Cad software that doesn't use OpenGL

mentaluproar

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 25, 2010
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Ohio, USA
I use fusion 360 and see no indication it will be migrating to Metal, so I'm looking for other options. Ideas?
 

chrfr

macrumors G4
Jul 11, 2009
10,033
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I use fusion 360 and see no indication it will be migrating to Metal, so I'm looking for other options. Ideas?
OpenGL is being deprecated in 10.14, but it will still be functional. When Apple calls something deprecated, that's just a warning that it's going to stop working eventually, but OpenGL is not going to be removed from 10.14 entirely.
 
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mentaluproar

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 25, 2010
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Ohio, USA
OpenGL is a problem as is. Apple saying it's being depreciated wont matter either. Autodesk will just bitch when it stops working like they had no idea. So I'm looking for an escape route.
 
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campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
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CAD/CAM user and an owner of an engineering firm here with what I've heard from the devs with the companies I rent software from (Vectorworks, Archicad, Cinema4D, Modo, Bricscad, MicroStation, others - one of my techs is using Blender full time as well). They're not waiting for Metal, directly in that sense of a graphics layer, rather they're waiting for a more-optimized version of Vulkan (Khronos Group low-level graphics engine) instead to take the next step on the Mac.

I wouldn't bet against Apple and Khronos having staff in each others buildings on this. There's an open-source runtime library that maps Vulkan to Apple's Metal graphics framework on iOS and macOS named MoltenVK, which is already up and running. Nemetschek (Vectorworks) and Graphsoft (ArchiCAD) started porting or getting ready for Metal in 2015...

MoltenVK is an implementation of Vulkan that runs on Apple's Metal graphics framework. Every CAD SW vendor is ready to put OpenGL/CL to bed, pretty much done with them on Windows 6-8 years ago. Port for Vulkan, there's not much more work necessary to port to both of Apple's OS platforms.

If you want more updates on this, if you aren't aware of them follow or reach out to Architosh, a resource I've followed since around 2000. They don't just post news, they actively interview people in the industry.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
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CAD/CAM user and an owner of an engineering firm here with what I've heard from the devs with the companies I rent software from (Vectorworks, Archicad, Cinema4D, Modo, Bricscad, MicroStation, others - one of my techs is using Blender full time as well). They're not waiting for Metal, directly in that sense of a graphics layer, rather they're waiting for a more-optimized version of Vulkan (Khronos Group low-level graphics engine) instead to take the next step on the Mac.

The funny think is that Metal right now is arguably more advanced than Vulkan, not to mention that its much easier to develop for... but its understandable that developers don't want to maintain two codebases for their rendering backbone.

As a dev, I'd rather prefer to have a Metal implementation on top of Vulkan for Windows/Linux. Which will probably not happen since Metal's abstraction is more flexible.
 

cube

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May 10, 2004
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The funny think is that Metal right now is arguably more advanced than Vulkan, not to mention that its much easier to develop for... but its understandable that developers don't want to maintain two codebases for their rendering backbone.

As a dev, I'd rather prefer to have a Metal implementation on top of Vulkan for Windows/Linux. Which will probably not happen since Metal's abstraction is more flexible.
Metal might be more advanced but it seems some things in Vulkan cannot be mapped to the former.
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,516
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Metal might be more advanced but it seems some things in Vulkan cannot be mapped to the former.

Cannot be mapped is not the same as cannot be done :) AFAIK, the only feature of Vulkan that Metal genuinely lacks are sparse (virtual) resources — but these are optional in Vulkan spec as well and apparently perform very poorly on modern operating systems. You are probably talking about geometry shaders, but they have another problem — they are a poorly designed feature that does not scale well for modern GPUs. By completely omitting geometry shaders, Metal forces you to more clearly define the task at hand and formulate a better algorithm using compute shaders.

Overall, there are very few things in Vulkan that cannot be done in Metal, even if some applications require certain amount of redesign. There are a lot of things in Metal however that simply can't be done in (non-extended) Vulkan. The resource binding model of Metal is arguably the best of all APIs right now. Argument Buffers are so easy to use and are insanely powerful, especially when you consider that they are shader-writeable and that we now have ability to construct command buffers entirely on the GPU.

Overall, I have to say that I am slightly disappointed with Vulkan. Khronos had the opportunity to clean up legacy concepts and details (like geometry shaders or interfacing via global variables in shader code), define useful GPU feature levels etc. etc. Instead they came up with an unnecessary cumbersome API (for the sake of what, saving a few CPU cycles when reading configs?) that limits its features to a smallest common hardware denominator. So its now again extensions galore, just as it was with OpenGL, and the complexity continues to increase.
 
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campyguy

macrumors 68040
Mar 21, 2014
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The funny think is that Metal right now is arguably more advanced than Vulkan, not to mention that its much easier to develop for... but its understandable that developers don't want to maintain two codebases for their rendering backbone.

As a dev, I'd rather prefer to have a Metal implementation on top of Vulkan for Windows/Linux. Which will probably not happen since Metal's abstraction is more flexible.
Respectfully, IMO I wouldn't use "arguably" - Metal *is* more advanced and for the reasons you've cited.

None of my design apps on WinOS rely on or have been ported to Vulkan, I find that graphics layer to be a bit of a kludge. In WinOS it's pretty much all about DirectX (it's still even deep in the Office apps) and Direct3D. With the direction that MS has taken over the past year or so with Mac apps I wouldn't be surprised to see Metal support in the next 18 months, around the time the 64-bit only macOS version hits the interwebs... Cheers.
 

applesaucePro

macrumors member
Jun 19, 2018
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26
cad software must be certified to run on very specific hardware configurations. all autodesk products will get updated to metal for sure, fusion is one of theirs. the real problem is with running old openGL software, it may eventually stop working or develop glitches.
 

jeanlain

macrumors 65816
Mar 14, 2009
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I guess they simply didn't bother to implement it in a driver for few old MBPs out there or there were some other blocking issues. According to Nvidia, this functionality is supported on Kepler and later...
Interesting.
Anyhow, the nVidia blog post suggests that this feature is available on DX12, so it's not Metal-specific?
 

leman

macrumors G4
Oct 14, 2008
11,516
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Interesting.
Anyhow, the nVidia blog post suggests that this feature is available on DX12, so it's not Metal-specific?

True! I completely missed that. Unfortunately, I am not too familiar with DX12 :D Having a quick look through the docs, it seems like it doesn't support things like changing the pipeline state, but allows one to dispatch compute shaders etc. But beyond that I am not sure what are the major differences between the two.
 

mentaluproar

macrumors 68000
Original poster
May 25, 2010
1,732
134
Ohio, USA
All this talk really makes me want to develop for metal. Alas, my skills stop at Arduino. I just can’t wrap my head around multitasking and GUI coding.
 
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