Brad Wardell – PS4 Should Support Vulkan
Brad Wardell, CEO of Stardock, has been quite vocal over the benefits of DX12, and the performance and visual improvements it will bring to both the Xbox One and PC. He also explained though that PlayStation 4 fans will have some thing to get excited about. He did not reveal any more information at the time as to what he was referring to, but in an exclusive interview with GamingBolt's Kurtis Simpson, he revealed that he was speaking of Vulkan. Vulkan is the low-level API, which absorbed most of AMD's Mantle and was developed at Khronos Group.
Wardell suggest that Sony should consider adding Vulkan support for the PlayStation 4, as it will benefit cross-platform development greatly.
“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.”
When asked whether Sony will start to support Mantle, now that Microsoft is launching DX12 for the Xbox One, Wardell responded:
“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.”
Wardell also explained that the PlayStation 4's API is updated from last-gen, and is not completely native to current, so as a result some of the potential of the current-gen hardware is wasted.
“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.”
It appears that Brad Wardell could be right in some respects. Cross platform development will improve dramatically with the implementation of DX12 in both windows 10 and the Xbox One. Sony could certainly provide a much easier environment for developers by adopting Vulkan, making cross-platform development far easier. Even if Vulkan is not as low as their own API, it will provide easier development something that will benefit Sony greatly. Their proprietary software might be capable of achieving great results, but will most likely be taken advantage of strictly in an exclusive development environment.
We will bring you any new information on the subject as soon as it becomes available. Be sure to check out Brad Wardell's discussion on DX12 and the Xbox One in our previous coverage here.