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DirectX and OpenGL Low-Level Hardware Access

By NAG3LT01-03-2014

The appearance of AMD’s Mantle has stirred up the development of other graphics APIs. As Mantle is quite successful in reducing CPU overhead and should get Linux support in the future, other companies see a real threat to their products. While AMD has said that Mantle is open for others to use, the terms are not clear. Nvidia has already mentioned the possibility of low level access in OpenGL at Steam Dev Days.

We will hear a lot more news about that soon. NeoGAF user Dictator93 spotted some interesting talks at upcoming Game Developer Conference 2014. There are two Direct3D related Microsoft talks. Their abstracts state:

For nearly 20 years, DirectX has been the platform used by game developers to create the fastest, most visually impressive games on the planet.

However, you asked us to do more. You asked us to bring you even closer to the metal and to do so on an unparalleled assortment of hardware. You also asked us for better tools so that you can squeeze every last drop of performance out of your PC, tablet, phone and console.


In this session we will discuss future improvements in Direct3D that will allow developers an unprecedented level of hardware control and reduced CPU rendering overhead across a broad ecosystem of hardware.

If you use cutting-edge 3D graphics in your games, middleware, or engines and want to efficiently build rich and immersive visuals, you don't want to miss this talk.

Other presentation comes from the Kronos group responsible for OpenGL development and promises the large reduction in OpenGL driver overhead.

Driver overhead has been a frustrating reality for game developers for the entire life of the PC game industry. On desktop systems, driver overhead can decrease frame rate, while on mobile devices driver overhead is more insidious--robbing both battery life and frame rate. In this unprecedented sponsored session, Graham Sellers (AMD), Tim Foley (Intel), Cass Everitt (NVIDIA) and John McDonald (NVIDIA) will present high-level concepts available in today's OpenGL implementations that radically reduce driver overhead--by up to 10x or more. The techniques presented will apply to all major vendors and are suitable for use across multiple platforms. Additionally, they will demonstrate practical demos of the techniques in action in an extensible, open source comparison framework.

If these claims will be reproduced in the reality, that may mean a short life for Mantle, as DirectX and OpenGL get similar boosts in performance. It is nice seeing that Mantle has encouraged other vendors to work on the improvement of existing APIs instead of returning to the vendor-specific free for all of the 90’s.


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