The Game Developers Conference is San Francisco starts today and you can expect to see more information about DirectX 12 than you could ever possibly want, so be prepared. But what about the original low-level API, AMD Mantle. Utilized in Battlefield 4, Thief and integrated into the Crytek engine (announced last year), announced with the release of the Radeon R9 290X/290, Mantle was truly the instigator that pushed Microsoft into moving DX12's development along at a faster pace.
Since DX12's announcement, AMD has claimed that Mantle would live on, bringing performance advantages to AMD GPUs and would act as the sounding board for new API features for AMD and game development partners. And, as was always trumpeted since the very beginning of Mantle, it would become an open API, available for all once it outgrew the beta phase that it (still) resides in.
Something might have changed there.
A post over on the AMD Gaming blog from Robert Hallock has some news about Mantle to share as GDC begins. First, the good news:
AMD is a company that fundamentally believes in technologies unfettered by restrictive contracts, licensing fees, vendor lock-ins or other arbitrary hurdles to solving the big challenges in graphics and computing. Mantle was destined to follow suit, and it does so today as we proudly announce that the 450-page programming guide and API reference for Mantle will be available this month (March, 2015) at www.amd.com/mantle.
This documentation will provide developers with a detailed look at the capabilities we’ve implemented and the design decisions we made, and we hope it will stimulate more discussion that leads to even better graphics API standards in the months and years ahead.
That's great! We will finally be able to read about the API and how it functions, getting access to the detailed information we have wanted from the beginning. But then there is this portion:
AMD’s game development partners have similarly started to shift their focus, so it follows that 2015 will be a transitional year for Mantle. Our loyal customers are naturally curious what this transition might entail, and we wanted to share some thoughts with you on where we will be taking Mantle next:
AMD will continue to support our trusted partners that have committed to Mantle in future projects, like Battlefield™ Hardline, with all the resources at our disposal.
- Mantle’s definition of “open” must widen. It already has, in fact. This vital effort has replaced our intention to release a public Mantle SDK, and you will learn the facts on Thursday, March 5 at GDC 2015.
- Mantle must take on new capabilities and evolve beyond mastery of the draw call. It will continue to serve AMD as a graphics innovation platform available to select partners with custom needs.
- The Mantle SDK also remains available to partners who register in this co-development and evaluation program. However, if you are a developer interested in Mantle "1.0" functionality, we suggest that you focus your attention on DirectX® 12 or GLnext.
Essentially, AMD's Mantle API in it's "1.0" form is at the end of its life, only supported for current partners and the publicly available SDK will never be posted. Honestly, at this point, this isn't so much of a let down as it is a necessity. DX12 and GLnext have already superseded Mantle in terms of market share and mind share with developers and any more work AMD put into getting devs on-board with Mantle is wasted effort.
Battlefield 4 is likely to be the only major title to use AMD Mantle
AMD claims to have future plans for Mantle though it will continue to be available only to select partners with "custom needs." I would imagine this would expand outside the world games but could also mean game consoles could be the target, where developers are only concerned with AMD GPU hardware.
So – from our perspective, Mantle as we know is pretty much gone. It served its purpose, making NVIDIA and Microsoft pay attention to the CPU bottlenecks in DX11, but it appears the dream was a bit bigger than the product could become. AMD shouldn't be chastised because of this shift nor for its lofty goals that we kind-of-always knew were too steep a hill to climb. Just revel in the news that pours from GDC this week about DX12.
I hope this finally means an
I hope this finally means an end to any more Star Swarm demos.
Maybe they are going to use
Maybe they are going to use Mantle 2.0 with LiquidVR
Does anyone feel sorry for
Does anyone feel sorry for AMD? They try so hard but can/will never have the money to compete with Intel or, for the most part, NVIDIA.
This whole mantle idea was really a step forward for gaming but is lost with DX12 just a few months later.
One must ask, why did AMD pour precious resources/money into Mantle when they knew the timetable (and features of DX12)? The narrative that Microsoft somehow invented DX12 post mantle is simply not supported by the data/complexity of the project/rumors.
I wish them all the best. Just sad to see money that could have gone into better 3xx parts thrown at making battlefield 4 run 6 FPS faster on an i7 part. I really hope the 3xx parts are not 28nm…
Thank you, AMD for paving
Thank you, AMD for paving this way again. Thank you for being open and close to dev as possible. Thank you also for the commitment in VR.
You don’t have to be a genious to see when a company tries its best to be correct to … well everyone. Perhaps up to a certain point – after all, money has to be made.
I will be getting two of those R300 flagship cards when they come out, even if the new Maxwells are a bit better than them. The “Red side” has deserved it!
Are you serious? You would
Are you serious? You would buy a R3xx if it was not as good since the “red side” deserves it??
NVIDIA nor AMD are charities. While I hate to see AMD becoming non-competitive on the desktop CPU and less on the GPU, why donate your money to a better cause?
Lets hope R3xx is a leap forward like the 290 vs 780 at a better price point.
until then, please donate your money toward cancer research 🙂
AMD – lame duck (copy&paste)
AMD – lame duck (copy&paste) company in the world… tztztz AMD BSOD driver error / install problems / Omega Alpha phase II driver summer 2015 – error AMD CCC Catalyst crash. OpenCL & property AMD Mantle rules the world – in all HPC Supercomputer of the world with HSA and hUMA revolutionary AMD Software – and in all (underpowered AMD) NextGen Game Console!
AMD – lame duck (copy&paste) company – so WTF ! AMD have 100% marketshare of AMD… AMD Marked Leader…
In real world – AMD go bankruptcy with under 20% markedshares and best ‘AMD Fixer 6 for dummys’ professional AMD PR campaign ever – go AMD!
Despite me being Mr King of
Despite me being Mr King of fanboism with AMD I will admit Mantle literally sucks.
When I tryed it with BF4 I had mantle64.dll crashing every 30 min. Gave up on it and sacfriced the extra performance which it did indeed give like it claimed. It just was never stable.
Ill take good ol Open GL any day of the week
It’s so dead that Nvidia’s
It’s so dead that Nvidia’s Vulkan decided to adopt it?