PS4 Should Support Vulkan, PS4’s API Not Completely Native For Current Gen Yet: Brad Wardell

Brad Wardell on how Vulkan can probably make easier for developers to make games on PS4.

Posted By | On 31st, Mar. 2015 Under News | Follow This Author @GamingBoltTweet

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Earlier this year, Brad Wardell stated that just like DirectX 12 on Xbox One, PlayStation 4 fans will also have something to look forward to. At that time, he did not revealed what exactly it was, but in an exclusive interview with GamingBolt’s Kurtis Simpson he revealed that he was referring to Vulkan. For those of you who are not aware about what Vulkan is, it’s a low level API derived from AMD’s Mantle and is platform agnostic. Under development at Khronos Group, the new API provides more control over the GPU and reduces CPU overhead.

According to Wardell, Sony’s current API is much low level compared to Mantle and even Vulkan but they should look into adding Vulkan support for the console as it will reduce a lot of developer overhead for cross platform development.

“What I was referencing at the time was Vulkan. We’re part of the Khronos Group and now it depends who you talk to at Sony and this gets in to a debate. Sony has a very low-level API already for the PlayStation 4. The problem I have with it is that if you want to make use for it you’re writing some very specific code just for the PlayStation 4. And in the real world people don’t do that right. I write code generally to be as cross-platform as I can.”

“Now maybe in Unity or Unreal, one of the other guys will write their engines in such a way so that they make the most use of it, but that’s going to take time. Whereas if they use something like Vulkan, it’s not as low-level as their API, but Vulkan has the advantage that it’s really easy to write for it. So you’re more likely to get developers to code to that and get more games on to Sony then you would otherwise.”

With Microsoft launching DirectX 12 for the Xbox One, is there is a chance that Sony might actually completely support Mantle going forward? Wardell disagrees.

“No, because their low-level API is still lower level than Mantle and Vulkan. So what I’m hoping is that they will support Vulkan.”

“Let’s say I write a game for the Steam Box and the PlayStation 4 supports Vulkan, the Steam Box supports Vulkan. It wouldn’t be that much more work for me to have my game work on the PlayStation 4. Whereas right now if I want to develop the game for the PlayStation 4, I have to learn their special custom API, that has shader languages that are different than what I’m used to, and I’m pretty sure that I have to send stuff in text instead of binary form.”

“I hate OpenGL (laughs). They’re old, their current one is just archaic. I don’t want to have to learn that, my brain is already full of OS2 and Linux crap, I don’t want to learn yet another short-term API. If I can just learn Vulkan then I can get to a lot of platforms, I don’t want to have to learn Sony’s special API, even if I would gain a few frames-per-second in doing so.”

He also revealed to GamingBolt that the current API for the PS4 isn’t completely native yet and that it has been updated from last gen. Regardless, we are not seeing the full potential of either consoles.

“With the PlayStation 4 and the Xbox One they’re not even remotely scratching the surface for what people can do and there’s still…I mean on the PlayStation 4 and their low-level API, they’re all still very…they’re like written for last-gen but updated for this gen. I wouldn’t say they’re completely native yet, I mean they are native but you know these words all get misused, but this gen’s graphics are still very far behind where they’re going to be.”

Stay tuned for more coverage from our interview with Brad Wardell for more stuff including new information on Ashes of Singularity, more on Vulkan and Mantle in the coming days.

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