CHIP DESIGNERS AMD, Intel and Nvidia teamed up to tout the advantages of the OpenGL multi-platform application programming interface (API) at this year's Game Developers Conference (GDC).
Sharing a stage at the event in San Francisco, the three major chip designers explained how, with a little tuning, OpenGL can offer developers between seven and 15 times better performance as opposed to the more widely recognised increases of 1.3 times.
AMD manager of software development Graham Sellers, Intel graphics software engineer Tim Foley and Nvidia OpenGL engineer Cass Everitt and senior software engineer John McDonald presented their OpenGL techniques on real-world devices to demonstrate how these techniques are suitable for use across multiple platforms.
During the presentation, Intel's Foley talked up three techniques that can help OpenGL increase performance and reduce driver overhead: persistent-mapped buffers for faster streaming of dynamic geometry, integrating Multidrawindirect (MDI) for faster submission of many draw calls, and packing 2D textures into arrays, so texture changes no longer break batches.
They also mentioned during their presentation that with proper implementations of these high-level OpenGL techniques, driver overhead could be reduced to almost zero. This is something that Nvidia's software engineers have already claimed is impossible with Direct3D and only possible with OpenGL (see video below).
Nvidia's VP of game content and technology, Ashu Rege, blogged his account of the GDC joint session on the Nvidia blog.
"The techniques presented apply to all major vendors and are suitable for use across multiple platforms," Rege wrote.
"OpenGL can cut through the driver overhead that has been a frustrating reality for game developers since the beginning of the PC game industry. On desktop systems, driver overhead can decrease frame rate. On mobile devices, however, driver overhead is even more insidious, robbing both battery life and frame rate."
The slides from the talk, entitled Approaching Zero Driver Overhead, are embedded below.
At the Game Developers Conference (GDC), Microsoft also unveiled the latest version of its graphics API, Directx 12, with Direct3D 12 for more efficient gaming.
Showing off the new Directx 12 API during a demo of Xbox One racing game Forza 5 running on a PC with an Nvidia Geforce Titan Black graphics card, Microsoft said Directx 12 gives applications the ability to directly manage resources to perform synchronisation. As a result, developers of advanced applications can control the GPU to develop games that run more efficiently. µ
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