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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  • Margalus - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    maybe not, but at least we will have multiple choices of gpu vendors, whereas mantle only works with a few select amd gpu's
  • chizow - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    lol saneblane, rough news cycle I know but try and keep it together.

    It will be different because Microsoft and Khronos bring credibility to the whole deal, along with the fact DX and OpenGL will support 100% of graphics hardware on the market. Unlike Mantle which only supported AMD, which only has 35% of the discrete market and 18% of the total market. With that little marketshare and AMD's driver problems and financial woes, it was easy to see why Mantle was destined to fail.

  • SleepyFE - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    Looks like you weren't keeping up with Mantle news. AMD said there is no reason it could not work on other graphics cards like Nvidia's. The question is, will Nvidia provide support with their hardware once the api is out (right now it's still beta so complaning about bugs and limited support means you don't know what a public testing period is = beta).
  • chizow - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    You mean AMD said anyone could write their own low level API for their own hardware and call it Mantle? LOL yeah of course, for Nvidia it's called NVAPI, but why would they bother calling it Mantle when it's already called NVAPI?

    Don't drink the Kool-Aid, Mantle is proprietary, if it was open as AMD claimed we'd have source code or at the very least, an SDK and it wouldn't be tied to GCN as it was always designed to be.
  • Friendly0Fire - Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - link

    If the DX/GL updates require new cards (which isn't as clear as you make it up; whereas Mantle was an AMD-driven push to ultimately sell more of their GCN cards, DirectX and OpenGL are controlled by independent third parties who have zero interest in pushing new card sales), at least any new card would support it. With Mantle, only the AMD cards would have ever worked (fat chance of NVIDIA supporting that, let alone Intel).
  • SleepyFE - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    Right. When Mantle comes out it's on Nvidia to support it and they probably won't.

    As for not needing new cards: If you want hardware support you need new hardware. Software support solves nothing since they are trying to put less software abstraction between the card and the game.
  • jwcalla - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    The OpenGL presentation is most likely this one:


    No need to wait until GDC.
  • beginner99 - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    I don't see why this should male mantle obsolete. This new D3D will soonest be available with Windows 9. Considering how long it took to go from dx9 to dx10, that will be years till it is wide-spread. Mantle is available now and guess what it works in Win 7 and 8. No need to buy a new CPU and OS now if you get an AMD GPU.
  • tuxRoller - Thursday, February 27, 2014 - link

    The consensus at Phoronix seems to be that it will be quite similar to an Nvidia talk given during Steam Dev Days.
  • dwade123 - Friday, February 28, 2014 - link

    RIP Mantle. You will not be missed.

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