Khronos Group releases Vulkan 1.2 spec with focus on faster performance


Khronos Group has announced the release of the Vulkan 1.2 specification for the graphics API. Vulkan 1.2 welcomes enhanced GPU acceleration, improved application performance and enhanced tools for developers looking to eke out the maximum possible performance from graphics hardware.

A lot of what’s included here will be of more specific interest to developers, rather than a typical gamer like you or I, but the benefits to gaming performance will surely trickle down to the games themselves.

Improvements include *adjusts glasses* timeline semaphores for synchronization across devices; a formal memory model; descriptor index to enable reuse of layouts by multiple shaders, and deeper support for HLSL (more efficient porting of shaders from HLSL to SPIR-V). Ahem. I think I need a strong coffee before even attempting to parse all that. In total we’re looking at 23 new extensions for the core graphics API.

Developers and hardware manufacturers are pleased with the improvements though, including the likes of AMD, Nvidia and Stadia, Google’s cloud-streaming service which runs entirely on Vulkan.

“Vulkan 1.2 brings together nearly two dozen high-priority features developed over the past two years into one, unified core Vulkan standard, setting a cutting-edge bar for functionality in the industry’s only open GPU API for cross-platform 3D and compute acceleration,” says Tom Olson, distinguished engineer at Arm, and Vulkan working group chair. “Khronos will continue delivering regular Vulkan ecosystem updates with this proven, developer-focused methodology to both meet the needs and expand the horizons of real-world applications.”

Andrej Zdravkovic, corporate vice president of Software Development at AMD, said “AMD is excited to provide support for the Vulkan 1.2 specification in our upcoming Vulkan 1.2 supported driver for a broad range of AMD graphics hardware, including the AMD Radeon RX 5700 Series and AMD Radeon RX 5500 Series. Vulkan 1.2 brings many new features, including Dynamic Descriptor Indexing and finer type support for 16-bit and 8-bit types – and are designed to enable developers to better take advantage of modern GPU features and deliver richer graphics experiences to end users. We look forward to continued adoption of the Vulkan API and the new graphics experiences possible with the latest Vulkan 1.2 feature set.”

Both AMD and Nvidia have busied themselves with creating new GPU drivers specifically for Vulkan 1.2 support, although these are geared toward Vulkan developers and should be approached with caution by PC gamers.