Tuesday, August 11th 2015

Google Chooses Vulkan as the 3D Graphics API for Android

Google announced that it chose Vulkan, the next-generation, cross-platform 3D graphics API from Khronos, the people behind OpenGL; as the default API for upcoming versions of its Android operating-system. It currently uses OpenGL ES. GL-ES is widely supported across several embedded platforms, with its most recent update, GL ES 3.2, being released as recently as last week. What makes Khronos particularly interesting is that it's heavily based on AMD Mantle, a low-overhead API that proved its chops against DirectX 11 on the PC platform, before being withdrawn by AMD, in favor of DirectX 12.

Google will be helping developers through the transition between OpenGL ES and Vulkan using a suite of documentation, SDKs rich in compatibility test suits, and more. Vulkan's march to the PC could be a lot less straightforward. It's still being seen as rebranded Mantle, and while AMD announced support for all its Graphics CoreNext GPUs, there's no such announcement from NVIDIA. It could see good adoption with Apple's Mac OS, and desktop *nix. Vulkan could see a lot of popularity with game consoles other than Microsoft Xbox. Sony PlayStation 4, and Nintendo's upcoming console, which use AMD GCN GPUs, could take advantage of Vulkan, due to its lower CPU overhead and close-to-metal optimizations, compared to OpenGL. Sources: Android Blog, Many Thanks to Okidna for the tip.
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33 Comments on Google Chooses Vulkan as the 3D Graphics API for Android

#1
GhostRyder
Seems like a logical move

Live long and Prosper
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#2
Ikaruga
This is awesome news, OpenGL ftw!
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#3
Ferrum Master
It means Tegra will have to use mantle incarnation no matter what... lulz...
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#4
tabascosauz
Better hope that AMD's work with Mantle has paid off after 2 years.
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#5
esrever
Wow finally opengl es is going away in favor of a more comprehensive desktop API.
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#6
profoundWHALE
Techpowerup
What makes Khronos particularly interesting is that it's heavily based on AMD Mantle, a low-overhead API that proved its chops against DirectX 11 on the PC platform, before being withdrawn by AMD, in favor of DirectX 12.
Huh? I thought it was in favour of Vulkan and DirectX 12, but particularly Vulkan. Second reason is that they simply don't have the funds to maintain a standard like that themselves.
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#8
john_
But..... but...... but...... Mantle is dead.

Anyway, good news. Finally low level APIs everywhere.
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#9
erocker
*
Cool! Now develop a nice O/S for PC's. Windows needs some competition... BADLY.
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#11
VulkanBros
erocker, post: 3329209, member: 28484"
Cool! Now develop a nice O/S for PC's. Windows needs some competition... BADLY.
Do you remember BeOS - that was prommising - sadly it was abandoned
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#12
Disparia
VulkanBros, post: 3329238, member: 6693"
Do you remember BeOS - that was prommising - sadly it was abandoned
BeOS 3, BeOS 4, BeOS 5 Pro - bought them all. Still have the manuals and discs somewhere. Unfortunately they didn't make enough money to keep going.
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#13
Bansaku
Jizzler, post: 3329244, member: 41756"
BeOS 3, BeOS 4, BeOS 5 Pro - bought them all. Still have the manuals and discs somewhere. Unfortunately they didn't make enough money to keep going.
That's because back in the 1990's BeOS was banking on Apple (under Gil Amelio) to use them to replace their failing Copland project. Instead Apple bought out NeXT and acquired Jobs leaving BeOS hanging and in bad need of funds. Then along came free open source Linux which was the final nail in BeOS's coffin.

I remember BeOS running on my PowerMac PPC and opening 30 QT movies at once and had them all play while still being able to listen to an MP3 and surf the net on Netscape! Pretty impressive when the best M$ had was Windows 95, and we all know what a joke that OS was (in comparison).


:toast:
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#14
Disparia
Bansaku, post: 3329255, member: 131320"
That's because back in the 1990's BeOS was banking on Apple (under Gil Amelio) to use them to replace their failing Copland project. Instead Apple bought out NeXT and acquired Jobs leaving BeOS hanging and in bad need of funds. Then along came free open source Linux which was the final nail in BeOS's coffin.

I remember BeOS running on my PowerMac PPC and opening 30 QT movies at once and had them all play while still being able to listen to an MP3 and surf the net on Netscape! Pretty impressive when the best M$ had was Windows 95, and we all know what a joke that OS was (in comparison).
:toast:
Yup, caught a few of the dev chats where they talked about it's capabilities and general design philosophy. Very forward thinking and got me to buy in! Didn't have real hope that they could conquer MS, but BeOS was fun to use and I wanted to support them up until the end.
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#15
R-T-B
Jizzler, post: 3329244, member: 41756"
BeOS 3, BeOS 4, BeOS 5 Pro - bought them all. Still have the manuals and discs somewhere. Unfortunately they didn't make enough money to keep going.
Haiku is kinda a spiritual successor.

There's also always linux.
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#16
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
erocker, post: 3329209, member: 28484"
Cool! Now develop a nice O/S for PC's. Windows needs some competition... BADLY.
The best competition for Windows is pirated Windows. The worry that its revenues will dry up, and that a large chunk of the userbase isn't paying for your product, is what forces innovation in the Windows ecosystem.
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#17
john_
btarunr, post: 3329474, member: 43587"
The best competition for Windows is pirated Windows. The worry that its revenues will dry up, and that a large chunk of the userbase isn't paying for your product, is what forces innovation in the Windows ecosystem.
Nope. Android is.

The fact that Android hasn't yet come to desktop (I was expecting Nvidia to be the driving force behind that, but I guess they don't want to jeopardize GTX sales), doesn't mean that it is not a big threat to Microsoft. Because Android today is the only OS that enjoys Windows's BIGGEST advantage. What advantage? Well, not it's features or it's innovation. Many will laugh at that phrase to be honest. The biggest advantage of Windows is that people are used to it, and Android is a threat to Windows, because people are also used to it. People use it every day, probably there are people who use it more hours daily than Windows. Also it doesn't have the biggest disadvantage of Linux with it's gazillion of distributions. You have only one Android, backed up by a big corporation that doesn't let 5000000 people with 5000000 great ideas to mess up with it and create something that it can not be supported easily from hardware manufacturers.

Microsoft knows that Android is a threat. That's why they tried to respond with Windows 8 and Metro UI. But Balmer got it the other way arround. He rushed accepting defeat for the desktop, instead of doing the opposite. Upgrading the desktop and trying to bring Windows experience on smartphones and tablets. That's what Microsoft is doing now.

Thankfully for them, Google tries to push ChromeOS to desktop to sell online services and that gave them time. But if we see Android moving to desktop, things will turn ugly for Microsoft. Have you tried using Android with a keyboard and mouse? Extremely easy. Add to that Vulkan and things could turn ugly for Microsoft in the near future.
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#18
micropage7
looks pretty promising, and its interesting how far they can push
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#19
btarunr
Editor & Senior Moderator
john_, post: 3329540, member: 137560"
Nope. Android is.
What is the market share of Android on desktop personal computers?
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#20
john_
btarunr, post: 3329563, member: 43587"
What is the market share of Android on desktop personal computers?
You don't read what I am writing or just ignore it. Whatever.
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#21
SaltyFish
Nothing too unexpected since Vulkan is the successor to OpenGL in general. Now if that can translate to more devs using Vulkan instead of DirectX...
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#22
john_
Just a couple of videos from Imagination

An old one from March



and a new one




Now think of a 10+ cores Mediatek SoC at 3GHz and a good GPU. Put those in a small NUC type box. Or maybe an Intel i3/i5/i7 system with an AMD GCN based GPU in a typical mini PC case, running Android. Can it run Crysis? Probably yes.
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#23
Uplink10
btarunr, post: 3329474, member: 43587"
The best competition for Windows is pirated Windows. The worry that its revenues will dry up, and that a large chunk of the userbase isn't paying for your product, is what forces innovation in the Windows ecosystem.
I do not think Microsoft is concerned with piracy right now, they have the biggest market share and they are probably more concerned with uprising of the Mac OS and Linux. Even if some people use the pirated Windows they still participate in Windwos ecosystem and are part of it. All the new avaialable games on Linux sure do present a problem for them.
john_, post: 3329540, member: 137560"
Nope. Android is.
john_, post: 3329540, member: 137560"
Thankfully for them, Google tries to push ChromeOS to desktop to sell online services and that gave them time. But if we see Android moving to desktop, things will turn ugly for Microsoft. Have you tried using Android with a keyboard and mouse? Extremely easy. Add to that Vulkan and things could turn ugly for Microsoft in the near future.
Android is not Windows replacemant, Linux is. Why would someone want to have an OS on their PC which requires Google's account to use the Store to download free apps? Android and Chrome OS are both defiled versions of real Linux distributions which are designed at boosting Google's revenues. That is not the base of the OS that you want to use. Everyone would rather have open Android than Google's Android but right now Android is the lesser of three evils (Windows Phone, iOS, Android) and most open and widespread OS on phones. Kubuntu can do a lot more than Android and is more open and free (as in freedom).
john_, post: 3329706, member: 137560"
Now think of a 10+ cores Mediatek SoC at 3GHz and a good GPU. Put those in a small NUC type box. Or maybe an Intel i3/i5/i7 system with an AMD GCN based GPU in a typical mini PC case, running Android. Can it run Crysis? Probably yes.
Why use RISC, even now I think that I woud rather have two or one core CISC CPU in phones than an 8 core RISC. RISC is great because you can predict when will it execute and be done with the task but the smartphone are past that and programming in RISC is harder and the source code is bigger.
Posted on Reply
#24
john_
Uplink10, post: 3329734, member: 154252"
Android is not Windows replacemant, Linux is. Why would someone want to have an OS on their PC which requires Google's account to use the Store to download free apps? Android and Chrome OS are both defiled versions of real Linux distributions which are designed at boosting Google's revenues. That is not the base of the OS that you want to use. Everyone would rather have open Android than Google's Android but right now Android is the lesser of three evils (Windows Phone, iOS, Android) and most open and widespread OS on phones. Kubuntu can do a lot more than Android and is more open and free (as in freedom).
It can become in the future. Android is not considered a Windows replacement because we are used to seeing it on phones with 4'' or 5'' screens, we think of it more like a toy OS to run Angry Birds, than open an office suite. If this changes, everything changes. You can tell me all day about why Linux is a better option than Android and I will agree with you. But Android is something more specific than Linux in general, with it's countless distributions and there are much more chances to see hardware companies seriously supporting it, than supporting a specific distribution of Linux.

Uplink10, post: 3329734, member: 154252"
Why use RISC, even now I think that I woud rather have two or one core CISC CPU in phones than an 8 core RISC. RISC is great because you can predict when will it execute and be done with the task but the smartphone are past that and programming in RISC is harder and the source code is bigger.
I don't choose, I let all options open. You can replace the Mediatek example with any kind of low power x86 CPU.
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#25
semantics
SaltyFish, post: 3329607, member: 106232"
Nothing too unexpected since Vulkan is the successor to OpenGL in general. Now if that can translate to more devs using Vulkan instead of DirectX...
Wont happen unless tools for game creation and documentation is readily available along with a whole suite of apis are developed and supported. That is what Dx offers that is why studios still use it primarily. Studios don't like the idea of having to do extra in-house work to do something simple they can just do with Dx.
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