Skip to main content

John Carmack No Longer Enthused About AMD's Mantle?

While speaking on a panel at Nvidia's "Way It's Meant to be Played" event in Montreal, John Carmack talked about AMD's Mantle API, stating that it would be very "powerful" for AMD if Sony and Microsoft decide to adopt the technology. If not, and Mantle remained a PC-only tech as AMD now describes, then he would have very little interest in it.

"Mantle is unique. AMD has talked many times in the past about doing 'close to the metal' architectures, and it only became interesting because of their dual console wins," Carmack said. "The landscape does matter because they have both major console wins with similar architectures that you can get on the PC."

"If it was just a way to do, on the PC, lower-level [coding] I couldn't have cared less," he added. "If I was still doing all of the major tech coding, I probably would not be embracing Mantle right now. But there would be days where it would be extremely tempting."

In addition to Carmack, Epic Games' Tim Sweeney and DICE's Johan Andersson were on the stage answering questions as well. Later during the talk, all three were asked about their thoughts on other developers following AMD's lead by creating their own APIs. All three agreed that it would be a bad idea.

"It's the wrong direction for the industry to go," Sweeney answered. "If you'd ask me if I'd much rather have a low level API for accessing the GPU, the answer is yes. But five of them, for different hardware, vendors and operating systems? Absolutely not."

Andersson said it would be a bad future if Nvidia, Intel and Qualcomm developed their own APIs. Carmack gave an unequivocal no. "It would be a horrible mistake if Nvidia got panicked by this and made some lower level API as you already have good low-level access through Nvidia's GPU extensions," said Carmack.

Previously, wording provided by AMD led to the assumption that the Mantle API would address not only many Graphics Core Next-based GPUs and APUs on the "metal" level, but the GCN-based APUs found in the Xbox One and PlayStation 4. This would, in theory, allow developers to create games for all three platforms more easily, and implement similar AMD-driven features across all three versions. Microsoft said the Xbox One wouldn't support Mantle, and AMD quickly followed up saying that the API was strictly for PC gaming development.

Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

  • jimmysmitty
    I am not surprised that MS nor Sony adopted it since it came out kinda late to the game and would require a lot of work and reoptimizations to get it to work properly.

    As for Carmack, he has switched to the dark side. Not long ago he touted consoles as better than PC.

    He is another lost soul.
    Reply
  • back_by_demand
    Carmack is basically David Bowie - talented years ago but now largely irrelevant
    Reply
  • axefire0
    This is from an Nvidia event, would you expect them to say otherwise? Am pretty sure Nvidia chose its panelist well to favar them. No?
    Reply
  • RazberyBandit
    I think it's just going to take time for Mantle to be embraced. Game devs aren't sweating it much now because they have a whole new slew of up-to-date hardware within the new consoles.

    Eventually, the hardware within these same nex-gen consoles will begin to struggle and show signs of age. I believe that's when Mantle will be embraced as a genuine blessing to game devs.
    Reply
  • SchizoFrog
    Talent is never irrelevant. Only small minded people who only follow current trends are irrelevant.

    I am certain that discussed and written in to certain contracts are clauses forbidding API's such as Mantle on the XBox One and PS4. Neither MS nor Sony would willingly give over that level of control to of their hardware over to another party.
    Reply
  • rohitbaran
    Carmack, that guy who made some decent games back in the day and now is pretty much irrelevant because of not making anything interesting. The latest big release from id was what, Doom 3 BFG, a rehash? Ugh.
    He doesn't like mantle but on the flip side, he said G-sync was good when one would have to invest in a new monitor just for that and it is also limited to PC. Mantle is open and so nVidia can implement it if they want to, just like AMD can implement something that works with G-sync. Ugh.
    Reply
  • thor220
    This article is basically irrelevant. They asked a bunch of devs what they thought of mantle at a nvidia convention. What do you think they are gonna do, badmouth them at their own event?

    "If you'd ask me if I'd much rather have a low level API for accessing the GPU, the answer is yes. But five of them, for different hardware, vendors and operating systems? Absolutely not."

    It's obvious that Carmack has been out of the game for awhile. If a company has time to implement PhysX, TressFX, proprietary SSAO and AA, and other tech that only works on one card type, then they definitely have the time to implement a performance api. I guess he really should have said "Only if we get paid a little extra on the side". These APIs are optional, amd doing this has no effect on anything if a dev decides not to implement this. Even if Nvidia were to come out with their own api, devs can choose to use neither.

    I don't know why someone would even ask these questions in a nvidia convention. It's like going to a republican convention and asking them for their opinion on a new democrat based bill that extends the government.
    Reply
  • rwinches
    Oh please, what a bunch of inferring by Tom's going on here. The quotes are given no context.
    I agree, this was a nVidia event so, come on, did anyone think the panel would wave the AMD flag.
    MS said XBONE is not supporting Mantle is not XBONE will never support Mantle.
    Let's see how this holiday season sales go and hear user feedback on how good the new consoles are.
    .
    I don't want nVidia to go out of business, competition is always good.
    Reply
  • yannigr
    Yeap, Mantle is a bad idea. On the other hand Nvidia's GPU extensions, PhysX and CUDA are good ideas.
    The way they meant to be payed to though and talk. They might be great names in PC gaming but they still have POCKETS TO FILL.

    Mantle will be great to anyone have optimizations for XBOX or PS4 and wanted to pass those optimizations on to PC. No way to do it with simple DX11.
    Reply
  • The_Trutherizer
    Yeah... Until some indie punk with some clever ideas come along and creates a new type of game with next gen graphics which launches a whole new genre of gaming... That never happens... Right?
    Reply