Rainbow Six: Siege has been updated today - along with some balancing and bug fixes we will see the implementation of the Vulkan graphics API. What does this mean for players? Well, hopefully it'll mean better performance and higher frame rates across the board in Rainbow 6: Siege.
A number of improvements have been claimed, but bearing in mind they are still testing the new system some players may experience decreased performance for a while after the latest patch.
Before we get to the nitty-gritty stuff, let's take a moment to discuss what an API is in order to better understand how this will improve the overall experience of R6 Siege.
What is an API?
Both Vulkan and DirectX 11 are Graphics Application Programming Interfaces, more commonly known as Graphics API’s. Essentially they are a bridge between the game itself and your graphics card, acting as communication between the two.
The graphic above explains the basic process of how your input turns into what you see on the screen. Within your CPU: when you move the mouse or keyboard that information is sent to the game, which is then processed by the API and sent as a command to the GPU, which then turns that command into what you see on screen, pixel by pixel.
So that’s a lot of steps to get through before any actual information reaches your graphics card, and an API can make a lot of difference when it comes to the workload on your CPU or GPU. Considering that your maximum frame-rate is determined by the slower of the two, ie the bottleneck, upgrading to a new API is a big decision.
Currently, R6 Siege uses DirectX11, which is good - albeit a little dated - but the team wanted to upgrade their API in order to improve graphics performance within the game (as we all know how precious those frames can be in an uber-competitive game of Siege) and reduce the workload on both CPUs and GPUs.
When looking at upgrading, there was a choice between DirectX12 and Vulkan. When it comes to API’s there are a lot of different features each one will allow you to access from the GPU, and after an extensive amount of internal testing they decided to choose Vulkan because it showed better performance on the CPU.
So now onto the fun stuff, what exactly will we see improve in-game? According to Ubisoft, Vulkan will allow Siege to take advantage of three main features which will improve workload performance:
- Dynamic Texture Indexing
- Render Target Aliasing
- Async Compute
1: Dynamic Texture Indexing
Dynamic texture indexing will help to reduce CPU usage in Rainbow 6 Siege by issuing fewer draw calls to the GPU (basically asking for less information than it needs to from the GPU). Resulting in less pressure on the driver and freeing up more CPU cycles.
For players who are CPU-bound, this should provide more consistent framerates in-game.
2: Render Target Aliasing
Render target aliasing will dynamically adjust the render scaling ratio depending on your GPU’s workload. Siege players will be able to choose a target frame rate they want to achieve and the game will automatically adjust the render resolution accordingly.
For players who are GPU-bound, this should provide more consistent framerates in-game.
3: Async Compute
Async compute will allow Rainbow Six Siege to execute tasks in parallel on the GPU, providing more tools and opportunities for better and improved optimisation. Console players will have already seen the benefit of this since launch of Rainbow Six on consoles, however for PC players DirectX11 did not allow them to utilise this option, but Vulkan does.
So that’s all there is to the new update that introduces Vulkan to Siege. There’s a lot more to the new patch which you can read the notes on here, or alternatively read the full breakdown of Vulkan’s introduction here. We sure hope we’ll see improvements in-game, but if you have something to report like increased or decreased frame rate let us know!