DirectX 12 Looking Better with an End to Mantle
News just arrived that AMD is ending the Mantle API and directing developers to start working towards DirectX 12 instead. I’m sure the thought that comes to everyone’s mind is, “What on earth is going on!?!” When I first saw the end to Mantle, even I was slightly disappointed but as that segued into the appeal to start using DirectX 12, I felt the rush of excitement again. It may not seem like it, but I have a feeling this is really good news for what’s in store for the future of gaming.
Let’s review what’s been happening in the API world a bit. A couple years back, Mantle starts claiming how it can boost performance on AAA titles and as results start flowing in, the potential for the gaming industry looked promising even if more work was needed. Fast forward to GDC 2014 and Microsoft announces DirectX 12 coming to the next version of Windows. What everyone was scratching their heads at was the inclusion of AMD, along with NVIDIA, INTEL and QUALCOMM, as one of the major supporters for the new Microsoft API. Why would AMD support something that was seemingly in direct competition with Mantle? Now, it looks like AMD saw potential to get in on the ground floor, which not only allowed them to make sure performance was going to reach their standards, but also allowed them to determine if they needed to spend resources keeping Mantle in the mix if their GPUs could benefit just as well from DirectX 12.
So is this good news? At first, it would seem that Microsoft is lacking any competition to help hold them accountable. Most of the time, we love competition in the computer world, but this is one time where I would say the lack of competition might be a good thing. The problem is, most game developers don’t have the time or budgets to port their games to different platforms. The problem gets worse when there are multiple APIs that can be used. This would mean that some games would be optimized for Mantle, others DirectX 12 and still others for NVIDIA. With DirectX 12 pulling in all the major hardware manufacturers, we’re likely to see far less difference in overall performance due to the flavor of the developer. DirectX 12 will be equally supported by both NVIDIA and AMD, so it will be up to the consumer to decide which is better. Most likely, this will be by what additional features are more preferred for the gameplay experience, rather than raw FPS or driver compatibility. The other really good news about AMD’s decision is that DirectX 12 is probably doing some amazing things in the gaming front, setting us up for some revolutionary mechanics and graphics in the years to come. It’s very possible AMD feels like Mantle is genuinely not needed for their hardware anymore.
Mantle may have been short lived, but I think it served it’s purpose well. We may not get to see the API make huge strides for gaming in and of itself, but it’s very possible that AMD helped motivate Microsoft to get serious about their own API. Mantle may not continue, but if it helped inspire DirectX 12 to become the new future of gaming, this move is not only great news, but we have a lot to look forward to around the end of this year and moving forward. Competition is usually best, but here’s hoping we get to see a lot more gaming titles that not only have far less bugs across the different hardware landscapes, but we get to see a lot more ports from console to PC as well.