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Oxide Games on Mantle: Nvidia needs to adapt – one way or another – if they want to stay relevant

Our reader ‘Russell Collins’ has informed about an interesting interview of MaximumPC with Oxide Games about Mantle. When asked about Mantle and Nvidia cards, Oxide Games’ Dan Baker claimed that Nvidia will have to adapt – one way or another – if they want to stay relevant.

Now before jumping to early conclusions, this does not mean that Nvidia will have to support Mantle. Baker’s statement means that if Nvidia does not support Mantle, a new universal API has to be made to take advantage of what Mantle is currently doing.

“Mantle does detract from other platforms, and we are already seeing a big dialogue in terms of what future APIs should look like. Mantle is kind of the disruptive technology that gets everyone rethinking things. Whether this means a new version of OpenGL, or a new version of D3D, we can’t say. But it is clear that they will have to adapt if they want to stay relevant. Some of us have been screaming for change for years. The arguments we got in the past were: 1) it couldn’t be faster 2) it would be too hard to use, and 3) we have enough performance, so more isn’t useful. We wanted to show that all three of these things are provably false.”

A lot of people believe that OpenGL is capable of delivering performance similar to Mantle via some extensions, however Baker believes that OpenGL has essentially all the core problems of Direct 3D.

“OpenGL has essentially all the core problems of D3D, except that one can add extensions to it. The main difference between OpenGL and D3D is that D3D made an attempt to be threaded, and failed, whereas OpenGL has not yet attempted it. One question is whether it is worth building a new API or making a bunch of extensions to an existing API. You can get some mileage out of making extensions, but extensions can’t bridge things like being able to use multiple CPUs. Also, at some point it’s cleaner and easier just to hit the reset button, rather than throw yet another feature in a fairly big API. Believe it or not, Mantle is actually easier to support than OpenGL. OpenGL has many unobvious pitfalls and traps, whereas Mantle really doesn’t. “

It will be interesting to see whether other developers will embrace Mantle or not. For instance, Flying Wild Hog told us that although Mantle looks interesting, its usage – at least for now – is quite limited as it’s GCN only.

We already know that DICE wants Mantle to be multi-vendor, so it will be interesting to see what the team behind this new API will achieve. 2014 will be an interesting year for Mantle, and we’ll be sure to keep you posted!