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Linux gaming gets ready to tower DirectX competitor Vulkan


#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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