In an interview with our friends over at WorldsFactory, Deck13‘s Michele Giacalone talked a bit about Mantle and DX12. As Michele said, Mantle or low level APIs in general are quite complex concepts to grasp, especially for those without a technical background.
“A low level API is basically some kind of simple set of functionality that maps closely to the hardware allowing developers to unlock extra performance that wouldn’t be possible using high level API such as DirectX 11.” said Michele and continued:
“This comes in cost of extra effort from the developers because they have to take into account more things that are not handled automatically anymore. This is what you usually do on consoles, so this isn’t a new concept at all, it just has gained audience after Mantle went public.”
Michele has a point. It’s no secret that it’s harder to deal with low level APIs than with higher level ones. Yes, there are benefits from using low level APIs, however you need to have technical knowledge. After all, this is something that Microsoft agreed with regarding its upcoming DX12 API.
As Microsoft claimed a while back, DX11.3 – a high level API that will be made available in 2015 – is meant to be used by inexperienced programmers that are unable to create fully functional DX12 engines. This proves that low level APIs are really hard to master, and are not suited for a lot of indie or inexperienced studios.
Michele continued, claiming that Mantle may be in big trouble due to its platform restrictions.
“Honestly I won’t bet on Mantle right now, mainly due to its platform restrictions, but on the other hand I really appreciate the direction they have marked for the future of graphics API for PC platforms. DirectX 12 will be surely a way to achieve better performance on PC platforms, but don’t see it like a magic wand, it will take time and a lot of efforts before developers can squeeze the maximum power out of it.”