie devs first, but will eventually make its way into the big names. I don't think it will take long for devs to realise that the extra step in moving from DirectX to OpenGL is pointless, considering most new games now are multiplatform (PC/Mac at least) it doesn't take a genius to realise that spending months creating imperfect ports of games is an unnecessary hassle.

It seems like the end to the Microsoft monopoly will never come, but these are changes that happen very suddenly. Just remember how 6 years ago Internet Explorer still had 80% of the market, but now it's relegated to insignificance or people who just don't know how to change their browser. The same will happen to DirectX and maybe someday Windows itself. Technology is no longer at a point where it makes sense for one company to impose its standards on everyone else.

It's mainly just a disrupt which is needed. What Valve did is create a standard for driver vendors and game developers to target to. One distribution, one test environment. That's what they wanted. That's what they need to support. This was mainly not needed for the game developers - they mostly won't care anyway. Rarely they develop their own engines nowdays, they mostly license engines and develop games on them. There still can exist problems by the game implementation, but as you see with Unity3d nowdays - games are suffering the same bugs in the same versions of Unity3d. Hardly any developer studio develops low-level OpenGL/D3D code and engine anymore, since there are a lot of options out there fitting their needs. Of course there are exceptions, especially looking at EA.
Half-Shot 23 Apr, 2014
Quoting: STiATOpenGL is not the problem, AAA titles and others are considering it already only for having a Mac port.

But being Apple, they use their own extensions, an old opengl version and lots of foam over opengl which makes it harder to port. Easier than DX by magnitudea, but by no means a quick job either. We need to convince AAA devs that GL can do much more than what OSX does with it.

This was why the M:Last Light port was shoddy compared to the windoes version. This is why they still think DirectX is more powerful.
Jason 24 Apr, 2014
Quoting: Half-Shot
Quoting: STiATOpenGL is not the problem, AAA titles and others are considering it already only for having a Mac port.
But being Apple, they use their own extensions, an old opengl version and lots of foam over opengl which makes it harder to port. Easier than DX by magnitudea, but by no means a quick job either. We need to convince AAA devs that GL can do much more than what OSX does with it.

This was why the M:Last Light port was shoddy compared to the windoes version. This is why they still think DirectX is more powerful.

This isn't true. The OpenGL 3.x/4.x path on OSX is core profile only (no compatibility profile).
Metro only included a 3.x path only Linux and OSX, they decided not to put two in. It was hardly 'shoddy'. Strictly a business/time/money decision.
Half-Shot 24 Apr, 2014
Quoting: JasonThis isn't true. The OpenGL 3.x/4.x path on OSX is core profile only (no compatibility profile).
Metro only included a 3.x path only Linux and OSX, they decided not to put two in. It was hardly 'shoddy'. Strictly a business/time/money decision.

But why did they lower standards on Linux to save time. And actually how much business/time/money does it save once you are on OpenGL. I'm not expert, but it couldn't take THAT long to include some OpenGL 4 features. It's not an easy job to port DX to GL, but once your there, why stop short.

It's probably to stop the OSX users whining that Linux got a better port than them which is evil, bad and should never be done.

TL;DR : Any port that lowers its standards to meet another system despite not acutally needing to IS 'shoddy'. There is enough games to line my walls which were ported from consoles and look crap on PC just because the developers wanted a quick cash in.
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