Intel's Open-Source Driver Lands Vulkan Mesh Shader Support

Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 2 September 2022 at 02:24 PM EDT. 4 Comments
Intel's open-source "ANV" Vulkan driver for Linux systems has added support for the newly-ratified Vulkan mesh shader extension.

Vulkan 1.3.226 introduced VK_EXT_mesh_shader as a cross-vendor Vulkan API extension adding mesh shaders supprot and inspired by NVIDIA's existing vendor-specific extension. The VK_EXT_mesh_shader extension is a new mechanism to let applications generate collections of geometric primitives via programmable mesh shading. Vulkan mesh shaders are an alternative to the existing programmable primitive shading pipeline.

It was just yesterday that Vulkan 1.3.226 was published and thankfully with Intel's open-source engineers being involved in the Vulkan working group and crafting this extension, like the RADV driver they already had code written in advance. Merged this morning by Valve's Timur Kristof was the SPIR-V and NIR changes for handling VK_EXT_mesh_shader. Meanwhile being merged a few minutes ago by Marcin Slusarz was the ANV-specific enablement work for VK_EXT_mesh_shader.

ANV mesh shader support becomes all the more important moving forward as Intel discrete GPUs with Arc Graphics become capable of running modern games on Linux.

The Intel mesh shader implementation was some 500 lines of new code, on top of 400+ lines of code from the SPIR-V/NIR changes. Now with Mesa 22.3 there is this Vulkan mesh shader support ready for Intel graphics hardware.

Meanwhile there is also a merge request in plumbing VK_EXT_mesh_shader support for the Radeon Vulkan driver "RADV" and it's looking like that will also be merged soon.
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