Vulkan Next will bring better support for VR and multiple GPUs

Vulkan just arrived, but the next release is already taking shape.


Vulkan, the cross-platform alternative to DirectX 12, was recently released, but “Vulkan Next” is already being worked on. That’s big news for Steam Machines, Linux, Android, and even Windows gaming PCs.

A roadmap for Vulkan Next

The Khronos Group recently gave a presentation at SIGGRAPH 2016 about the state of Vulkan, OpenGL, and OpenGL ES. While there were no major announcements, the presentation confirmed that a new version of Vulkan—dubbed Vulkan Next is on the way, and laid out a roadmap of various features to expect.

If you’re interested in watching, skip to 21:10 in the presentation video for the Vulkan Next details.

Some of the top priorities include improved support for multiple graphics cards, or GPUs. Vulkan Next will also be more optimized for virtual reality headsets like the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, with more efficient multi-view rendering and direct screen access.

Vulkan Next slide from SIGGRAPH 2016.

The presentation only included a single slide with information about Vulkan Next.

Other important new features on the roadmap are cross-API and cross-process sharing, subgroup instructions, generalized renderpass / subpass dependencies, and a more rigorous memory model. Those probably won’t mean all that much to you unless you’re a game-engine developer.

The actual core specification is still being worked on, and some of these features may be made available as optional “extensions” that fill gaps in Vulkan. There’s no announced release date for the final specification, but word has it that they’re “working on it steadily, and you should see stuff coming out.”

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