On the 29th September, as promised at Google I/O, Unity released the first developer preview for their upcoming Vulkan renderer. Developers have been eagerly awaiting the release since Android Nougat was announced on the 22nd of August with Vulkan support as one of its key features.
Here at ARM we have been supporting graphics developers’ uptake of the Vulkan API since Khronos launched it publicly in February. ARM Mali graphics debugger and driver support were made available on release day and we’ve subsequently provided a set of educational developer blogs on using Vulkan, a Vulkan SDK and sample code. We also gave a series of talks and demonstrations on Vulkan at GDC, the world’s largest game developer conference, just a few weeks after the API was launched. All of our developer resources and content can be found here: http://malideveloper.arm.com/vulkan.
Fig 1. An example of a Vulkan demo developed by ARM
Developer resources and tools are not all we provide at ARM. Not only were we heavily involved in the development of Vulkan as part of Khronos’s Working Group, but we’ve also collaborated closely with Unity, the leading game engine platform downloaded by over 5 million game developers, to support this renderer release.
The results of this collaboration have been great news for mobile game developers as the ARM Mali-based Samsung Galaxy S7 (European version) has been recommended (and tested) as the first Android developer platform to run Unity’s initial Vulkan Renderer Preview. Developers can download the first preview release here: Get the experimental build from Unity’s beta page.
At this early stage of development, the main benefit Vulkan brings to the Unity engine is speed, thanks to the multithreading feature. Current mobile devices have multi-core CPUs and the ability to carefully balance workloads across these cores is key to achieving these improvements. The increase in power efficiency is realized by the balancing workloads across several CPUs to reduce voltage and frequency, while the increase in performance and speed is attributable to the ability to use the full compute resource of the CPU cores.
We in the ARM Mali team are pleased to be able to support such important industry advancement and look forward to seeing what our broad ecosystem of developers can do with the first Vulkan Renderer on Unity!
To know more about Unity's Vulkan Renderer Preview: https://blogs.unity3d.com/2016/09/29/introducing-the-vulkan-renderer-preview/