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AMD Opening Up Mantle to Additional Developers

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 23 comments

On Thursday, AMD announced via email that the Mantle Graphics API is entering a new phase of its development cycle, spearheaded by the launch of a new private beta program for the Mantle SDK. The company also revealed that AMD now has 40 unique development studios already preregistered for the private beta.

AMD is now reaching out to additional developers by way of a new portal so that they can claim a spot in the next wave of invitations. An AMD rep said that Mantle is now ready for a broader audience in the developer community after reaching the necessary stability, performance and functionality milestones.

The freshly launched portal will "allow new game developers to experience the benefits of low-overhead graphics APIs for themselves." Past developer experience is encouraged, the rep said, but there are no objective criteria for being selected; AMD is interested in talking to developers "of all shapes and sizes."

"Together, AMD and this large community of experienced game developers will help to shape the future of Mantle, and pioneer best practices for working with low-overhead graphics APIs broadly in our industry," the AMD rep said.

The portal reads that "only a limited set of developers are provided access to the Mantle NDA Developer SDK and access is subject to a selection process."

Just this past Tuesday, AMD officially released its Mainstream "Beema" and Low-Power "Mullins" Mobile APUs, two new mobile APUs with up to four "newly-designed" x86 CPU "Puma" cores, Radeon graphics and hardware-level data security based on the Cortex-A5, all packed on a "power-sipping" system-on-a-chip. These two chips are the successors to the Kabini and Temash APUs.

The company introduced Mantle back in September 2013, a low-level alternative to DirectX and OpenGL. Mantle works with AMD GPUs and APUs using the Graphics Core Next architecture, allowing developers to get better performance out of games that are running on said hardware.

"With Mantle, games like DICE's 'Battlefield 4' will be empowered with the ability to speak the native language of the Graphics Core Next architecture, presenting a deeper level of hardware optimization no other graphics card manufacturer can match," AMD said last year. “Mantle also assists game developers in bringing games to life on multiple platforms by leveraging the commonalities between GCN-powered PCs and consoles for a simple game development process."

Developers such as DICE, Crytek, Square Enix and 2K Games are among the many developers that are designing games with support for Mantle.

Discuss
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Top Comments
  • 15 Hide
    BriboCN , May 1, 2014 9:36 PM
    I think those judging Mantle against OpenGL and DirectX need a bit of perspective. Although it is absolutely fair to compare Mantle against its competitors, it is important to remember that OpenGL initially released in 1992. DirectX released in 1995. The fact that Mantle is at least on par with, and in many cases beats OpenGL and DirectX deserves consideration.
    I think the fault of Mantle thus far is in its marketing. Like other members of the video gaming industry they have chosen to market their product based on an ideal, and absolutely unrealistic, set of hardware and circumstances. This approach works wonderfully for selling individual graphics cards, but terribly for an API designed to be used on an entire product line with an infinite number of hardware configurations.
    I believe that if AMD was absolutely honest about Mantle it would still be successful.
    If they told the gamer crowd, you paid top dollar to get the best performance possible, and we can give you an extra 3-5% gain for nothing. It would be embraced by that crowd.
    If they tell the casual crowd, we created this API so you can run the games you want and won't have to upgrade your PC this year. It would be embraced by that crowd as well.

    Mantle is in the position to thrive, they just need to fire their marketing department.
  • 11 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , May 1, 2014 7:44 PM
    Mantle is faster than OpenGL. Since it is developed for just one card it is able to work with much less overhead than OpenGL or any other general use API. This not only is letting them have faster performance but makes porting games with higher quality settings enabled to consoles easier. If it wasn't better, then the many major companies turning to use it, wouldn't be turning to use it.
Other Comments
  • -9 Hide
    knowom , May 1, 2014 7:18 PM
    OpenGL is defiantly the way to go for developers open source and easy to port to whatever platform.
  • -8 Hide
    TechnoD , May 1, 2014 7:34 PM
    OpenGL is, as others have stated, a better option (multi-platform). However, I do believe AMD is pushing mantle for profit only; when a user starts a game and sees "open-gl" they don't really know/care what it is. However, when a user starts a game using mantle and sees a mantle logo with AMD logo, they associate the software with AMD, and thus, AMD gains brand recognition. Other than that i don't see any other reason for mantle.
  • 11 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , May 1, 2014 7:44 PM
    Mantle is faster than OpenGL. Since it is developed for just one card it is able to work with much less overhead than OpenGL or any other general use API. This not only is letting them have faster performance but makes porting games with higher quality settings enabled to consoles easier. If it wasn't better, then the many major companies turning to use it, wouldn't be turning to use it.
  • -9 Hide
    somebodyspecial , May 1, 2014 7:46 PM
    AMD might like this idea, but I fail to see how anyone will want to use it without an AMD check tied to using it. It just makes no sense for a dev to show any interest without a check first. No matter how good or bad it is, Mantle requires EXTRA work over what you already have to do to support your main users (DX, OpenGL etc, whatever you use for the rest of the world not on GCN cards).

    Extra work/cost for no financial gain in a crap economy? Not even if I am in love with Mantle and how it works. Not even if my (future?) wife was the one who came up with it...LOL. OK, maybe then...But only because she'd have something I want daily...ROFL. All AMD has for my EXTRA work is what, a pat on the back and thank you for helping them tackle NV? Come to me with an idea that makes me MORE money and I'll adopt it. Come with more work for ZERO extra money and you'll be denied.
  • 8 Hide
    photonboy , May 1, 2014 9:13 PM
    If you think Mantle is pointless then you haven't done enough research. People point to "draw calls" but it's far more than that. Also, OPENGL does not solve all the issues which is why developers asked for a new API built from the ground up to solve some headaches.

    With DX12 coming I'd normally say Mantle might be doomed but since the Steambox is likely to be a huge success (albeit slowly) and can only use Mantle or OpenGL I think Mantle will be successful.

    No DX on Steambox but both NVidia/AMD so it will be interesting to see if programmers just stick with OpenGL (especially when it improves) or what.

    This is pretty useful: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSY2KXBoro0
  • 15 Hide
    BriboCN , May 1, 2014 9:36 PM
    I think those judging Mantle against OpenGL and DirectX need a bit of perspective. Although it is absolutely fair to compare Mantle against its competitors, it is important to remember that OpenGL initially released in 1992. DirectX released in 1995. The fact that Mantle is at least on par with, and in many cases beats OpenGL and DirectX deserves consideration.
    I think the fault of Mantle thus far is in its marketing. Like other members of the video gaming industry they have chosen to market their product based on an ideal, and absolutely unrealistic, set of hardware and circumstances. This approach works wonderfully for selling individual graphics cards, but terribly for an API designed to be used on an entire product line with an infinite number of hardware configurations.
    I believe that if AMD was absolutely honest about Mantle it would still be successful.
    If they told the gamer crowd, you paid top dollar to get the best performance possible, and we can give you an extra 3-5% gain for nothing. It would be embraced by that crowd.
    If they tell the casual crowd, we created this API so you can run the games you want and won't have to upgrade your PC this year. It would be embraced by that crowd as well.

    Mantle is in the position to thrive, they just need to fire their marketing department.
  • 0 Hide
    firefoxx04 , May 1, 2014 10:29 PM
    I agree that AMD markets Mantle in the wrong manner.

    At first everyone thought it would just be a performance boost for everyone.. truth is only those with weaker CPUs see the gain. Fortunately, anyone with an AMD cpu will see a gain more than likely simple because they are easier to bottneck on than any i5 or i7 cpu.
  • 0 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , May 1, 2014 10:50 PM
    I haven't looked too much at the marketing of it, just thought the benchmarks and reviews were following the R9 290x cards.

    It would make a lot more sense for them to run the marketing and development on a PS4 or a Radeon 7850 or R9 270 with a FX 6300 CPU. That would put it much more mid-range. Also help get more funding for the program if they did it on the PS4 side also.
  • 5 Hide
    Mac266 , May 2, 2014 12:38 AM
    lol im waiting for AMD 'bikini' cores
  • 1 Hide
    ohim , May 2, 2014 2:43 AM
    Mantle is not proprietary (closed) to AMD, they said Nvidia is free to use it, but as you can expect that won`t happen unless Mantle gets really popular.
  • 6 Hide
    irish_adam , May 2, 2014 7:15 AM
    i really dont see what all these nay sayers problem is except that obviously they all run Nvidia cards

    Of course your all right these game developers are all idiots, they have no idea how to make games or whats the best API for them. You guys should all group together and take the world by storm, you'll be multi millionaires in no time!

    or you could apply some logic to your argument. If opengl fixed all the problems that mantle does a long time ago then why is support for it so shit? i mean if its so much better than directx then surely its in the studios best interests to use it, i mean its multi platform which would give them access to a bigger audiance. That is of course unless microsoft is paying each developer for every game that uses directx which i highly doubt as it would cost them a fortune over the years. Of course the makers of opengl is going to stand there and say that theirs is better and has done what mantle does all along, thats called marketing, they are hardly going to stand there and admit that their API is shit.

    At the end of the day though, the more APIs the better really, even if you have an Nvidia GPU (which AMD did state that they could use mantle) It gives the other APIs a kick up the bum to make theirs a tleast as good. So how about instead of bitching about how stupid it is and how stupid all these developers are for getting on board, you celebrate the fact that at long last these APIs will get a major overhaul which lets admit has been a long time coming
  • 6 Hide
    Wisecracker , May 2, 2014 4:41 PM
    Quote:
    At first everyone thought it would just be a performance boost for everyone.. truth is only those with weaker CPUs see the gain. Fortunately, anyone with an AMD cpu will see a gain more than likely simple because they are easier to bottneck on than any i5 or i7 cpu.


    :ouch:  WARNING: Internet Propaganda Fail :ouch: 

    4770K 10% FPS+ In BF4 with R9 290X & Mantle over DX
    (59% increase for Kaveri CUs)

    From Tech Report

    That is all.
    We now return you to non-reality-based programming.





  • 0 Hide
    IInuyasha74 , May 2, 2014 5:41 PM
    That benchmark looks very believable. The 290x has no trouble getting high FPS. Mantle has been organized to work better with weaker CPUs and more cores. So it makes sense that the CPU is bottlenecking it, Mantel helps signifanctly to reduce the impact of the weaker CPU. Compared to the 4770k where the CPU is not a bottleneck, it has some of the other improvements from Mantel but does not benefit from the CPU related tweaks.
  • 2 Hide
    Wisecracker , May 3, 2014 7:38 AM
    What the gentleman said: "only those with weaker CPUs see the gain"

    I linked a Tech Report review that showed the 'weak' i7-4770K with a 10%+ gain in BF4 with Mantle over DX.

    That's the point I made -- the exact, 180-degree opposite of the postulate espoused by the gentleman from Planet Claire. He drives a Plymouth Satellite faster than the speed of light. Some say he's from Mars. But, he's not.

    I'm not arguing semantics one way or the other.
    As far as I might know it's a combination of Mantle, a BF4 patch, a Catalyst driver, better use of the CUs and divine intervention.

  • 0 Hide
    Mac266 , May 3, 2014 8:02 PM
    hahahahahaha it must be mosetly AMD fanboys watching this thread, all the posts about 'openGL being better than mantle' are voted down :p 
  • 0 Hide
    tobalaz , May 3, 2014 10:44 PM
    I don't care if Mantle stays or goes so long as it gets MS and the Khronos Group off their asses and pushes them into refining Direct X and OpenGL to use less cpu overhead while becoming lower level maximizing GPUs in the process.
    If it stays around, more power to them, if it doesn't, it was a swift kick in the ass that was desperately needed. Either way, we gamers win.
  • 0 Hide
    Draven35 , May 3, 2014 11:39 PM
    Vendor-proprietary graphics APIs! Yay! what is this, 1994?
  • 0 Hide
    somebodyspecial , May 6, 2014 12:15 AM
    Quote:
    hahahahahaha it must be mosetly AMD fanboys watching this thread, all the posts about 'openGL being better than mantle' are voted down :p 


    Yes it's quite comic. Nothing I said is wrong (most others spot on also). It costs extra money to code for mantle period and you gain no extra cash doing it if AMD doesn't write a check. OpenGL does the same and even dx11 as NV's new driver shows vs. mantle games. If that doesn't do the damage DX12 will as MS fires up their "you require win9/dx12 to play games at all or you'll just miss out on the world and die as your head explodes from not running win9" campaign that is surely coming at some point. :) 

    Ignoring reality doesn't make it go away...LOL. Any money AMD spends on Mantle from here forward is wasted R&D and chasing the dream will just cost more checks they can't afford to pay to get it used. This is something Apple could pull off as they could bleed forever until they win the api war, but this is a loser for a company nearly bankrupt. If MS actually gets threatened by Mantle at some point (say if steam sells 30mil consoles with AMD cards inside...Ok NEVER happen), they would just pay every dev a few million to use DX12. They could easily afford to blow a billion on doing this and laugh, which even at 10mil/game dev that would be 100 devs with the cost of their whole game paid for in most cases and surely they could do better than that. Considering they've lost a few billion over xbox360/xbox cycles clearly they are willing to bleed for a decade or two just to play the console game (much like NV with the first 4 revs of tegra just to get to desktop gpus in SOCS with K1 fianlly).

    MS bled on IE also until netscape died. etc etc...This is a tactic they will use if needed and steamos I suspect all will go opengl just because it's portable everywhere else (mobile, ps3, ps4, windows etc). Valve chose NV and they'll want OpenGL used as they are smart enough to know mantle can't dethrone DirectX so any effort for them there is wasted. They will force people to use OpenGL because it can win as android+linux will=more machines running capable opengl gpus than dx at some point most likely with steamos in there and valve+google both pushing opengl. 350mil pc's sold yearly vs. 1.2B mobile already, but mostly weak gpus except the top end. This year the bulk get pretty capable at 20nm in the back end and especially next year. That will be a lot of OpenGL capable devices to aim at that can put up xbox360/ps3 like games on gamepads (why would you go mantle?) for devs on smaller budgets that will aim at a common denominator first always. Too many fanboys here who ignore the basic facts staring them in the face.
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