AMD has announced a new alternative to DirectX 11 called Mantle. For some time now AMD and Crytech have been complaining about how Microsoft’s API is limiting today’s GPU potential and by the look of it, it appears that AMD has had enough of it.
AMD shows today for the first time how the company sees the future of game development.
There have been rumors as well as expectations that with the next gen consoles some things are about to change. AMD will be providing CPU’s and GPU’s for the PS4 and XboxOne, and all of them will feature a x86 architecture specific for PC. It was sort of obvious that porting console games to PC will be much easier than before since they will be sharing the same architecture, however AMD has decided to go a few steps further. Mantle, the new development model is a combination of API specifications and GPU drivers which will enable game developers to use all the potential of AMD’s upcoming GCN 2.0 GPU architecture.
It seems that AMD is serious about their api , DICE one of the larger game developers will be implementing this new feature in the upcoming blockbuster-Battlefield 4 which will be available for download in December. Mantle will also enable game developers to control hardware resources which is in some way a console way of making games transfer to PC. CPU and GPU resources will be now much easier to control as well as memory, which was one of the aching points of the PC platform.
EA has also announced that Mantle will be used in their upcoming major titles, such as Dragon Age:Inquisition as well as on all Frostbite based games. AMD states that this will provide nine times more draw calls per second than any API available, which will bring if true mind blowing improvements in terms of performance
It will be interesting to see Microsoft’s reaction to AMD’s move, since it has been known that the Redmond Giant doesn’t like alternatives, and Mantle is certainly one of them. Mantle has one more feature that will make Microsoft dislike it – its Open Source project.
As an open source project, everyone will be free to contribute, even Nvidia who might be able to add more features that will improve its GPU performance as well, however , we will have to wait and see what AMD’ reaction to that be. It is unlikely that game developers will favor only one hardware manufacturer (which would be bad for sales of course) and some agreement will certainly be made between AMD and Nvidia, like the agreement for TressFX.
Interesting times we are living in, especially when you look at Valve’s Steam OS that is on its way into the gaming world along with Valve’s Steam Boxes. Valve has also had enough of Microsoft’s API (specially the Windows 8 one) and is on its way of making its own ecosystem, something that no publisher and game developer has even dared to try , until AMD came in a couple of days later with its Mantle.
AMD has stated that Mantle is a product of an ongoing collaboration with game developers in order to make the most efficient game development tool available.