Vulkan, the first universally supported low-level API, has finally launched

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Vulkan 1.0 has finally launched

No, we’re not talking about Spock, although if you’re not well versed into your PC gaming jargon the rest below might sound like something you’ll be subjected to if stuck in a room with a Trekkie. Way back when, AMD was developing a little API known as Mantle (which they’re still using in-house), which sadly didn’t make the impact it was meant to before DirectX 12. From its ashes development on Vulkan began – another take on a low-level API that wasn’t going to be as restricted as Microsoft’s API.

And yesterday it finally launched for both AMD and Nvidia cards, to a shower of support from multiple studios with games already out and about using the new API.

But just what is Vulkan 1.0? A lot like DirectX 12, the Vulkan API allows for low-level access to graphical commands of the GPU, allowing for a much greater deal of control and optimization on the development side of things. The API is able to minimize driver overhead on applications and allow multi-threading processes on a range of graphical hardware, greatly improving performance across the board of existing cards.

Or at least that’s the idea – the API still needs to be well implemented by studios into their games for it to work, and only a handful out right now make use of Vulkan 1.0. The Talos Principle is just one of them.

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Vulkan is also an alluring toolset for the boom of open-world games, with the API making full use of multi-threading in multi-core CPUs for maximum computational output. That means those hyper-threads on an 8-core Intel processor will actually be put to use this time (the reality is that they’re hardly used at all), which also allows for more detailed and more reactive open-worlds in games.

Even better is that fact that Vulkan as it is isn’t restricted by hardware, with both AMD and Nvidia already releasing drivers for the API to work on a range of their cards. With Nvidia in particular, all Kepler and Maxwell cards will support the API, along with future architecture Pascal.

Valve’s Gabe Newell was just one of the industry leaders on hand to applaud the adoption of Vulkan.

We are extremely pleased at the industry’s rapid execution on the Vulkan API initiative.  Due to Vulkan’s cross platform availability, high performance and healthy open source ecosystem, we expect to see rapid uptake by software developers, far exceeding the adoption of similar APIs which are limited to specific operating systems,”

You can expect to see Vulkan supported in a lot more games in the future, especially if the performance gains start greatly surpassing that of DirectX 11. This could be the intermediary solution to DirectX 12 adoption, and possibly something even greater in the future.

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Last Updated: February 17, 2016

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • Loftus The Primal BeastMaster

    • HvR

      If widely adopted it means a much more visual bang for your hardware (like we see on consoles) and very probably a step towards OS or at least Windows independent PC gaming

      • Loftus The Primal BeastMaster

        I tried reading it again and everything went right over my head. Just not smart i guess

        • miaau

          more direct access to hardware, with less bum fluff (more levels between the game (software) and the GPU (hardware), between the game and the hardware, should be better than we have now.

          • Loftus The Primal BeastMaster

            Thank you for explaining it nicely for the slower kid in the class room. 🙂

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            Cookie?

          • Loftus The Primal BeastMaster

            Invoice first! 😛

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            R100k (excl)

          • Loftus The Primal BeastMaster

            Excl drm ? hahahaha too soon ?

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            R100k? That’s like what? 15 zim dollars?

          • miaau

            or just, you know, the kid who is not in a technical field of work and is, say, a complete whizz at numbers or something else.

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            We’ll have to try again later for Rince, the short bus is stuck in traffic.

          • HvR

            Getting worried it 10am already; time to put out an amber alert
            http://i.imgur.com/16X7I.jpg

  • This is some good news, it always annoys me to see the other cores slacking.
    https://i.sli.mg/TcoWrt.gif

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      I laughed WAYYYYY too hard at this!

      • In other news: NIKANA PRIME O.o

        • Commander Admiral Chief

          JY SHIT MY????!!!!!?????

          Just after I got my damn Dragon Nikana

          • Ninkana was absorbed for the dragon ninkana, you need a new one. A shiny new one.

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            The logic is sound.

            When are they finishing your building so that we can farm?

          • Friday morning… hopefully

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            What are they building? A leaning tower?

          • Bashing through a wall for piping and air cons, I am over this heat

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Urg, farming the new primes could be painful.

            Nikana P is T3E, T3C & T2Surv
            Spira P is T4MD, 2 x T3MD, 2 x T3c
            Saryn P is T3/4E, T2E, T1MD & T3surv

            All those one-offs. :/

          • All the old Rhino P areas

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Yeah, and only 2 parts in survivals – C rotations. Bah.

          • Maybe you will finally get Volt P xD

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            lol. After Friday night’s shitty defense rewards I’m due for some luck.

          • I stayed for 25 waves…accidentally. Got 5 formas :

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            lol I remember.

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            You up for some farming tonight?

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Yeah, but not for long – so maybe just a few quick captures or exterminates.

          • Commander Admiral Chief

            KK

          • I am setting up a PC in the damn kitchen if you 2 are

          • VampyreSquirrel

            Your kitchen light still give kak with your PC/sound/whateveritwas?

          • Yup, climed in the roof on Monday and moved the cable away from the electrical wires. Still gives crap

          • VampyreSquirrel

            Strange… wonder what that is.

          • Does not really matter anymore, soon the FTTH line is being put in, then ADSL get thrown out the window

          • VampyreSquirrel

            And I’ll be checking if you have any spare rooms, and re-locating to CPT 😛

          • Awww yiss!

    • VampyreSquirrel

      Hahahaha that’s awesome!

  • Commander Admiral Chief

    I hope this tech lives long and prospers throughout

  • Commander Admiral Chief

    So Gabe, when you are finished with your involvement with this…..how about bringing out HL3?

    • b1nd3r

      dude gabe commented on something……..HL3 CONFIRMED!!!!!

      • Commander Admiral Chief

        O_O

  • Pieter Kruger

    It’s logical….

    • Commander Admiral Chief

      Oh you!

  • HairyEwok

    With all the hate on Win 10 I would think Vulkan would do well with all those people who want DX12 but not Win 10.

    • Pariah

      Win10 is way better than 7 or 8 tbh. My experience with it has been phenomenal.

      • HairyEwok

        Their data mining has apparently been phenomenal as well.

        • Pariah

          Google is way WAY worse with their data mining. And they’ve been doing it for much longer than Windows 10 has. Yet everyone loves Google and Chrome.

          Just saying.

          • HairyEwok

            I’ve had my tin hat on for a while now and use firefox :P. Unfortunately looking at the facts a huge amount of people are really scared about the privacy problems on Win 10, so they’ll rather use Win 7 or 8 with the Vulkan API rather than getting Win 10.

          • Pariah

            If you’re on the internet, then you don’t have privacy. Period. Which version of Windows you use or which browser, won’t change that. Companies collect loads of information all the time without saying a thing. You visited that website? Cool. Oh you spend X amount on average on clothing shopping online? Cool. Windows, Firefox, Chrome, doesn’t matter. They know who you are and what you like and where you go better than you do. They keep the records.

            So you know what? Windows 10 is a pleasure to use and is vastly better than 8 and a good amount better than 7. They’re collecting the data anyway, so I’m going with the best possible experience.

            It’s kinda like toilet paper. You can stick with 1 ply because of “500 sheets”, but nothing beats 3 ply in terms of comfort. No matter which way you look at it, its all a bunch of shit anyways, so I’d rather be comfortable.

          • chimera_85

            Yeah I feel you, I love windows 10

        • Viking Of Science

          You CAN turn off most of that, and the Patch sharing BS, you know….

  • Why no Fermi love nVidia!?!?!??! WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY

  • konfab

    This is very good for consoles as well.

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