State of Graphics: DirectX 12 & Vulkan

In Second Life we run on OpenGL. Most Windows games run on DirectX. Microsoft has announced DirectX 12. It will essentially make NVIDIA 500 series and older cards obsolete. To use DX12 you’ll need a 600 or newer series card. This video explains what is happening. OpenGL is not left out.

It looks like ATI/AMD is making a replacement for OpenGL called Vulkan. It sounds like Vulcan is targeting more devices than DirectX 12. I expect to see Vulcan working on an Android mobile device way before DX12. I still have serious doubts we will see real time 3D render of good quality on mobile devices in the near future.

So, is the Lab planning to upgrade SL to Vulkan? I don’t know. I’ve asked. Vulkan is open source.

Word is OpenGL will still be developed. I think that odd. OpenGL is referred to in one place that came up in my research as a high level API, higher than Vulkan. The basic geek speak uses high and low to refer to how close you are to the hardware… the closer you get to the hardware the more programming you have to do. With higher level languages the more the language does for you.

Think of it this way… a low level addition command would be written as: place this value in Reg#1 and this other value in Reg2 then preform an XOR operation on then and place the result in Reg3 then move Reg3 to memory as variable X. A high level language would let you write the code as A + B = X and handle all the registers, operations and moves for you.

There are good reasons for using higher and lower level languages and API’s. But, generally we want API’s that produce more overall efficiency. From the other stuff said about Vulkan I would think it should be called a higher level API…. it does way more for the programmer. Whether it is higher or lower it is the next gen descendant of OpenGL.

For those of us playing in SL this means little today. But, suggests that play in Sansar will mean we will need a 600 series card or higher.

If you are looking for more details start at the Wikipedia: Vulkan API.


Second Life: Singularity Viewer

A new release is out. It is primarily for users with AMD/ATI video cards. Unless you are having a problem, you don’t need this release.

From the video "Inner winter" 5

From the video “Inner winter” 5 by Pepa Cometa, on Flickr

You may be aware of a recent AMD/ATI driver update to stopped mesh items from rendering. This isn’t a Singularity problem. It affected all viewers as it was a driver problem. If you had an ATI/AMD video card and updated your driver, you had the problem. Continue reading

SL Wiki 2015-05

Second Life Wiki is editable now. That changed a week or so ago. But, in the process we lost a lot of newer wiki pages. Plus lots of people were waiting to update information on various subjects in the wiki. So, far the last few days I’ve seen a lot of activity in the wiki. In the last 24 hours about 600 pages have been added or edited.

Release Notes for the Experience Tools Viewer (3.8.0-298001) popped back up today. The page includes a link for the viewer.  Continue reading