With the annual Game Developer Conference taking place next month in San Francisco, the session catalogs for the conference are finally being published and it looks like we may be in for some interesting news on the API front. Word comes via the Tech Report and regular contributor SH SOTN that 3 different low level API sessions have popped up in the session catalog thus far. These sessions are covering both Direct3D and OpenGL, and feature the 4 major contributors for PC graphics APIs: Microsoft, AMD, NVIDIA, and Intel.

The session descriptions only offer a limited amount of information on their respective contents, so we don’t know whether anything here is a hard product announcement or whether it’s being presented for software research & development purposes, but at a minimum it would give us an idea into what both Microsoft and the OpenGL hardware members are looking into as far as API efficiency is concerned. The subject has become an item of significant interest over the past couple of years, first with AMD’s general clamoring for low level APIs, and more recently with the launch of their Mantle API. And with the console space now generally aligned with the PC space (x86 CPUs + D3D11 GPUs), now is apparently as good a time as any to put together a low level API that can reach into the PC space.

With GDC taking place next month we’ll know soon enough just what Microsoft and its hardware partners are planning. In the meantime let’s take a quick look at the 3 sessions.

DirectX: Evolving Microsoft's Graphics Platform

Presented by: Microsoft; Anuj Gosalia, Development Manager, Windows Graphics

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.

Come learn our plans to deliver.

Direct3D Futures

Presented by: Microsoft; Max McMullen, Development Lead, Windows Graphics

Come learn how future changes to Direct3D will enable next generation games to run faster than ever before!

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.

Approaching Zero Driver Overhead in OpenGL

Presented By: NVIDIA; Cass Everitt, OpenGL Engineer, NVIDIA; Tim Foley, Advanced Rendering Technology Team Lead, Intel; John McDonald,  Senior Software Engineer, NVIDIA; Graham Sellers,  Senior Manager and Software Architect, AMD

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.

Source: SH SOTN (via the Tech Report)

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  • SirMaster - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    No... Mantle is pointless because of this.

    The people who said Mantle is pointless figured that just from the fact that Mantle was about to exist meant that this would naturally follow.

    At least that what I've always figured. It's basic competition.
  • Krysto - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    This is EXACTLY why I supported Mantle. Because I knew that if it becomes popular it forces the others to respond and either join AMD's Mantle project and all support it, or do something about their more popular but bloated APIs and make them more inline with Mantle.

    Win-win for gamers.
  • nevdawg - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Good on AMD for igniting innovation in the industry
  • Wreckage - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    You may want to google "3DFX" and "GLIDE"
  • Mathos - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    And you sir may want to google Nvapi.

    Nvidia has been doing the same thing for years, that AMD is starting now.

    And 3dfx didn't die because of of Glide. 3dfx died, because they got greedy, and decided it was better to buy out one of their board manufacturers and go single source, rather than selling their chips to 2nd party board makers like everyone else. Which caused prices to skyrocket, and innovation in aftermarket pcb designs to die out for their products. Glide support died, because 3dfx ceased to exist, and eventually was bought out by Nvidia.
  • The_Assimilator - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    The difference is that nVidia has never touted NVAPI as the holy grail of performance improvements.
  • Flunk - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    Or Cuda.
  • chizow - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    CUDA is completely different, it was an API designed for compute because there was no compute API in place. Can't fault Nvidia there for innovating and creating an industry and ecosystem from nothing for lack of better tools.
  • Krysto - Friday, February 28, 2014 - link

    I guess. It wouldn't kill them to join the growing HSA Foundation, now, though. If I were them I'd do it only to single out Intel, before they bring their MIC stuff into mainstream processors and start marketing the hell out of it.

    HSA also sounds pretty damn awesome, so it's not like they have to dump CUDA for a much inferior "open" spec. Besides, they could probably continue to support CUDA on top of HSA anyway.
  • TheJian - Sunday, March 2, 2014 - link

    Cuda 6 has the same type of stuff in software, and is waiting on maxwell to use it. It would be unwise to join HSA while you have a better option in Cuda that owns 90% share already. Kill HSA with Cuda is the smart business solution (whether I like that or not doesn't matter, talking WISE business moves here). Back down when forced when you have so much invested in cuda.

    Like MS with directX, you don't help OpenGL by supporting it in Xbox1 until forced with so much tied up in DirectX. If mobile getting desktop gpu stuff (k1, m1, v1 etc) causes a ton of stuff to go OpenGL (which PS4 uses, not DX, and so far sold ~2x more than xbox1) then MS will be forced to go there, but until then why help them kill your platform? I think MS loses this war (just due to OpenGL's portability to everything else, and Intel starting to move into android bigger) but I understand it was their best "business" move. If you want a game to run everywhere easily you avoid DX which is WINTEL x86 only.

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