New Vulkan Extension Proposed To Help In Emulating AMD's Old Mantle API

Written by Michael Larabel in Vulkan on 16 November 2021 at 04:57 AM EST. 26 Comments
Besides the efforts out there for implementing the likes of Direct3D, OpenCL, and OpenGL on top of Vulkan, there does still exist the hobbyist project for implementing AMD's Mantle API atop Vulkan for which the Khronos API was originally based. A new Vulkan extension is now being proposed to help in that Mantle-on-Vulkan effort.

GRVK is that open-source project implementing AMD's Mantle API atop Vulkan. GRVK has seen a few releases over the past year, most recently was GRVK 0.4 from back in April.

AMD hasn't even supported Mantle in their Windows drivers since 2019 so the GRVK effort does provide some usefulness for those on Windows still wanting to run old Mantle software or on Linux for where Mantle never ended up being supported. This low-overhead graphics API was just supported by a few notable Windows games like Battlefield 4, Thief, Dragon Age: Inquisition, and Sniper Elite III.

In any case, the open-source GRVK project continues in this effort led by Clément Guérin. He is now proposing a VK_MESA_rect_list extension for Vulkan for adding a new primitive topology to rasterize rectangles from a list of three axis-aligned vertices. This would better match the behavior of Mantle and this functionality is used by at least the Battlefield 4 game. The extension may also prove useful for the Zink OpenGL-on-Vulkan effort.

The proposed Vulkan extension is publicly proposed via Vulkan-Docs. There is also an experimental RADV implementation of the proposed extension and plans to implement this extension too for the Intel ANV Vulkan driver.

We'll see how it goes and if VK_MESA_rect_list gets picked up for Vulkan. This would be the first new Vulkan extension we see designed initially for improving Mantle emulation, but in the past we have seen various other Vulkan extensions introduced for enhancing the compatibility with other APIs. Meanwhile the latest GRVK emulation code continues to be worked on via GitHub.
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