Today AMD is launching a beta program for its Mantle API software development kit. Mantle is a graphics API that was created in a collaborative effort between AMD and game developers to build a lower level graphics API than what competing solutions like OpenGL and DirectX offer. Mantle has so far been implemented in two publicly released games, Battlefield 4 and Thief. Our initial impressions of Mantle have been positive, but using the Mantle rendering option in these games has been a bit of a gamble due to various bugs and teething issues. Additionally Microsoft announced at this year’s GDC that the upcoming DirectX 12 API would be very similar to Mantle in its current form.
That said there is still a lot of interest in Mantle from game developers and gamers alike. Gamers see it as a way to get a free performance boost from their AMD-based GPUs and developers see it as a way to prepare themselves for coding DirectX 12 applications. AMD still has yet to release Mantle as a publicly available graphics API and for now Mantle is still locked to only AMD’s hardware. But the launch of this Mantle SDK beta will go a long towards reaching both of those goals as AMD has finally decided that the Mantle API offers, “all necessary stability, performance and functionality milestones required to ready it for a broader audience in the developer community.”
Speaking of developer support AMD is opening the beta by announcing that forty different developers pre-registered for this beta and that they are now inviting everyone else to apply into the beta. AMD isn’t requiring a whole lot from beta participants, by they are asking beta applications to have prior development experience which is a no-brainer from our perspective.
The core of the Mantle API is officially finished from AMD’s perspective. Now it’s up to developers and AMD’s developer relations team to take Mantle to the next level with new coding techniques and wider support for the API. Mantle has been an interesting story to watch so far, and with this public beta the story of Mantle is beginning a major crescendo.S|A