by Anton Shilov
03/24/2014 | 11:40 PM
Crytek, a leading developer of video games and the creator of CryEngine that powers tens of titles, recently announced that it would adopt AMD’s proprietary close-to-metal Mantle application programming interface. The move will allow Crytek and its partners to improve performance of their games on AMD Radeon-powered systems.
"By integrating AMD's new Mantle API, CryEngine will gain a dimension of 'lower level' hardware access that enables extraordinary efficiency, performance and hardware control," said Cevat Yerli, founder, chief executive officer and president of Crytek.
The inclusion of AMD's Mantle API will now allow CryEngine licensees to ready their development studios for a future increasingly focused on the 'closer-to-the-metal' vision that AMD has pioneered. The support of Mantle will allow game developers to extract higher performance from Radeon graphics processing units based on the GCN [graphics core next] architecture (including Radeon HD 7000-series as well as Radeon R9 and Radeon R7).
Unfortunately, Crytek did not reveal exact plans of Mantle’s implementation into CryEngine and its video games. The latest CryEngine update does not include support for Mantle, so it will take quite some time before Crytek integrates the AMD API into its engine. Moreover, once the engine gets Mantle support, it will take a long time before game developers take advantage of that.
Crytek’s original version of CryEngine got support for DirectX 9.0c (shader model 3.0) capabilities in Summer, 2004. The company implemented some of the capabilities into the FarCry title, but the implementation was very limited. Only Crytek’s next game, Crysis, which was released in late 2006, got full support of DirectX 9.0c/shader model 3.0 functionality. In case Crytek considers it important, it may release a DLC for Crysis 3 that takes advantage of Mantle, but it is unlikely that it will heavily rely on peculiarities of the GCN architecture. It will be a positive news for AMD if Crytek and its partners incorporate proper Mantle support into titles that are in the pipeline already and which are due in the mid-term future. However, it is also possible that Crytek and CryEngine licensees leave Mantle for longer-term cross-platform projects.
Mantle, a cross-platform application programming interface (that will only support Windows operating system initially) designed specifically for graphics processing units based on graphics core next (GCN) architecture, presenting a deeper level of hardware optimization. Being low-level API, Mantle can bypass all the bottlenecks modern PC/API architectures; according to AMD, Mantle enables nine times more draw calls per second than DirectX and OpenGL thanks to lower CPU overhead.