It is an open standard cross-platform API that is meant to be used by developers of games requiring high levels of graphical performance. Its cross-platform nature saves developers from having to learn platform-specific graphical technologies, like DirectX for Windows, as it handles that communication on their behalf.
The Khronos Group has released new open source tools that allow the Vulkan API, a 3D graphics API, to work on iOS and macOS. The initiative aims to ease the developers work while porting games to Apple’s hardware from other platforms.
Previously Vulkan has been usable on a number of major platforms, including Windows and Linux on desktops and Android on mobile, but not on macOS and iOS. With the new open source tools developers can continue taking advantage of technologies like Apple’s Metal graphics API.
Released today by the Vulkan Working Group’s Portability Initiative, the free tools are part of a universally portable subset of Vulkan 1.0 that can be run natively over Metal. The main release, the MoltenVK library, translates calls within the Vulkan portable subset to Metal calls, using the open source SPIRV-Cross cross-compiler to translate its shaders into native code formats.
The Working Group collaborated with game developers Valve, LunarG, and the Brenwill Workshop to produce the MoltenVK library, with Valve already implementing the library in its own software. The popular game Dota 2 has been altered to work with Vulkan on Mac, with players expected to see the change in a free update within the next few months.
“We have been running substantial production loads through the Vulkan tools on Mac, including Dota 2 which is now running faster than the native OpenGL version,” said Valve developer Pierre-Loup Griffais. “These efforts are aimed toward reducing development and porting costs for any developer supporting multiple platforms.” Read more…