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NumberXaero

OpenGL
Vulkan is Next-Gen OpenGL

484 posts in this topic

I was trying to bring up the fact that some people believe that Microsoft sabotaged the OpenGL implementation on Windows to increase DirectX adoption. And whether Microsoft will allow Vulkan and Mantle to be first-class citizens with DX12 (if it's even possible) and whether Microsoft will keep their open-source friendly ways up (like Promit mentioned).

 

IIRC, Apple has to explicitly allow support for new APIs because they write their own drivers. So "it just works" isn't always possible.

 

The story I heard was that the Windows NT team had OpenGL because they wanted to break into the CAD workstation market.  The Windows 95 team wanted OpenGL for games, the NT team wouldn't play ball, and hence DirectX (or more specifically Direct3D because DirectX already existed) was born.  If that was the case, any sabotage was internal.  If you've ever had to deal with Microsoft in a professional capacity that's perfectly believable.

 

As for open-source friendliness, it hardly seems relevant; it was never the case that OpenGL was open-source (it's not even software so it can't be).

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I was trying to bring up the fact that some people believe that Microsoft sabotaged the OpenGL implementation on Windows to increase DirectX adoption.


Yes, people do enjoy painting MS as the 'big bad' in all of this when, truth be told, 99% of OpenGL's problems were caused by ARB infighting and incompetence (see GL2.0 and Longs Peak/GL3.0) - the worst MS ever did was fix their software version back on GL1.1 and not ship GL drivers/dlls via Windows update for updated graphics drivers (which is a pain, but given they don't test that component I can see why), but they never actively sabotaged things.

 

https://www.opengl.org/archives/about/arb/meeting_notes/

Go dig in there and see for yourself what Microsoft was doing back when they were part of the ARB.

 

For instance:

 

March 5, 2002
 
ARB_vertex_program:
"Microsoft wanted to alleviate concerns about their statement last week regarding possible claims on vertex program IP. Dave Aronson apologized for the perception that they aren't acting in good faith. They are trying to follow ARB regulations about stating IP as much as possible. When a vote was imminent, they reviewed and felt that they had patents or patents pending covering vertex programming. They do plan on coming up with licensing terms, and have set a hard deadline for themselves of 2 weeks before the June ARB meeting."
 
June 18, 2002
 
ARB_vertex_program:
"Microsoft believes they have patent rights relating to the ARB_vertex_program extension. They did not contribute to the extension, but are trying to be upfront about it. They're offering to license their IP under reasonable and nondiscriminatory terms; will license rights to the extent necessary, provided a reciprocal license is granted to MS. Granted on 1:1 basis for OpenGL 1.3, 1.4, and earlier versions. Contact Dave Aronson for more specifics. Suzy asked Dave to circulate his statement to the participants' list."
 
ARB_fragment_program:
"Microsoft does believe they have IP claims against fragment shaders, too."
"Bill asked about Microsoft's IP position on just the program management framework; Dave was unable to comment at this point."
"Suzy asked Microsoft to figure out their IP claims, if any, against just the program management stuff."
 
September 18, 2002
 
ARB_fragment_program:
"Microsoft noted their previously mentioned IP claim. They were asked if they could be at all more specific as to what their claim was, and will follow up with their lawyers to determine this."
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I really hope this lives upto it's expectation. I'd love to adopt this asap, also all this OGL history is rather facinating to read.

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Remember, Vulkan is going to be a huge pain in the ass compared to GL. The Vulkan API is _much_ cleaner, yes, but it also eschews all the hand-holding and conveniences of GL and forces you to manage all kinds of hardware state and resource migration manually. Vulkan does not _replace_ OpenGL; it simply provides yet another alternative.

The same is true in Microsoft land: D3D11.3 is being released alongside D3D12, bringing the new hardware features to the older API because the newer API is significantly more complicated to use due to the greatly thinner abstractions; it's expected that the average non-AAA developer will want to stick with the older, easier APIs.

THIS. A lot of people don't seem to get these are very low level APIs with a focus on raw memory manipulation and baking of objects/commands that are needed very frequently. You destroyed a texture while it was still in use? BAM! Graphics corruption (or worse, BSOD). You wrote to a constant buffer while it was still in use? Let the random jumping of objects begin! You manipulated the driver buffers and had an off-by-1 error? BAM! Crash or BSOD. Your shader has a loop and is reading the count from unitialized memory? BAM! TDR kicks in or system becomes highly unresponsive.
You need to change certain states more frequently than you thought? Too bad, turns out you need to make some architectural modifications to do what you want efficiently.

It's hard. But I love it, with great power comes great responsability. None of this is a show-stopper for people used to low level programming. But it is certainly not newbie friendly like D3D11 or GL were (if you considered those newbie friendly). Anyway, a lot of people learned hardcore programming back in the DOS days when it was a wild west. So may be this is a good thing. Edited by Matias Goldberg
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Remember, Vulkan is going to be a huge pain in the ass compared to GL. The Vulkan API is _much_ cleaner, yes, but it also eschews all the hand-holding and conveniences of GL and forces you to manage all kinds of hardware state and resource migration manually. Vulkan does not _replace_ OpenGL; it simply provides yet another alternative.

I started my engine with OGL1.2 and being at OGL2.1 + extensions now,I have removed a lot of this convenience OGL over time. I'm currently at the state of handling many things by buffers and in the application itself and that with OGL2.1 (allocate buffer, manage double/triple buffering yourself, handling buffer sync yourself etc.). Most likely I use only a few % of the API at all. I think that a modern OGL architecture (AZDO, using buffers everywhere including UBOs etc) will be close to what you could expect from vulkan and that if they expose some vulkan features as extensions (command buffer), then switching over to vulkan will not be a pain in the ass.

Edited by Ashaman73
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THIS. A lot of people don't seem to get these are very low level APIs with a focus on raw memory manipulation and baking of objects/commands that are needed very frequently. You destroyed a texture while it was still in use?

Come on, time has changed. Current game engines uses multithreading and multithreading is one of the best ways to kill your game project, still people are able to code games smile.png And as game-dev you just can't take all the easy to use OS multithreading support features (mutex, critical sections, synchronise language features etc.).

For rookie coders there will be still comfortable libs around and for professional coders this should not be a problem (thought some headache might be included). On the other hand, the other modern APIs will not take this burden from the developers too.

Edited by Ashaman73
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Hopefully Vulkan "drivers" won't exclude each other so that concurrently using gpus from multiple vendors is possible.

I even wonder how feasible it would be to use igpu (since they are common) for coarse depth rasterization for occlusion culling instead of course.


Hopefully Vulkan could also be used to write an opengl implementation on top of it. With such a standard implementation a lot of non conformity troubles would come to an end.
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I'd be excited to see the possibilities of using an HSA chip (APU) for compute and leaving the dedicated GPU for graphics.  Hopefully with AMD having a big stake in Vulkan and OpenCL 2.1 this will be possible.

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Explicit multi-device capabilities should be a standard part of all these next-gen APIs. Allowing dev's to implement SLI/Crossfire style Alternate Frame Rendering, split frame rendering, or other kind of workload splits, such as moving shadows or post-processing to another GPU, with the developer in control of synchronization and cross-GPU data transfers.

It also opens up the ability for one device to be used for graphics and another purely for compute, with different latencies on each device.

 

If Vulkan doesn't support this, I'll be quite surprised.

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This will be quite interesting as it could potentially mean that a Crossfire/SLI system can accumulate VRAM instead of having to keep each card in a similar state.

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Ashaman73, on 04 Mar 2015 - 07:01 AM, said:

Matias Goldberg, on 04 Mar 2015 - 06:03 AM, said:

THIS. A lot of people don't seem to get these are very low level APIs with a focus on raw memory manipulation and baking of objects/commands that are needed very frequently. You destroyed a texture while it was still in use?

Come on, time has changed. Current game engines uses multithreading and multithreading is one of the best ways to kill your game project, still people are able to code games smile.png

It's not really the same. Multithreading problems can be debugged and there's a lot of literature and tools to understand them.
It's much harder to debug a problem that locks up your entire system every time you try to analyze it.


Ashaman73, on 04 Mar 2015 - 06:48 AM, said:

I'm currently at the state of handling many things by buffers and in the application itself and that with OGL2.1 (allocate buffer, manage double/triple buffering yourself, handling buffer sync yourself etc.). Most likely I use only a few % of the API at all. I think that a modern OGL architecture (AZDO, using buffers everywhere including UBOs etc) will be close to what you could expect from vulkan and that if they expose some vulkan features as extensions (command buffer), then switching over to vulkan will not be a pain in the ass.

If you're already doing AZDO with explicit synchronization then you will find these new APIs pleasing indeed. However there are breaking changes like how textures are being loaded and bound. Since there's no hazard tracking, you can't issue a draw call that uses a texture until the it is actually in GPU memory. Drivers were also handling residency for you, but since now they don't, out of GPU errors can be much more common unless you write your own residency solution. Also how textures are bound is going to change.
Then, in the case of D3D12, there's PSOs, which fortunately you should be already emulating them for forward compatibility.

Indeed, professional developers won't have much problems; whatever annoyance they may have is obliterated by the happiness from the performance gains. I'm talking from a rookie perspective.

I'm still not seeing a lot of issues here. Multithreading debugging is as hard as visual debugging. Most rookie coders will have a hard time using some profiler or debugger nevertheless and reproducing a multithreading issue only occuring in a fast environment (release mode) which can't be reproduced easily in a slower environment (debug mode) will drive many rookies crazy.

So, my point is just, that the new APIs, much like multithreading, will be not suited to beginners, but they are neither hard nor extensive difficult.

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That might be fun as a pet project but otherwise I don’t see the point in subjecting yourself to the tortures that OpenGL driver writers had to endure for so long (and still will unless they got promoted).
The OpenGL API is significantly flawed, which is specifically why these kinds of major upgrades have been requested for so long(’s Peak).

Yet it already happened more or less. As the shader languages came up most IHV removed the fix-pipeline and exchanged it with internal shaders. This could work for OpenGL too, everything got compiled to the intermediate language and delegated to the vulkan driver, why not ?

 

It would be interesting if only the shader code will use the intermediate language or all commands ?

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If Vulkan doesn't support this, I'll be quite surprised.


Well, it is based on Mantle and Mantle had that so I'm hoping they would have left that ability intact; the ImgTech blog example code has a 'graphicsQueue' variable in it which implies there are separate queues which can be made so I'm hoping this means the preservation of per-device queues and separate graphics and compute queues even if the memory transfer one has gone away (although I'd prefer if they kept all 3 but I could live with just the first chunk).
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That might be fun as a pet project but otherwise I don’t see the point in subjecting yourself to the tortures that OpenGL driver writers had to endure for so long (and still will unless they got promoted).
The OpenGL API is significantly flawed, which is specifically why these kinds of major upgrades have been requested for so long(’s Peak).

NVidia has solid GL drivers... but AMD/Intel could probably save themselves a lot of time and money if they could just completely scrap their own GL drivers and just make Vulkan drivers instead. A reliable, open-source GL->Vulkan layer would be very handy for them smile.png

 

It even makes a lot of sense for nVidia. This is a rather high-level thing (compared to a "real" OpenGL implementation) that you write once and never touch again afterwards, and pronto you have backwards compatibility for every card that you sold during the last 10 years, with no weird quirks and very little room for card-driver-combo specific bugs. Plus, every customer can trivially use old OpenGL programs on every new card that you sell in the future.

 

That's an immense advantage if you ask me. If nothing else, it's great for marketing.

 

There exist games that ask for OpenGL 3 or 4, and people will be playing them for another 10 years (fewer people every year, but there are people who still want to play DX9 games nowadays, so why not).

 

Customers who don't want to yank out another few ten thousands for new versions of their CAD software come to mind. They'd probably stick with their hardware (which is totally sufficient as it is, if you're being honest!) for another few years rather than having to update the hardware and the software. So, an IHV interested in selling hardware is somewhat forced to provide OpenGL too, just so the old software keeps working. Now you can let Vulkan do the heavy lifting, and it will run on your new cards on the unmodified OpenGL layer.

Edited by samoth
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NVidia has solid GL drivers... but AMD/Intel could probably save themselves a lot of time and money if they could just completely scrap their own GL drivers and just make Vulkan drivers instead.

That definitely was the case once, but I don't think I've had real trouble with an AMD or Intel driver in the past 5 years...

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KdnRI0nquKc

 

I've read somewhere about also Intel already having a Vulkan demo but I forgot the link.

 

Personally Vulkan might save me the next PC update. I usually get a new PC every 5 years or so to keep up with games demands foremost X-Plane and FSX.

Now I should be able to keep my PC some years longer. wub.png

Curious about GDC Valve news coming today.

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NVidia has solid GL drivers... but AMD/Intel could probably save themselves a lot of time and money if they could just completely scrap their own GL drivers and just make Vulkan drivers instead.

That definitely was the case once, but I don't think I've had real trouble with an AMD or Intel driver in the past 5 years...
performance wise, NV still has a huge edge.
I don't imagine NV supporting an open source GL implementation, as it would mean giving up this advantage.
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