In February 2016 Khronos Group announced the first-ever version of the Vulkan Graphics API. Vulkan was essentially designed to be a successor of sorts to OpenGL, but with the added ability to utilize multiple-core processors efficiently. There have been a few other improvements over the years and most major operating systems we use daily, like Android 12 and Windows 11, support the API. Version 1.1 was released with key improvements back in March 2018, version 1.2 was announced in January 2020, and now Khronos has officially announced version 1.3. No features added in Vulkan 1.3 are optional, ensuring consistency in all implementations of this API version.
First and foremost, a big update in the Android world is the introduction of the Android Baseline Profile 2021. This will allow developers to easily see what a device is capable of when it comes to Vulkan rendering, and can be used “to advertise the set of features beyond Vulkan 1.0 that are supported by a large majority of active devices in the Android ecosystem, including devices that are out of support and do not regularly receive driver updates.” Google says that the vast majority of devices will not require an OTA update to support the profile.
As well, the company announced the Vulkan Roadmap 2022. It’s the first defined milestone in the Vulkan Roadmap. All Vulkan Working Group hardware vendors actively developing mid-to-high-end devices for smartphone, tablet, laptop, console, and desktop platforms are committed to supporting this milestone, starting with several shipping products in 2022. The milestone requires support for Vulkan 1.3 plus a number of extensions considered essential for the target market.
As with previous versions of the Vulkan specification, version 1.3 is designed to be accelerated on OpenGL ES 3.1-class hardware, essentially meaning that it should be supported by all GPUs that supported older versions.
AMD has announced support for Vulkan 1.3 and the 2022 roadmap on all AMD Radeon RX Vega Series and AMD RDNA architecture-enabled graphics cards. ARM has announced support for its Mali GPUs, Google has announced support on Stadia, and NVIDIA is also providing immediate support on Linux, Windows 10, and Windows 11.
Vulkan Working Group is hosting a “Vulkanised Webinar” on February 1st, 2022 that will be used to provide more in-depth information about Vulkan 1.3, the API’s roadmap, and profiles.
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