The release of the Vulkan API is imminent

The release of the Vulkan API is imminent

The release of the Vulkan API is imminent


The release of the Vulkan API is said to be imminent by the Khronos Group, with version 1.0 of the API coming shortly after this years end. 

This new API will be a successor to OpenGL, providing a low level API that will work with all GPUs and all operating systems like competing APIs like Metal, Mantle and DirectX 12. 


We have some good news and some bad news.  The year-end target release date for Vulkan will not be met.  However, we are in the home stretch and the release of Vulkan 1.0 is imminent!

Here is a more detailed update…

The Vulkan specification is complete and undergoing legal review and final polishing. The Vulkan conformance tests are being finalized and multiple member companies are preparing drivers for release. Implementation feedback is the vital final stage of making any Khronos specification ready for primetime, and the Vulkan 1.0 specification will be published when the first conformant implementations are confirmed.

Work is also progressing to complete Vulkan SDKs for Windows, Android and Linux. Google has upgraded to Promoter membership and is now on the Khronos Board to help steer Vulkan strategy for Android and the wider industry.

There is considerable energy driving the work to bring you Vulkan. We are planning Vulkan sessions and demos at key industry events throughout the year. We are excited about the emerging Vulkan ecosystem that will create new business opportunities for the graphics and compute industry.

Vulkan will set the foundation for graphics and compute APIs for years to come and so Khronos is taking the time needed to do this right – and the Vulkan 1.0 release is near!


This API has been created from the Ashes of AMD’s Mantle API, which is now no longer supported actively by AMD. AMD have given The Kronos Group all of AMD’s research and work with Mantle so that the Khronos Group could create their own cross vendor API. 


KHRONOS Reveal the Vulkan API


Here is what Valve’s Gabe Newell had to say about the Vulkan API:


  Industry standard APIs like Vulkan are a critical part of enabling developers to bring the best possible experience to customers on multiple platforms. Valve and the other Khronos members are working hard to ensure that this high-performance graphics interface is made available as widely as possible and we view it as a critical component of SteamOS and future Valve games.


KHRONOS Reveal the Vulkan API


Vulkan will have many of the same advantages as other Next generation Graphics API’s like a lower CPU overhead and the ability to create and use a larger number of draw calls.

What makes Vulkan special is it’s cross platform compatibility, being able to work across multiple OS’ and GPU families, which is the major disadvantages to AMD’s Mantle and Microsoft’s DirectX 12.


KHRONOS Reveal the Vulkan API


The KHRONOS groups Vulkan API will be supported on any hardware that supports OpenGL 3.1 and up and is expected to be fully specified and implemented by the end of this year.

Some of the participants in the creation of this next generation API can be seen below, as you can see most major players are seen here like AMD, Nvidia, Intel, ARM and many game developers and game Engine creators.  


KHRONOS Reveal the Vulkan API


One major difference between Vulkan and it’s predecessors is SPIR-V (Standard Portable Intermediate Representation), it’s language frontend which allows developers to program for Vulkan in more programming languages, as almost any type of code can be compiled down to SPIR.

SPIR is already being used in OpenCL, which it was originally created for, which also means that Vulcan also supports OpenCL kernel Languages. This also means that developers can use SPIR to do both Compute and Graphical tasks, which may open a lot of new options for the API going forward. As the underlying runtime is the same, more compute workloads can be offset to the GPU, or vice versa.


KHRONOS Reveal the Vulkan API  KHRONOS Reveal the Vulkan API  


Vulkan is set to be one of the most popular gaming APIs in the future, offering direct hardware access without locking the game or program to a single operating system or hardware vendor. 

This API will be instrumental to the success or Linux/SteamOS gaming moving forward and is expected to be used by used heavily for future versions of game emulators like the Wii’s Dolphin Emulator and other similar software suites. 


You can join the discussion on the KHRONOS Group’s Vulkan API on the OC3D Forums.