When AMD announced its brand new Mantle graphics API it promised a revolution in gaming. All the new GPUs proudly proclaimed the inclusion of Mantle and developers made the API one of the headline features. That is all in the past now as AMD has announced that it is taking a new direction in the development of PC graphics, and has advised developers to switch over to DirectX 12 or OpenGL.
Mantle was meant to provide a help developers reduce CPU overheads in graphics rendering, while also tackling the issue of CPU bottlenecks. It was featured heavily in Battlefield 4, but the requirement of running a compatible AMD product may have reduced the number of people who used the option.
The company is releasing a 450-page programming guide and API reference for those who still want to work with the the graphics API. This is mainly for developers to use as a guide for the design decisions taken in developing Mantle, and the company hopes that it will stimulate discussion that will further improve the future of graphics API.
Admittedly, this news will not affect the average consumer. Games will still run with or without Mantle, and the option is still set to appear in several titles this year. The Frostbite engine from DICE still incorporates Mantle, and that is certainly not going anywhere yet. What it does affect is those developers who were planning on using Mantle for their work, although there is no shortage of other graphics APIs to work with. DirectX 12 is coming along soon, and AMD is recommending that developers look at that instead.
That being said, AMD is not entirely dropping Mantle. The graphics API will be cannibalised and the “best and brightest” parts will be added to a new version of OpenGL called Vulkan. Essentially, Vulkan will be built on what’s left of Mantle, and AMDs graphics API will live on in the new form.
The sad news is that Mantle is now no more, despite having all the promise of making PC gaming better. Although, allowing the progress made by Mantle to live on as the basis for the more open Vulkan is probably best for everyone.