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Oxide Games Says AMD Mantle is Disruptive Technology

By - Source: Maximum PC | B 71 comments

Maximum PC recently conducted an interview with Oxide Games' Dan Baker to talk about the studio's use of Mantle in the upcoming game Star Swarm. One of the first things the interview points out is that Mantle isn't a low-level API that's close to the metal. But when compared to DirectX, Mantle is lower in the overall software stack.

"It's not low-level in the sense that we are exposed to individual architectural decisions," Baker said. "For example, Mantle still abstracts the details of the shader cores themselves, so that we don't even know if we are running on a vector machine or a scalar machine. What isn't abstracted is the basic way a GPU operates. The GPU is another processor, just like any other, that reads and writes memory. One thing that has happened is that GPUs are now pretty general in terms of functionality. They can read memory anywhere. They can write memory anywhere."

"A lot of the things an API has traditionally managed aren't really necessary any more," he added. "Mantle puts the responsibility onto the developer. Some feel that is too much, but this really isn't any different than managing multiple CPUs on a system, which we have gotten pretty good at. We don't program multiple CPUs with an API, we just handle it ourselves. Mantle gives us a similar capability for the GPU."

Later in the interview they talk about the claims of performance increases when using Mantle. When asked about the performance in Star Swarm, Baker indicated that the performance will depend on how exploitative you are, and the specifics of the engine. In the case of Star Swarm, the team was limited in what they could do by driver overhead problems. There have been decisions made where the team traded GPU performance for CPU. Eventually, his answer turned to DirectX where he said something very interesting about the performance of Mantle.

"We'd like to point out that our Direct3D performance is absolutely outstanding, relative to what is expected. We have spent a huge amount of time optimizing around D3D, and we feel we are actually pretty biased in D3D's favor. Mantle, on the other hand, we've spent far less time with and currently have only pretty basic optimizations. But Mantle is such an elegant API that it still dwarfs our D3D performance."

Later, he said that Mantle is somewhat of a disruptive technology in that it is getting everyone into rethinking things. To read the full interview, head here.

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  • 11 Hide
    chicofehr , February 17, 2014 3:47 PM
    Mantle main problem is its going to take some time for developers to optimize their own software to utilize it to its full potential. Most developers have been using DX for very long and using a new api takes time to learn. I am sure the performance will be way better once they get a hang of it.
  • 10 Hide
    Kewlx25 , February 17, 2014 5:50 PM
    Quote:
    Mantle main problem is its going to take some time for developers to optimize their own software to utilize it to its full potential. Most developers have been using DX for very long and using a new api takes time to learn. I am sure the performance will be way better once they get a hang of it.


    They said that a crappy implementation of Mantle code still kicks the crap out of well optimized DX11 code. These people specialize in DX11 and they can slap together random crap in Mantle and make it work better.

    They also mentioned that when they try to thread their code too much, the driver devs tell them to back off because they're choking the driver threads. Yet the CPUs are mostly idle.

    The whole DX/OpenGL paradigm is so bad for modern computers that driver engineers are telling programmers to use less CPU when a CPU is almost entirely idle. The system is broken, it needs to be replaced.
Other Comments
  • 32 Hide
    heero yuy , February 17, 2014 3:27 PM
    misleading title much?he says its the (disruptive) technology that would get everyone to rethink thingsthe way the title puts it is more to the effect that he said its a bad technology - the complete opposite as to what he actually said
  • 11 Hide
    chicofehr , February 17, 2014 3:47 PM
    Mantle main problem is its going to take some time for developers to optimize their own software to utilize it to its full potential. Most developers have been using DX for very long and using a new api takes time to learn. I am sure the performance will be way better once they get a hang of it.
  • 7 Hide
    mstngs351 , February 17, 2014 4:00 PM
    It's funny how many people are butt hurt over the use of the word "disruptive". It doesn't actually have any negative connotation unless you assign it. Disruptive: to cause (something) to be unable to continue in the normal way
  • 3 Hide
    Soda-88 , February 17, 2014 4:02 PM
    Kevin Parrish, you should write for The Sun or Daily Mail.
  • 0 Hide
    dotaloc , February 17, 2014 4:25 PM
    I hate misleading titles and this one doesn't even bother me. He could have also reasonably titled: "Mantle Dwarfs D3D Performance" or "Mantle: The Elegant Monster Stirs."
  • 14 Hide
    gwwerner , February 17, 2014 4:55 PM
    For all of you who are upset about the word disruptive, from wikipedia:A disruptive innovation is an innovation that helps create a new market and value network, and eventually disrupts an existing market and value network (over a few years or decades), displacing an earlier technology. The term is used in business and technology literature to describe innovations that improve a product or service in ways that the market does not expect.
  • 10 Hide
    Kewlx25 , February 17, 2014 5:50 PM
    Quote:
    Mantle main problem is its going to take some time for developers to optimize their own software to utilize it to its full potential. Most developers have been using DX for very long and using a new api takes time to learn. I am sure the performance will be way better once they get a hang of it.


    They said that a crappy implementation of Mantle code still kicks the crap out of well optimized DX11 code. These people specialize in DX11 and they can slap together random crap in Mantle and make it work better.

    They also mentioned that when they try to thread their code too much, the driver devs tell them to back off because they're choking the driver threads. Yet the CPUs are mostly idle.

    The whole DX/OpenGL paradigm is so bad for modern computers that driver engineers are telling programmers to use less CPU when a CPU is almost entirely idle. The system is broken, it needs to be replaced.
  • 0 Hide
    mstngs351 , February 17, 2014 6:09 PM
    So Oxide, who was paid to promote Mantle on a tech demo says it didn't put much effort into it. I'll take that with a grain of salt...
  • -8 Hide
    airborne11b , February 17, 2014 7:10 PM
    Mantle is something that is a waste of time for anyone but the largest AAA companies. Taking time and resources out to learn a new API and implement it, when it will only benefit 30% of the people buying your game?Complete trash. As a programmer, you have to willing to constantly learn new technologies to succeed, but this is simply terrible. Sure, huge companies like EA might be able to throw a ton of $$$ at silly things like this, but it's not viable for most developers.
  • 13 Hide
    MANOFKRYPTONAK , February 17, 2014 7:16 PM
    Toms has changed people are moronic and not helpful. The title is well constructed, it is not the authors fault people don't know the correct meaning or usage of a word... And swearing indicates very low intelligence IMHO.
  • 5 Hide
    nitrium , February 17, 2014 7:40 PM
    Yep, SSDs were also considered a "disruptive technology" - because no amount of HDD technology could ever hope to match it, thus "disrupting" the way we look at storage performance. Some of posters here are really not the sharpest knives in the block.
  • 0 Hide
    damonese , February 17, 2014 8:05 PM
    About disruptive buzz.. Yeah i got you. Everyone is happy now.. Haha
  • 0 Hide
    hotroderx , February 17, 2014 8:11 PM
    I think Mantle is a cool idea and it does sound like its more powerful and a solid replacement for DX. I think the only problem is it will be a gimmick unless AMD opens it to Nvidia and Intel. What incentive does a game manufacture really have to program a game with Mantle on top of DX? I would think AMD would need over 50% of the video card market to make it worth while for game developers. I seriously doubt they have that kinda market saturation at this point. I mean you could argue that AMD's new cards are in such demand there ranking in a premium but at the same time 90% of those cards are being solid to miners. I dont know cool tech but not sure it will make it in this market.
  • 4 Hide
    Onihikage , February 17, 2014 8:13 PM
    Somehow most of the people commenting here don't seem to realize that Mantle is mostly on the CPU side, massively boosting performance on systems where the CPU is the bottleneck while only slightly boosting performance on systems that are maxing out the GPU. Regardless of either scenario, ALL systems show some benefit from Mantle, not just those with AMD hardware. The amount they benefit compared to D3D varies, but it's always at least a small benefit in performance. There's really no reason not to use it.
  • -3 Hide
    Puiucs , February 17, 2014 8:36 PM
    why the hell is a stupid title that looks like it belongs in tabloids in a tech related news website? are we idiots or something?
  • 0 Hide
    childofthekorn , February 17, 2014 8:49 PM
    I'm still curious why the hate over the rebadge. Nvidia does the same thing, I'm still impressed that the general consumer is letting both companies get "away with it" and equally impressed that GFX cards are sustaining these days. You won't see the true innovation in what either companies cards can handle until 4k/8k resolutions become a standard, you get people buying more 3x or 6x setups, then the real horse power produced from either red or green side.
  • 1 Hide
    jk47_99 , February 17, 2014 8:50 PM
    I want to see Mantle on SteamOS, then building a PC at console prices which can play AAA games at 60fps at 1080p really becomes a reality.
  • 1 Hide
    mstngs351 , February 17, 2014 8:55 PM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Mantle main problem is its going to take some time for developers to optimize their own software to utilize it to its full potential. Most developers have been using DX for very long and using a new api takes time to learn. I am sure the performance will be way better once they get a hang of it.
    They said that a crappy implementation of Mantle code still kicks the crap out of well optimized DX11 code. These people specialize in DX11 and they can slap together random crap in Mantle and make it work better.They also mentioned that when they try to thread their code too much, the driver devs tell them to back off because they're choking the driver threads. Yet the CPUs are mostly idle.The whole DX/OpenGL paradigm is so bad for modern computers that driver engineers are telling programmers to use less CPU when a CPU is almost entirely idle. The system is broken, it needs to be replaced.
    No they said they "We have spent a huge amount of time optimizing around D3D..." In other words he was saying that they are far more accustomed to D3D and basically have learned the ropes using it. He didn't say that they had optimized the code for the demo and considering they were likely paid by AMD... grain of salt. I mean I fully expect it to work better but I'm sure there is some fluff here.
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