We reported yesterday about some recently posted session abstracts for the upcoming Game Developers Conference. The session descriptions hint very strongly that an update to Microsoft's DirectX is in the works—and that the focus of the update will be lowering CPU overhead and offering "closer to the metal" control over graphics hardware. Not only that, but Intel, Nvidia, and AMD will be presenting a session on "zero driver overhead" programming techniques for OpenGL, as well.
Those goals sound an awful lot like the impetus behind AMD's Mantle API, which raises the question of Mantle's future, now that the rest of the industry is pursuing similar initiatives in more collaborative fashion. AMD itself seems to be keenly aware of these issues. The firm has just contacted us with a statement on these matters. Here's what it says:
We saw your "Mantle No More?" article yesterday and AMD would like you to know that it supports and celebrates a direction for game development that is aligned with AMD's vision of lower-level, 'closer to the metal' graphics APIs for PC gaming. While industry experts expect this to take some time, developers can immediately leverage efficient API design using Mantle, and AMD is very excited to share the future of our own API with developers at this year’s Game Developers Conference.
So AMD sees the movement in the industry around graphics APIs as validation of its own approach with Mantle. I'd say that's warranted.
I'm just curious about what comes next. Will Microsoft make AMD pay some kind of price for stepping out of line and freelancing on the API front? Or, on the contrary, will AMD contribute Mantle's ideas and perhaps even syntax to a future version of Direct3D? Or, you know, will both of those things somehow happen at the same time?
Sounds like we may get some answers in a couple of weeks at GDC.