Tag Archives: khronos

Unity 5.6 Beta publically available with Vulkan API support

unity 5.6 beta publically available with vulkan api support

So back in September we released news of Unity 5.5 Beta including Vulkan API support. While it is no surprise that Unity 5.6 beta is now available. This is for all Unity users (including those using #PersonalEdition). Consequently with this #release are a host of #newfeatures, starting with support for the Vulkan API again.
So according to the staff at Unity, Vulkan brings up to 60% improvements in rendering performance out-of-the-box. While this is impressive, it also suggests that the boost may be even higher with some clever tweaking.

Unity 5.6 beta:

Vulkan is a new generation graphics and compute API that provides high-efficiency. Cross-platform access to modern GPUs on desktop and mobile platforms. It’s a design that will take advantage of multiple CPU cores by allowing multiple threads to run in parallel. This means increased speed with reduced driver overhead and CPU workload. Leaving the CPU free to do additional computation or rendering. In total, we’ve seen a rendering performance improvement out-of-the box up to 60% using Unity. That is without having to deal with any specifics of the Vulkan API.

In the 5.6 beta, use Vulkan to take the graphics performance to the next level. And at final release, Vulkan will run on Android, Windows, Linux, and Tizen.

While Epic Games became the first game engine maker to support the Vulkan API with Unreal Engine 4, back in February. Crytek was on schedule to introduce Vulkan support to its CRYENGINE in Update 5.3. Which became available yesterday. Vulkan support is now late and will be part of Update 5.4. Due to be released during GDC 2017.

Two of the biggest games to make use of Vulkan on Linux are The Talos Principle and DOTA 2. Which should be interesting to see if AAA developers will pick the API next year over Microsoft’s DirectX 12. Since Vulkan is not vendor specific and does support Intel, AMD and NVIDIA. Marking a significant advantage across the board for Linux adoption.

For more on DirectX 12, check out Penguin Recordings latest video.

The Unity 5.6 beta has several big improvements, beginning with the Particle System and GPU Instancing. Since there’s even a brand new Video Player which has been rebuilt from scratch. Now able to handle smooth 4K playback and support 360 degree VR videos.

Unity 5.6 even supports new platforms like Google Daydream/Cardboard VR and Facebook Gameroom. While the subsequent beta update will add the new Progressive Lightmapper, which has been shown off at UNITE 2016. The main goal is to therefore reduce baking times and improve iteration times on lighting.

After the Unity 5.6 the next big update is Unity 2017. Hence the focus will be on a fully multi-threaded job system to improve multicore CPU usage. A new Timeline tool to deliver improved storytelling and cinematics. The full details for the Unity 5.6 beta release are here.

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Linux gaming gets ready to tower DirectX competitor Vulkan

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#Linux-based Steam machines and mobile devices should #improve #gaming significantly with the soon-to-be-released Vulkan API (application programming interface).

Vulkan, as many already know, is designed to be used for many applications, but is most relevant for games, similar to DirectX in Windows. A whole new API that is a much-needed upgrade from the aging OpenGL, which was introduced back in 1991 by Silicon Graphics.

Khronos, the consortium behind the development of Vulkan, has yet to issue a formal release date. But interest for the new API has grown significantly since Intel and Qualcomm first highlighted it.

Now Khronos has since scheduled an introductory Vulkan webinar for February 18th. Since the consortium delayed the release of Vulkan 1.0 in December, explaining that the API is in its “final stretch.”

Designed to improve the visual functionality of games on Linux, Mac and mobile devices. Along with using fewer system resources, preserving battery life in laptops and mobile devices.
In addition to gaming, the API could be used for further applications. Vehicles, virtual reality headsets, robots and drones that rely on visual computing. All written using the new API.

Vulkan is actually a low-level API that uses a closer interaction with hardware than OpenGL, which in-turn renders games faster. To top it off, there are fewer steps involved in drawing up images as Vulkan is designed to keep up to modern hardware, such as multi-core processors and high-performance GPU’s.
OpenGL was created to provide an abstraction layer, which work for older hardware. While newer low-level APIs reduce the level of abstraction and overhead for programs needed to interact with the hardware. So games will be able to exploit the full power of GPU’s now using Vulkan. Developers can also define how graphics are rendered, a huge change from OpenGL, which kept most of the hardware rendered graphics hidden.

“Modern games today are developed in DirectX, but Vulkan also makes porting games to other platforms more efficient,” said Jason Ekstrand. A developer at Intel that outlined the details in a talk at the FOSDEM (Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting) forum in late January.

“Up to now, graphics quality would actually degrade when trying to port from Windows to Linux or Mac. But with Vulkan, quality remains largely intact when porting from DirectX,” Ekstrand said. “Writing games becomes easier, and supporters hope that this will draw developers to Vulkan.”

Tech vendors have recently started pushing to develop low-level APIs such as Apple’s Metal, DirectX 12 and AMD’s new GPUOpen. See Vulkan is designed to work across multiple hardware platforms, which also shares some characteristics with OpenCL, mostly hardware agnostic, used for high-performance computing.

Companies supporting Vulkan, including AMD and Intel, have already committed to releasing open-source drivers. Other graphics chip makers are backing Vulkan. Imagination Technologies — which makes GPUs for Apple devices — will demonstrate Vulkan at the upcoming Mobile World Congress show. Nvidia is holding sessions to discuss Vulkan at its GPU Technology conference in April.

Vulkan SDKs will be available for Linux, Android and Windows, according to the Khronos’ official website. So stay tuned.

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Vulkan will not hit end of year release according to Khronos update

vulkan_api_update_outlines_2016_release

The Vulkan Working Group recently #announced that the open-standard #OpenGL #successor will not hit the end of year release. Vulkan, which arose from AMD’s defunct Mantle API, was expected to roll out before the end of 2015.

Rather than explaining the details, here is the full update from the Vulkan homepage.

“We have some good news and some bad news.  The year-end target release date for Vulkan will not be met.  However, we are in the home stretch and the release of Vulkan 1.0 is imminent!

Here is a more detailed update…

The Vulkan specification is complete and undergoing legal review and final polishing. The Vulkan conformance tests are being finalized and multiple member companies are preparing drivers for release. Implementation feedback is the vital final stage of making any Khronos specification ready for primetime, and the Vulkan 1.0 specification will be published when the first conformant implementations are confirmed.

Work is also progressing to complete Vulkan SDKs for Windows, Android and Linux. Google has upgraded to Promoter membership and is now on the Khronos Board to help steer Vulkan strategy for Android and the wider industry.

There is considerable energy driving the work to bring you Vulkan. We are planning Vulkan sessions and demos at key industry events throughout the year. We are excited about the emerging Vulkan ecosystem that will create new business opportunities for the graphics and compute industry.

Vulkan will set the foundation for graphics and compute APIs for years to come and so Khronos is taking the time needed to do this right – and the Vulkan 1.0 release is near!”

While this is obviously a disappointment, it is not entirely. The delayed release shows development is close to, if not already finished and testing has to comply with individual companies respective drivers. A big deal for Linux and SteamOS and the negate reports regarding frame rate after launch.
This support is also a given for Nvidia but the more serious contender AMD, has struggled with graphics support to the point where an open-source driver initiative is being put into place.

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