Star Citizen developer Cloud Imperium Games (CIG) has announced its intention to drop DirectX 11 and DirectX 12 support completely in favour of building the entire game with the Vulkan graphics API. Up until now Star Citizen players have had the choice between Vulkan and DX11, with DX12 support forthcoming. CIG has now cancelled these plans because Vulkan “doesn't force our users to upgrade to Windows 10 and opens the door for a single graphics API that could be used on all Windows 7, 8, 10 & Linux.”
That’s according to Alistair Brown, director of graphics programming at CIG. He goes on to say "Years ago we stated our intention to support DX12, but since the introduction of Vulkan which has the same feature set and performance advantages this seemed a much more logical rendering API to us.”
Going forward, CIG’s plan is to solely support Vulkan, eventually phasing out the current DirectX 11 implementation. Vulkan’s open-source approach means no players should be affected by the change in API.
“DX12 would only be considered if we found it gave us a specific and substantial advantage over Vulkan,” said Brown. “The API's really aren't that different though, 95% of the work for these APIs is to change the paradigm of the rendering pipeline, which is the same for both APIs.”
Since Vulkan came about it’s been easy to assume that adoption is slow. However, the graphics API only officially launched in February 2016, giving developers just over a year to actually make use of it. In the case of DOOM, which already used Khronos Group’s previous API (OpenGL), it was simple. For other developers, which have been coding for DX11 or DX12, the shift will be much slower. Essentially you’re looking at projects started after Vulkan launched in 2016.
There’s no doubting Star Citizen is a big name for Vulkan however. This is one the biggest PC exclusives in existence so any success with the graphics API could pave the way for future titles. With any luck we’ll see plenty more in the years to come. Considering Valve’s pro-Vulkan stance, it seems a given that any titles in development at Valve HQ will also utilise Vulkan.
Are you impressed with what you've seen of Vulkan so far? Would you like to see more widespread adoption vs DirectX 12? Let us know!