If DirectX 12 is a radical change when it comes to handling the GPU, Vulkan does the same outside the Windows environment. glNext is renamed Vulkan, which arrives to modernize OpenGL by providing it with everything necessary to extract the maximum performance from the most advanced GPUs.
And we are excited to see the logos of Oculus, Valve, Sony, AMD, nVidia, Intel, Qualcomm and ARM, among others, this gives us to understand the levels of support they will receive this new API, that will work on any platform that supports OpenGL ES 3.1 or higher and will be a critical component of SteamOS and the games developed for the operating system from Valve, who will talk Vulkan this Thursday at the GDC.
Vulkan is a unified specification that minimizes driver overhead and enables multi-threaded GPU command preparation for optimal performance on mobile, desktop, console and embedded platforms. Vulkan also offers the direct control over the GPU demanded by the most sophisticated engines, middleware and applications that seek performance and portability with simpler and more predictable drivers. Vulkan’s layered design allows different hardware manufacturers to implement a common and extensible architecture for code validation, debugging and profiling during development without impacting production performance; this flexibility is expected to allow strong innovations in the tools for GPUs from different manufacturers.
In addition, Vulkan and OpenCL 2.1 are now shared basic technologies of intermediate languages, giving rise to SPIR-V, a revolution in the Khronos Standard Portable Intermediate Representation originally used by OpenCL, being now completely defined by the Khronos Group with native support for shader and kernel. Broadly speaking, the need for an integrated high-level compiler is eliminated, which significantly reduces the complexity of the GPU driver.
Those interested in more technical information can read much more on the official Khronos Group website, where you can download the documentation with the Vulkan features and participate in the discussion forums.