This may not be news in the traditional sense of the term, but I know this will be news to a lot of people. The guys over at WCCFTech have been doing a bit of digging around in the Mantle White Papers and Mantle presentations AMD have produced and they stumbled across a section specifically focused on explaining the process of porting Mantle to DirectX 12. Many people have criticised AMD for Mantle, calling it a “backhand” move and accusing them of trying to undercut Microsoft’s DirectX for their own personal gain, and latest development goes a fair way to contradict that argument. AMD does not see Mantle as a competitor to DirectX 12 and this is to be expected because AMD has no reason to try and compete with Microsoft’s DirectX 12 as developers will always pick Microsoft’s offering due to a variety of reasons (because of Microsoft’s reputation, because of Microsoft’s more advanced knowledge of the Windows OS, because of Microsoft’s involvement in consoles, because siding with AMD would be bias against Nvidia and so on). Not only that AMD has a significant vested interest in the success of DirectX 12, if it does well AMD does well in the PC gaming space, if it does badly AMD loses too. AMD is showing that the Mantle API acts as a “powerful shortcut” to DirectX 12 as we wait for it to be finished and released by Microsoft. In this sense AMD is basically saying developers should switch to Mantle from DirectX 11 and use Mantle until DirectX 12 comes out and then they can easily port over their games to that. This enables game developers to get the benefits of a low-level API now, and begin complex porting processes now, so that when DirectX 12 comes out in the future all the hard work is done and they can just make a fairly easy port.
However, the flip side to the Mantle argument is obviously: why bother? As a developer it is surely easy to port from DirectX 11 to DirectX 12 than it is to port from DirectX 11 to Mantle to DirectX 12. AMD is still going to have a very hard time encouraging a mass uptake of Mantle by constructing it as a stepping stone route. Not to mention that many developers will be tentative to make the move to DirectX 12 (let alone Mantle then DirectX 12) on the basis that no one wants to be an early adopter of a new API when it is buggy, has problems and is in its infancy In fact this is probably one of AMD’s assumptions that if they can get everyone to use Mantle as a “stepping stone”, by the time DirectX 12 comes out many game developers will not want to make another API migration so may delay it and end up staying on Mantle for a lot longer than expected, thus allowing AMD to pedestal the achievements of the Mantle API.
What are your opinions on the relationship between AMD’s Mantle and Microsoft’s DirectX 12?
Image courtesy of AMD