Future of PC gaming is here

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clock 1 year ago.
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Valve is pushing PC gaming to next level.

- Steam Machines
- Steam Link
- Steam Controller

Vulkan:
- https://www.khronos.org/vulkan
- GDC 15: What Is Vulkan (glNext), SPIR-V, and OpenCL 2.1?

Linux + Source 2 + Vulkan + DOTA 2: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Hth4u65zfc

- Valve has been working on reference driver that will be released as open source



clock 1 year ago.
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Hugonaught
The hardware in the Steam Machines looks pretty good for the price. Guess time will tell if developers jump on board or not.

I guess it really depends on the adoption rate of SteamOS as a console replacement. Everybody and their grandma has a modern console or a PC to play games on. What does the SteamOS really bring then? Fewer games with the same features the Steam client already has (ie: in home streaming)?

What incentive do developers have to make compatible games that people actually want to play? It seems to just increase development cost, maybe Valve has reduced fees for SteamOS games? I don't know.

I don't mean to sound so negative about it, in fact I am overjoyed! Glad to see them finally start making real moves. Thinking about ordering one of those controllers for sure.



clock 1 year ago.
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The hardware in the Steam Machines looks pretty good for the price. Guess time will tell if developers jump on board or not.
- Sinxar

At least it looks like developers are relatively interested even on SteamOS Beta -state. I guess there are more games for SteamOS than for Xbox One or PS4 at the moment.

It will take some time and I guess we have to wait Vulkan to mature before SteamOS is in great shape. And there are actually many other interesting aspects to follow in SteamOS; are they going to use X11/Wayland/Mir or something else, when are they going to switch to systemd, etc.

What does the SteamOS really bring then? Fewer games with the same features the Steam client already has (ie: in home streaming)?
- Sinxar

I personally think it will bring PC gamers freedom.
- it cost zero money
- it is based on open source software

Since it doesn't cost anything it is easy to many installations you like; real hardware, virtual machines, container, etc. to all kind of medias imaginable.

PC users are able to control their computers again. They can choose UI they like most, they can make any changes to them they like or make their own, etc. And of course in deeper level they can play with the kernel and drivers; help developers to tune schedulers, etc. (just like they are doing now). Learn and control.

On Windows everything is tightly locked and guarded with EULAs and closed source software.

... oh the games. Yes, Microsoft has 30 years head start so it will have much more games at the moment. This big things doesn't change in days. I'm still quite surprised how many games SteamOS has already and some of them are quite big titles - http://store.steampowered.com/sale/steamos_sale/

What incentive do developers have to make compatible games that people actually want to play? It seems to just increase development cost, maybe Valve has reduced fees for SteamOS games? I don't know.
- Sinxar

Developer tools cost zero money and they are open source (game developers are make them better if they like). I'm able to make a game with Raspberry Pi 1 for SteamOS already - cross-compiler, required libraries, etc.

Valve is using open standards from Khronos. Vulkan will be used on wide variety of open source operating systems and I wouldn't be surprised if Android will use it and even Apple. Unfortunately I don't think Microsoft is going to support Vulkan by themselves.

I don't mean to sound so negative about it, in fact I am overjoyed! Glad to see them finally start making real moves. Thinking about ordering one of those controllers for sure.
- Sinxar

Well, they are all good questions and they need to be asked to make things more clear. Unfortunately I don't have good answer but only how I see things going forward.



clock 1 year ago.
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Hugonaught
Oh so it isn't locked to the Steam client? I thought you still had to buy your games from Steam to play them on SteamOS. If that is not the case that is great news!


clock 1 year ago.
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Oh so it isn't locked to the Steam client? I thought you still had to buy your games from Steam to play them on SteamOS. If that is not the case that is great news!
- Sinxar

It is not locked to steam client. You are able to install all applications on it you want - including operating systems. That is good since I'm totally sure there will be many disappointed customers who will eventually install Windows on their Steam Machines Smile

"Most of all, it is an open Linux platform that leaves you in full control. You can take charge of your system and install new software or content as you want." - SteamOS

... and I do realize that the points I raised earlier most likely are important only for a fraction of gamers. But still I believe there will be lots of PC users who would like to control their machines again and even go deeper than that and start learn how it works on operating system -level.

There are still long way to go; SteamOS need much more game and especially from the big publishers. EA, Ubisoft, Blizzard, etc. has their own stores and doesn't sell all their games via Steam. Other thing is that latest and most popular gaming peripherals has to be supported.

Many devices like PS3/4, Xbox, Nintendo's controllers are not officially supported but there are drivers for them developed by community; Xbox, Wiimote, PS, etc.

So, lots of open question and uncertainty still floating around Smile



clock 1 year ago.
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Khronos: The new Vulkan and SPIR-V specifications (slides)

Page 34 sums up quite nicely some reason why I would like to see Vulkan as most used graphics API for gaming in the future:

Cross-platform, cross-vendor
- Not tied to single OS (or OS version)
- Not tied to single GPU family or vendor
- Not tied to single architecture
- Desktop + mobile, forward and deferred, tilers all first class citizens

Open, extensible
- Khronos is an open standards body
- Collaboration from a wide cross-section of industry, IHVs + ISVs, games, CAD, AAA + casual
- Full support for extensions, layering, debuggers, tools
- SPIR-V fully documented - write your own compiler!



clock 1 year ago.
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Good to hear Steam are making process. Although there have been many great ideas in the past, but failed due to lack of support / and the unwillingness of people wanting to change from their existing platform. I guess Steam needs to offer something which isnt on the current Windows platform - which will be hard to find. I guess there is price although. The PC market is probably one of the toughs to break into.


clock 1 year ago.
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I guess Steam needs to offer something which isnt on the current Windows platform - which will be hard to find.
- Roguey

Freedom? I guess there is huge amount of PC gamers who has never used anything than Windows (or OSX) so they may not know what it actually mean to be "master of your PC". It is hard to say how much PC users care about being able to control fully their own PCs.

Do you think "freedom" is important value for gamers these days? Or PC users in general?

Valve is bringing a new alternative for Windows, not to replace it. There is room to get PC gaming better and growing places it has not been so far. That's what I think Valve is doing now.

As a long time Linux users I'm of course totally biased, but no benefits comes to mind to keep Windows leading gaming operating system on PC.

Edit: small changes here and there.



clock 1 year ago.
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Valve's Vulkan session: The future of high-performance graphics

One more additional benefit about Valve's work on making PC gaming better is that developing a game gets easier and cheaper. Since Vulka is OS and architecture independent there is no need for write and maintaining multiple rendering engines. It is huge benefit for small indie developers and small companies who writes their own engines.
For example Egosoft is working on OpenGL-version. If things goes fine they are going to use that version on all supported platforms. For tiny companies like Egosoft (according to wikipedia they have ~20 employees) it would be huge benefit.



clock 1 year ago.
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Well living in Australia we probably wont see any of them


clock 1 year ago.
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Well living in Australia we probably wont see any of them
- SeanWarrenSmith

Hmmh, see what? I think you will see Vulkan in Australia in future as well. They are already working on SPIR-V converted in LLVM.

http://lists.cs.uiuc.edu/pipermail/llvmdev/2015-May/085538.html



clock 1 year ago.
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Well living in Australia we probably wont see any of them- SeanWarrenSmith
Hmmh, see what?
- edqe


I seen that and decided not to respond at the time. I thought it was spam lol. Maybe he means the Steam Machines?



clock 1 year ago.
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Khronos / NVIDIA had some Vulkan presentations in SIGGRAPH 2015 today: https://www.khronos.org/news/events/2015-siggraph


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Lots of new information were published today.

PC Perspective: Khronos Group at SIGGRAPH 2015

Phoronix: "Vulkan will have standardized extensions that by default will support Android, Mir, Windows (Vista and newer), Wayland, and X. Yep, both Wayland and Mir will be first-rate in the Vulkan world. The X11 Vulkan support will require DRI3 be supported by the hardware drivers. It will also be possible to provide platform extensions to the Vulkan WSI for having a custom display stack or even no display. Neil mentioned it would be even possible to implement Vulkan support for Windows XP."

Khronos Expands Scope of 3D Open Standard Ecosystem

Khronos Invites Industry Participation to Create Safety Critical Graphics and Compute Standards

Demo on Android (PowerVR mobile GPU): Gnomes per second in Vulkan and OpenGL ES





clock 1 year ago.
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argh... too many gnomes! lol. Although it does show like there is some big improvements using Vulkan. I do wonder how it will fair against DX12, seeing as we now have Windows 10. I did a test with 3DMark and it started around a x6 improvement although im doubtful we such increases in our games. However any API improvements are welcomed. Well at-least there be a rival to DX for a change.


clock 1 year ago.
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I do wonder how it will fair against DX12, seeing as we now have Windows 10

It has the same benefits as D3D12 but even more because it supports extensions, is multi-platform, will have open-source drivers, etc.

Unity-developers gave a nice presentation about how complicated the situation is with the shaders at the moment and how simple it would be if everyone would use SPIR-V.

DX12 is very important for Microsoft so I'm sure they will do everything developers would choose it over Vulkan. DX12 is under MS full control and they can nicely force people to change an operating system version as they did with Windows 10.

Their PR team has made sure DX12 is absolute everywhere since they announced it. They have done great job. For example PC Gamer has yet another DX12 article on their website.

Well at-least there be a rival to DX for a change.

OpenGL is here to stay and it is still going forward - yesterday OpenGL got some more ARB extensions [1]. I'm sure games are going to move over Vulkan but OpenGL is still widely used in industry; movie-industry, CAD, etc.
As NVIDIA says: "OpenGL 4 – DirectX 11 Superset"
It is worth to remember that specifications and implementations are different things.

Microsoft could have been able to leave in peace very long time but now they has some serious competitors and things has started to change. It is actually quite interesting to see how incredible fast things are changing.

It was marked today that Mesa (open source OpenGL implementation) is now 100% OpenGL 4.2 compatible. In one release cycle Mesa gained full OpenGL 4.0, 4.1 and 4.2 support.

NVIDIA updated their drivers OpenGL support yesterday.

Personally I don't want Windows going anywhere but I want that PC gaming will not be tightly depended on Windows anymore.

[1]
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/fragment_shader_interlock.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/gpu_shader_int64.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/parallel_shader_compile.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/post_depth_coverage.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/sample_locations.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/shader_atomic_counter_ops.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/shader_ballot.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/shader_clock.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/shader_viewport_layer_array.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/sparse_texture2.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/sparse_texture_clamp.txt
https://www.opengl.org/registry/specs/ARB/texture_filter_minmax.txt



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