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Recently Feral Interactive, Croteam and others spoke at an event in the UK about Vulkan. The slides are now available, but the videos aren't up yet. Find all the slides here.

Here's a little slide from Feral's talk on Mad Max:
image

Going over Feral's slides in more detail, it seems they still have plenty they can do in future with Vulkan to speed it up some more. That's exciting, especially since Vulkan in Mad Max does make the entire experience much smoother than the OpenGL version.

They also say that Vulkan is "further along than expected internally and externally".

The Croteam slides are just as interesting and there's a lot more of them, but they go into much more technical detail by the looks of it. One interesting point Croteam do mention, is that they've seen Vulkan drivers go slower than OpenGL, so it seems they want vendors to optimize their drivers some more.

Here's a little cut from the Croteam slides:
image

The Croteam presentation sounds like it might be quite fun, with the various rants sections about Vulkan!

Hard to get too much from either right now without the videos to accompany them, so hopefully they will be up soon.

Thanks for the info mirv! Article taken from GamingOnLinux.com.
Tags: Vulkan
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pete910 30 May 2017 at 8:12 pm UTC
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Nice insight into the implementation/learning process of the new API.
Leopard 30 May 2017 at 8:21 pm UTC
Driver , driver , driver.

That one fucking problem of manufacturers can't solve or they don't want to solve intentionally.

But i am really curious about, how id tech used Vulkan on Doom so professionally even it's early days?
Kimyrielle 30 May 2017 at 8:50 pm UTC
On par with DX11? Hm, since DX12 is much faster than DX11, doesn't that then mean that Vulkan is probably lagging behind DX12? Not a big problem now, as no serious developer I am aware of is considering offering DX12 exclusive games anytime soon, but if we hope to eat into Windows market share, we ideally want Vulkan to be -better- than DX12, no? Otherwise what's the incentive for AAA developers to use it over the current industry standard DirectX (mind you that portability won't matter to them as long as Windows has a 95% market share).
johndoe86x 30 May 2017 at 9:25 pm UTC
Kimyriellewhat's the incentive for AAA developers to use it over the current industry standard DirectX (mind you that portability won't matter to them as long as Windows has a 95% market share).

Right now the advantage that Vulkan has is that it can be used on Android (including Nvidia Shield), Linux, Windows, and the Nintendo Switch. It is being implemented into major game engines such as Unity, CryEngine, Unreal, Source 2, and idTech6. Ideally, it would be in REDEngine3 (Witcher) and the Creation Engine (Skyrim). Which all sounds great, until you realize that the AAA industry (which has Battlefield, Call of Duty, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and Madden) primarily targets consoles. So far the only console that Vulkan targets is the Nintendo Switch. Sony still requires you to use their custom API, and Microsoft requires a version of DX for their Xbox. Microsoft has a lot of clout, and I could see them using their UWP/PlayAnywhere platform as a reason to forego Vulkan in favor of DX12. So a developer would choose DX12 for Xbox and Windows Store compatibilty and the PS4 API. That would cover over 95% of their target audience using only two API's. Would it be worthwhile to the dev team/publisher to add another API in for that extra 5%? Who knows, but I noticed that Shadow of War will be an Xbox Play Anywhere title, making me worry about the possibility of a Linux port.
mirv 30 May 2017 at 9:28 pm UTC
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LeopardDriver , driver , driver.

That one fucking problem of manufacturers can't solve or they don't want to solve intentionally.

But i am really curious about, how id tech used Vulkan on Doom so professionally even it's early days?

It's not just the driver. It's that the API is new, very new. Despite drivers issues that do exist, I've heard several comments that all Vulkan drivers are much more stable than expected by now. Validation layers are still being stabilised, the spec itself is still being tweaked fairly rapidly, and developers are still getting used to actually working with the new generation of graphics APIs.

Manufacturers really, really like Vulkan, DX12, Mantle (in the case of AMD), and Metal (in the case of Apple). The simple reason is that these APIs match how the underlying hardware works and writing drivers is much, much easier as a result.

A couple of _huge_ issues that the devs are still going through are the process of figuring out is memory management, and specifying data up front. A lot of performance yet to be squeezed out is from being able to get all that right - something drivers used to have guess a lot at, but is now squarely up to the developer. Even then, Khronos isn't sitting idly by - the Vulkan working group is really active in working with developers to overcome a lot of problems, and really does listen to feedback.

So don't read any of the slides as good/bad, but instead as the overall current status of working with Vulkan (which, to summarise, is that devs have just got their feet wet and are now learning to swim). That we're seeing performance improvements already, and things are more stable than anticipated, is very encouraging.

Doom had some direct AMD help btw. You might find this of interest:
http://gpuopen.com/vulkan-and-doom/


Last edited by mirv on 30 May 2017 at 10:12 pm UTC
aejsmith 30 May 2017 at 10:08 pm UTC
LeopardDriver , driver , driver.

That one fucking problem of manufacturers can't solve or they don't want to solve intentionally.

But i am really curious about, how id tech used Vulkan on Doom so professionally even it's early days?

The problem is that GPUs are *really* complicated.

There's a massive amount of stuff that GL and D3D (11 or earlier) drivers have to do for you behind the scenes to maintain the behaviour that the API expects. Vulkan cuts a lot of that down (and makes it our problem, as the game developers, instead!), but programming a GPU is still very much a non-trivial task.

Given that, we've actually been really surprised at how well all of the Vulkan drivers are working at this point. Sure, we've hit a few issues, but this is an API that's just over a year old. No software is perfect. So really, driver developers should get some recognition rather than complaints for managing to put out pretty solid drivers even at this early stage
Guest 30 May 2017 at 11:19 pm UTC
johndoe86xWhich all sounds great, until you realize that the AAA industry (which has Battlefield, Call of Duty, Fallout, Elder Scrolls, and Madden) primarily targets consoles. So far the only console that Vulkan targets is the Nintendo Switch. Sony still requires you to use their custom API, and Microsoft requires a version of DX for their Xbox. Microsoft has a lot of clout, and I could see them using their UWP/PlayAnywhere platform as a reason to forego Vulkan in favor of DX12. So a developer would choose DX12 for Xbox and Windows Store compatibilty and the PS4 API. That would cover over 95% of their target audience using only two API's. Would it be worthwhile to the dev team/publisher to add another API in for that extra 5%? Who knows, but I noticed that Shadow of War will be an Xbox Play Anywhere title, making me worry about the possibility of a Linux port.

You can be sure if Microsoft can stifle other platforms in any way they will. They probably already have what you wrote in mind and fully mapped out as a business model for the next 10 years or more. That will be a dampener on Vulkan titles but i still expect Vulkan to do well and be adopted. If only Apple hadn't decided to go with Metal-APi there would of been an even greater incentive probably enough to sway developers given the 3% Mac gaming share & the huge Apple mobile userbase.
TheRiddick 30 May 2017 at 11:50 pm UTC
I think there is a Metal to Vulkan and vis versa conversion tool around. No idea how good it is but surely its easier then DX12 to Vulkan?

Anyway android phones can support vulkan api, mine with Mali GPU apparently doesn't but perhaps I need to do something special in order to get that feature.
anth 31 May 2017 at 3:36 am UTC
TheRiddickI think there is a Metal to Vulkan and vis versa conversion tool around. No idea how good it is but surely its easier then DX12 to Vulkan?
The software for running Vulkan over Metal is Molten VK. I have doubts about how well it'd work unless the app being ported has been "dumbed down" to ignore some Vulkan features though.

A couple of years ago Aras Pranckevičius of Unity noted that some of the extra complexity in Vulkan and DX12 make them harder to program than Metal, but it was worth it for the greater efficiency. In particular he mentioned resource binding flexibility and reusing command buffer chunks.

At the Q&A session which finished the Khronos Dev Day at GDC this year Alen Ladavac of Croteam said that Molten VK hadn't worked for them, though suggested trying it because perhaps it would for simpler cases.

Khronos are considering creating a layer that could work over Vulkan/DX12/Metal.
TheRiddick 31 May 2017 at 7:51 am UTC
The developer over at Infinity Battlescape has DROPPED Vulkan support for DX12, saying that Vulkan is not mature enough and not worth going forward with.. That is sad. I will now need to strike that title off my list.
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