Vulkan For Android
Written by David Conrad   
Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Vulkan is the new open standard cross platform graphics API from Khronos which is still under development. Android is working towards bringing Vulkan to Android while at the same time continuing to support Open GL ES, giving devs a choice of which rendering engine to use.

Vulcan is the successor to OpenGL and, as we reported when it was announced in March, had been referred to as the "Next Generation OpeGL". The change of name to Vulcan signals the fact that it is not backward compatible with OpenGL and Khronos is continuing with traditional OpenGL. 

Vulcan can be thought of as a  "closer to the metal" graphics systems like AMDs Mantle, Microsoft's DirectX 12 and Apple's Metal. According to Khronos it has the following features: 

  • Direct control over GPU operation, with minimized driver overhead for maximum performance

  • Multi-threading-friendly architecture to increase overall system performance

  • Designed to be used in a wide variety of devices including mobile, desktop, consoles, and embedded platforms

  • Uses Khronos’ new SPIR-V intermediate representation for shading language flexibility and simplified drivers

  • Extensible layered architecture enables innovative tools without impacting production performance while validating, debugging, and profiling

  • Simpler drivers for low-overhead efficiency and cross vendor portability

According to a post by Technical Program Manager Shannon Woods on the Andriod Developers Blog, Vulcan should help developers of games and 3D graphics applications render complex scenes more efficiently and help avoid bottlenecks: 

Vulkan is being designed from the ground up to minimize CPU overhead in the driver, and allow your application to control GPU operation more directly. Vulkan also enables better parallelization by allowing multiple threads to perform work such as command buffer construction at once.

The Android team will provide tests for identifying problems in drivers for Vulcan in the Android Compatibility Test Suite similar to those already available for OpenGL ES and will also contribute them to Khronos for use in Vulkan’s own open source Conformance Test Suite. This will enable Khronos to test Vulkan drivers across platforms and hardware, and improve the 3D graphics ecosystem as a whole.



More Information

Low-overhead rendering with Vulkan

Vulcan Overview (Khronos)

Related Articles

The New OpenGL - Vulkan and SPIR-V 


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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 August 2015 )