Vulkan Apps Now Compatible With macOS and iOS

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Popular cross-platform 3D graphics and compute API Vulkan is gaining support for the Apple ecosystem, which means Mac and iOS developers will be able to build and run Vulkan apps on Apple devices.

Valve, LunarG, and The Brenwill Workshop, members of The Khronos Group consortium that developed Vulkan, have worked together with the Khronos Group Portability Initiative to allow Vulkan apps to be ported to Apple platforms.


The aim of Khronos Group's Vulkan Portability Initiative is a universal subset of Vulkan 1.0 that is designed to run at native performance levels over Metal and DirectX 12 drivers. Metal and DirectX 12 are able to support almost all of Vulkan, with the exception of elements like triangle fans, separate stencil reference masks, Vulkan Event functionality, and a few other features.

Valve used Vulkan tools on macOS with Dota 2 and was able to achieve "significantly higher performance" than native OpenGL drivers.


An open source collection of tools, SDKs, and runtime libraries that enable Vulkan development and deployment on macOS and iOS is now available on the Portability Landing Page on the Khronos Group website. With Vulkan support for Mac and iOS devices, developers will be able to support multiple platforms while cutting down on porting and development costs.
"Running Vulkan applications on Apple platforms has been the number one request from developers and today's release of the MoltenVK runtime and LunarG macOS SDK brings that capability to life," said Neil Trevett, VP NVIDIA and Khronos Group President. "Developers are invited to download the open source Vulkan Portability tools today and provide feedback via Vulkan Ecosystem GitHub Issue. The Vulkan Portability Initiative will continue to strengthen the infrastructure and tooling around bringing Vulkan capabilities to multiple Metal and DX12 platforms - our long-term goal is to enable portable Vulkan code to be executed on any platform that developers care about."
Starting today, a MoltenVK library from The Brenwill Workshop that translates Vulkan calls into Metal calls on macOS and iOS is being open sourced.

The open source LunarG Vulkan SDK for macOS is also available today on LunarXchange, enabling developers to build, run, and debug Vulkan applications on Mac. Going forward, LunarG plans to continue to evolve its Mac SDK to add additional tools and features.

More information on Vulkan support for Apple devices can be found on The Khronos Group website.

Article Link: Vulkan Apps Now Compatible With macOS and iOS
 

Xavier

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Mar 23, 2006
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Vulkan, Khronos.. am I seeing a pattern here?

Does seem like Metal was a step in the right direction, but could be overshadowed by a better standard?
 

leman

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That’s very nice! Although, I’d prefer someone making a Metal to SPIR-V compiler, Vulkan is very cumbersome to work with (although obviously much more powerful).
 

Rudy69

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Vulkan, Khronos.. am I seeing a pattern here?

Does seem like Metal was a step in the right direction, but could be overshadowed by a better standard?
Not sure how it's being over shadowed. This is more or less just a tool to take existing Vulkan games and convert the Vulkan calls to Metal calls.
 

moo083

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Not sure how it's being over shadowed. This is more or less just a tool to take existing Vulkan games and convert the Vulkan calls to Metal calls.
Well yes, but the idea would be that in the future when deciding what 3D Library to use, a developer might say, well forget writing this in Metal, I'll just write it in Vulkan and use MoltenVK and eventually no one is using Metal anymore. At least that's their plan. I wish everyone would just stop using DirectX and Metal and just use Vulkan. That way, there's only one 3D library and in the future, porting games to different platforms is a lot easier.
 

MrUNIMOG

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Well yes, but the idea would be that in the future when deciding what 3D Library to use, a developer might say, well forget writing this in Metal, I'll just write it in Vulkan and use MoltenVK and eventually no one is using Metal anymore. At least that's their plan. I wish everyone would just stop using DirectX and Metal and just use Vulkan. That way, there's only one 3D library and in the future, porting games to different platforms is a lot easier.
However, Vulkan is not macOS native. Performance with MoltenVK-ported games won't be on par with pure Metal.
Feral, Aspyr or any company that develops their game with macOS support from the start will rely on Metal because of superior performance.
 
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shadowbird423

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However, Vulkan is not macOS native. Performance with MoltenVK-ported games won't be on par with pure Metal.
Feral, Aspyr or any company that develops their game with macOS support from the start will rely on Metal because of superior performance.
They might. Or they might chose to write it in Vulcan and launch their games much sooner, allowing them to make more money from a near perfectly synchronized launch schedule.

I know which option I'd pick.
 

MikhailT

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Nov 12, 2007
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Did it? Can you give an example?
Here's one: https://egpu.io/forums/mac-setup/metal-api-shines-rx-480-reaches-60fps-on-macos-10-12-4-fhd-ultra-high-settings/
[doublepost=1519671422][/doublepost]
Pretty sure you can't use 3rd party APIs for apps in the iOS App Store. Am I wrong?
They're not using third party APIs, they're using an SDK to translate Vulkan code into Metal-based apps. In other words, these are treated as first-party metal apps that was converted from Vulkan codebase.
 
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T'hain Esh Kelch

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This is awesome! Especially given that Valve appear to take it seriously, so it may really take of quickly!

Now we just need easy wrappers for game developers to apply, to make porting of Vulcan games easy. *sniff* Just like good "old" times!