Graphics...the final frontier
One API to rule them all. Wrong fantasy franchise, perhaps, but that’s the idea behind Vulkan, the snazzy open-source successor to OpenGL, alternative to Microsoft’s DirectX and something that might shake up gaming on everything from PCs to phones. But what’s an API? And why should you care? We’ll come to that. For now, if Vulkan is everything it’s cracked up to be, it’ll make games run faster and look better on your existing PC. It might make that SteamOS thing a goer, too. Anyway, version 1.0 is out, so the chattering weberati will be casually trading Vulkan references to prove their PC gaming prowess. Time to bone up. Plus I’ve just sat through a five-hour keynote stream on Vulkan from GDC 2016. So humour me. This stuff is actually quite interesting.
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Make your games run faster for free
It’s not a huge surprise. But it is interesting. Microsoft has lifted the lid on its latest graphics API, DirectX 12. And the big news isn’t a fancy new rendering technology. The big news is better performance. Just like AMD’s Mantle API, DX12 promises to reduce CPU loads when playing games by as much as 50 per cent. Intriguingly, DX12 is coming to the Xbox One and phones, too. Which brings us to the really good bit. It looks likely your existing graphics card will be compatible with DX12. And that includes Nvidia GPUs… Read the rest of this entry »
The £40 game-streaming client, and AMD's Mantle
For a dying platform, the technical innovations for the PC aren’t half coming thick and fast. For starters, Alec and Graham have been dabbling with Steam’s new streaming capability. It all looks bloody clever to me and has the knock on effect of rebooting interest in some previously pretty pedestrian kit. £40 mini-ITX board with embedded Atom chip as basis for client streaming box (based on a free OS)? As if that wasn’t enough, AMD’s Mantle API has gone live with beta driver support, promising a brave new age of high performance gaming for all. Well, kinda. Read the rest of this entry »