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Is It Time For an OpenGL Gaming Revolution?

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the free-games dept.

Software 496

MrSeb writes "In a twist that reinforces Valve's distaste for Windows 8, it turns out that the Source engine — the 3D engine that powers Half Life 2, Left 4 Dead, and Dota 2 — runs faster on Ubuntu 12.04 and OpenGL (315 fps) than Windows 7 and DirectX/Direct3D (270.6 fps); almost a 20% speed-up. These figures are remarkable, considering Valve has been refining the Source engine's performance under Windows for almost 10 years, while the Valve Linux team has only been working on the Linux port of Source for a few months. Valve attributes the speed-up to the 'underlying efficiency of the [Linux] kernel and OpenGL.' But here's the best bit: Using these new OpenGL optimizations to the Source engine, the OpenGL version of L4D2 on Windows is now faster than the DirectX version (303.4 fps vs. 270.6 fps). If OpenGL is faster, and it has a comparable feature set, and hardware support is excellent... why is Direct3D still the de facto API? With Windows losing its gaming crown and smartphones (OpenGL ES!) gaining in popularity, is it time for an OpenGL revolution?"

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No.. (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859887)

Move on, nothing to see here!!!

Re:No.. (0, Offtopic)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40860069)

Yes because one gaming company decides it doesn't like windows and makes a Linux port. It must mean that it is an industry change.
Windows 8 other then a few UI changes isn't that different then 7. So while games may not be ported to metro. They will still run well as full screen apps in desktop mode in windows 8.

I expect the death of windows will be the death of the desktop. Linux will not rise to a new Desktop golden age. But a withered desktop age with Linux. Major software companies will put more effort in the tablet and more portable touch displays.

And all of us big desktop fans will be relegated to the mainframe fossils

Re:No.. (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860181)

Major software companies will put more effort in the tablet and more portable touch displays.

That's already starting to happen. Tablet sales are 24% of the market in 2012, but are increasing 100% year over year. If that continues for 18 more months, tablets will be outselling "traditional form factor" PCs, including laptops and desktops, within a few years. Of course, the installed base of traditional PCs is still larger so it will be several years after that before the tablet form factor has a larger install base, but the writing is on the wall.

Re:No.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860227)

Of course, the installed base of traditional PCs is still larger so it will be several years after that before the tablet form factor has a larger install base, but the writing is on the wall.

Didn't the same people say this about netbooks?

Re:No.. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860277)

Tablet sales really don't mean much because people are not replacing desktops with tablets. They are using tablets in addition to desktops. Now, tablets COULD affect laptop sales, as they are much similar to each other as to what they can do, in some respects anyway.

As for a linux port, so what? Xbox/PS games have been ported to PC and vice versus for years. Doesnt mean much that Valve is porting to Linux. All it means is they see a new area to make money, from sole linux users, which are a SMALL % of desktops.

Re:No.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860349)

Exactly.

Valve has bean counters too, and it's quite apparent that the cost of porting their steam platform to Linux will give them some profit. Valve knows that the majority of desktop gamers are Windows based. That will not change ever. What _might_ change is the fact that the tablet gaming market will become even larger, but so far all evidence is that people who play tablet games aren't doing so in lieu of playing games on their desktop.

I would bet that people who game, aren't going to be swapping platforms for a new mobile game. The games just are not the same.

Re:No.. (1)

sl4shd0rk (755837) | about 2 years ago | (#40860195)

Yes because one gaming company decides it doesn't like windows and makes a Linux port. It must mean that it is an industry change.

Meh.. either that or they are no longer afraid of angering the 800 gorilla.

Re:No.. (4, Funny)

ifiwereasculptor (1870574) | about 2 years ago | (#40860301)

the 800 gorilla.

Wow, that's a lot of gorillum.

Re:No.. (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#40860413)

Yes because one gaming company decides it doesn't like windows and makes a Linux port. It must mean that it is an industry change.

well EA has some games in the ubuntu software center, blizzard has said window 8 sucks and is considering porting, and valve is porting, those are the big movers in gaming it is not just one company it is the whole industry.

Re:No.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860431)

major software like what? office? you think people are going to be touch screening anything more then quick emails and text messages? graphics editing like photoshop? Games other then app crap like angry birds or farmville?

Major software companies are going to try and target those markets if they have an app that fits and some are probably going to try and force it anyways and lose a lot of money. The rest are going to see Microsoft try and pull what apple has and shave 30% of their sales revenue for the priveledge to be locked into their "app" store.

So actually I think we'll probably see more desktop killer apps, even closed source, porting to linux and Microsoft will probably learn the hard way that they haven't been "the OS" for any other reason than "that's where I could get photoshop/games/etc to run" for a long time and when they screw the developers of those programs that aren't Microsoft they'll lose that.

Hell if I had the graphics card driver/mouse/audio driver support and games of windows on linux now, there wouldn't be a windows machine or partition in the house and that's been the case for going on 14 years.

Re:No.. (1)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40860543)

I heard similar arguments about the mouse. Once software adjusts to the new medium. You will find that it came in handy

Re:No.. (2)

Dracos (107777) | about 2 years ago | (#40860453)

You really want to try playing any of the games mentioned in TFA on a touchscreen? Touchscreens are a horribly limited input device compared to keyboard+mouse, and this is why big games will stay on some combination of desktop and console. Dedicated (read: simplified controls) FPS/RPG/MMO games will rise for touch devices, but few of them will be ported elsewhere because of totally different input paradigms. As an example, I cite the dumbing down of Oblivion and Skyrim controls because of their XBox ports. Going to touchscreens requires an order of magnitude more simplification.

Furthermore, the desktop will not wither or die. Production of applications, games, graphics, video and audio has to be done somewhere, and it won't be on touch devices, which are almost purely for consumption. Simple things can be produced on touch, like email and IMs, but not much more, certanly nothing that requires UI precision or extended periods of typing.

Tablets are a fad that will go the way of the netbook, and faster. Once people see beyond the hype of "shiny! sleek! new!" they'll begin to wonder why they bought the thing. They make little sense for the average person, but in certain vertical markets where they act as a digital clipboard (ie, hospital patient charts) they have a future.

Direct3D can do better (5, Informative)

aaron44126 (2631375) | about 2 years ago | (#40859905)

Not necessarily better than OpenGL, but better than 270.6 fps.

Valve's blog post [valvesoftware.com] , near the bottom, indicates that they plan on fixing the hang-up with Direct3D, now that they know that the hardware can do better than 270 fps.

Re:Direct3D can do better (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860143)

For the lazy:

OpenGL versus Direct3D on Windows 7
This experience lead to the question: why does an OpenGL version of our game run faster than Direct3D on Windows 7? It appears that it's not related to multitasking overhead. We have been doing some fairly close analysis and it comes down to a few additional microseconds overhead per batch in Direct3D which does not affect OpenGL on Windows. Now that we know the hardware is capable of more performance, we will go back and figure out how to mitigate this effect under Direct3D.

Re:Direct3D can do better (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about 2 years ago | (#40860367)

And when they do go back and fix the problem with their Direct3D version, they'll know it was their code and not the API that caused it?

Re:Direct3D can do better (5, Insightful)

Sir_Sri (199544) | about 2 years ago | (#40860539)

Why would they? Using old directx 9 code that makes 270 fps is more than good enough, there's no reason to work back to optimize it for directx 11/11.1 etc.

When you're talking about 270 FPS you're into seriously questionable scaling issues, not for reasonable performance ranges. Just because something is more efficient at 200 fps doesn't mean it's more or less efficient at 50. That's the same as saying my car can do 270 kph, and yours can do 315... well yay. But which one is more fuel efficient at 60fps? (And which card, which drivers etc. etc. etc. all of which is secondary when you're talking about performance numbers in those ranges.).

Re:Direct3D can do better (1)

Dunge (922521) | about 2 years ago | (#40860383)

This article is based on Left4Dead 2, which use DirectX9. It's not relevant anymore. It's from years ago. Microsoft improved DirectX A LOT since then.

poop (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859907)

poop poop de doop firsties

valve just doesnt' like windows8 for the app store (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859913)

because it makes steam obsolete.

Re:valve just doesnt' like windows8 for the app st (1, Interesting)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#40860081)

interesting

Re:valve just doesnt' like windows8 for the app st (2)

bluescrn (2120492) | about 2 years ago | (#40860133)

I'd also suspect that WinRT and Win8 Metro apps won't support OpenGL... (Can anyone confirm/deny?)

Re:valve just doesnt' like windows8 for the app st (5, Insightful)

Captain Hook (923766) | about 2 years ago | (#40860519)

As far as reason for not liking Win8 goes, making your entire business model at best second fiddle to the MS store and at worst obsolete is a pretty good reason.

Re:valve just doesnt' like windows8 for the app st (3, Insightful)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#40860535)

Forgive me if I'm wrong, but isn't the Windows app store optional? It sure is in the consumer preview. I didn't see Valve decrying Apple for making the Mac App Store. Steam works just fine on the Mac, and it will continue to work just fine in Windows.

Dupe. (4, Informative)

Urza9814 (883915) | about 2 years ago | (#40859915)

Re:Dupe. (0)

djlemma (1053860) | about 2 years ago | (#40860109)

Came here to post exactly the same thing. TFA in this submission even links to TFA from the submission this morning.

Tonight's article... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859921)

Since we've jumped from the performance revealed article this morning to the time to bury Direct X article this afternoon, I can only assume tonight's article will be about "doing away with the legacy OpenGL."

Re:Tonight's article... (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#40859989)

That would actually be an interesting article.

Legacy OpenGL hardware can be a pain in the ass to support. You want to use shaders and all the latest OpenGL features but you can't because 90% of your user base is still using some old ass version of OpenGL.

Re:Tonight's article... (2)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | about 2 years ago | (#40860209)

You want to use shaders and all the latest OpenGL features but you can't because 90% of your user base is still using some old ass version of OpenGL.

Isn't that the point of the Mesa3D/Gallium3D stack - to use hardware where it's available and fall back to software (or skip features) where it's not?

Re:Tonight's article... (2)

santiagoanders (1357681) | about 2 years ago | (#40860363)

Gallium is freaking awesome. When I switched to the open source video drivers and Gallium I was able to run Compiz with one Nvidia card and one AMD card simultaneously. Simultaneous lovin'

Re:Tonight's article... (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#40860219)

...or better yet just some old and cheap video card.

Re:Tonight's article... (1)

djlemma (1053860) | about 2 years ago | (#40860217)

By the weekend we'll be talking wistfully about the good 'ol days when we used to look at 2D images on monitors instead of having alternate realities streamed directly into our brains...

The Source DX engine is old (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859925)

If L4D2 was using the latest DX11.1 implementation and the latest technique, I'm not so sure it would be faster on OpenGL.

Re:The Source DX engine is old (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860007)

This. The lack of version numbers in the blog post leads me to believe they are benchmarking with DirectX 9.0c. Well congratulations open source guys, you beat an API 8 years later.

Re:The Source DX engine is old (1)

Dunge (922521) | about 2 years ago | (#40860515)

I've read this news like 10 times today, and every time I replied something like this (most of the time ignorant people disagreed). This should be explained in the main article. DirectX 10/11 is much improved over OpenGL.

20% difference is too large (2)

js3 (319268) | about 2 years ago | (#40859931)

I'm a bit skeptical about these numbers..

Re:20% difference is too large (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859993)

It is rather an odd announcement. There is no reason to something like this before it is ready for alpha testing. Except maybe they wanted to serve notice to a large software concern in the Northwest US? This will be "forgotten" in a day or two except of course the occasional Slashdot Flashback. (now with less LSD!)

Re:20% difference is too large (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860151)

> Slashdot Flashback

Is that what we're calling dupes now?

Re:20% difference is too large (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860235)

Correct. After applying what they learned porting to Linux, they raised the Windows numbers from 270 to 303 fps, so it's really only a 4% difference.
And 4% isn't worth writing an article about.

Besides, this is 4% on an Intel Core i7 3930k, an NVIDIA GeForce GTX 680, and 32 GB RAM.

What everyone really wants to know: What's the difference on an i3, a more reasonably priced card like a GT 640, and somewhere around 4-8GB of RAM?

Re:20% difference is too large (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860283)

Frames per second isn't a linear measurement and as becomes more and more useless the higher it is. The time difference between 270.6ps and 315 fps is (1000/270.6)-(1000/315.0) ~= 0.5 milliseconds, hardly worth mentioning.

But anyway, IMO it's still a good thing that Linux appears to be on par with Windows performance when it comes to 3D acceleration.

Re:20% difference is too large (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860401)

You're not alone:

315/270.6 = 1.164

Re:20% difference is too large (1)

Cinder6 (894572) | about 2 years ago | (#40860559)

More interesting would be comparing DX11 to the current OpenGL offering, rather than DX9.

Why is Direct3D still the de facto API? (3, Interesting)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#40859935)

Because MS makes Windows and bundle their API with it of course.
Besides that most, if not all, of my console games are OpenGL not DirectX.

Re:Why is Direct3D still the de facto API? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859975)

Noob question : xbox360 games does not use DirectX ?

tx!

Re:Why is Direct3D still the de facto API? (3, Interesting)

medv4380 (1604309) | about 2 years ago | (#40860125)

I said

most, if not all, of my console games are OpenGL not DirectX.

I don't have a 360 so unless Sony, or Nintendo whet all Sega Level of Crazy and Licensed Windows CE I don't think they would permit DirectX code on their systems.

Re:Why is Direct3D still the de facto API? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860479)

The Dreamcast ran Windows CE (and no, that's not the reason why it failed).

Re:Why is Direct3D still the de facto API? (4, Informative)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#40860423)

Besides that most, if not all, of my console games are OpenGL not DirectX.

Not if your console is a Wii or a PS3 since everyone uses the vendor supplied graphics API. On the PS3 this is PSGL which while smilar to OpenGL ES 1.0 is not OpenGL and is instead based on Cg created by NVIDIA. On the Wii this is another proprietary API that is similar to fixed function OpenGL but is again not OpenGL.

It's about time (5, Insightful)

sa666_666 (924613) | about 2 years ago | (#40859945)

I don't think anyone ever reasonably stated that Linux wasn't efficient, or that OpenGL wasn't adequate compared to Direct3D. Or maybe they did, but it wasn't factual. A properly configured Linux system has been faster than Windows for some time, at least for the past few years. The main problem with Linux has always been the lack of polish and presentation to the general public. The pieces have always been there, it's just been very fragile. Maybe now that someone is stepping up to the plate, Linux can receive what it's needed all along: better marketing and polishing. IMHO, it hasn't been large technical issues keeping Linux back. The technology is sound, and has been for quite some time.

Re:It's about time (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | about 2 years ago | (#40860111)

Assuming that you have the drivers you need.

Re:It's about time (0)

Bill, Shooter of Bul (629286) | about 2 years ago | (#40860481)

I'm pretty sure people have said that the graphics drivers on Linux weren't decent. And there usually right about that. The true miracle here is that there is apparently one driver for linux that's pretty good.

OpenGL Support (4, Insightful)

sanosuke001 (640243) | about 2 years ago | (#40859947)

I use OpenGL at work and as much as I prefer it over DirectX, the ARB (opengl board that decides on additions/updates/changes) sometimes takes a while to introduce new features that DirectX gets much earlier and they sometimes make questionable choices on how things are supported and the OpenGL docs are sort of terrible and vague.

Re:OpenGL Support (5, Informative)

Sam H (3979) | about 2 years ago | (#40860371)

Sir, this is complete, utter bullshit.

DirectX gets almost nothing “much earlier”, because it has no extension mechanism. With DirectX you are stuck with the latest version. It has obvious advantages, but early features are certainly not amongst them. Think what you want about the ARB, it does release and releases often.

As for the documentation being terrible and vague, that's pretty uninformed, too. Every extension is fully documented and the vendors know precisely what needs to be implemented. There is no Direct3D equivalent of the 600-page OpenGL specification [opengl.org] . The DirectX documentation is a programmer’s guide, not a specification. Every single version of the GLSL standard comes with a full grammar of the language which lets you reimplement a parser or compiler. There is no such thing as a grammar for HLSL (the D3D equivalent). What Microsoft calls a “grammar” for HLSL can be found here [microsoft.com] and anyone not even in the field of graphics programming will immediately understand how much of a joke it is compared to this [opengl.org] (pages 166 to 174).

(Source: I work on Windows, Linux, PS3, Xbox and mobile game engines)

Assuming it mattered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40859953)

If screen refresh rates are typically 60-85hz, you'd never see the benefit of 303.4 or 270.6 fps. The argument could be made that it makes a difference on graphically intense scenes but would that fps fall below the threshold that the eye can see which is 30fps? I think not. Not much use for a car that can do 500mph when the highways only allow you 60.

Re:Assuming it mattered (1)

Mr Thinly Sliced (73041) | about 2 years ago | (#40860041)

It's true the frame rate increases are marginal over typical refresh rates.

However, if you can render frames quicker, the CPU that would have been used for rendering (blocking on API calls / waiting for things to happen) can now be allocated to something else (AI / sound / loading).

Now it's possible you don't gain all of that since GPU offloading takes place, but any extra free CPU has to be good, right?

Re:Assuming it mattered (1)

binarylarry (1338699) | about 2 years ago | (#40860199)

You totally miss the point.

They were comparing how fast the application ran on the different platforms.

It wasn't a user experience benchmark.

UX is what counts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860455)

For games, UX is all that actually counts.

If you're concerned about the backplane and how that handles things, go into simulations.

Re:Assuming it mattered (1)

Ziggitz (2637281) | about 2 years ago | (#40860313)

Trolling or genuinely ignorant? It's a benchmark, no one is celebrating that you can buy a 5 figure gaming rig and play a 2 year old game at 315fps. The significance is that in a like for like comparison where only variable is open source drivers and the operating system, there was a 20% performance boost. That means if you play a demanding game at 50 fps on a windows directx machine, you could be playing it at 60fps on a linux opengl machine, all other things being equal. The human eye can see a lot more than 30fps, although it depends heavily on a lot of different factors. With most video games 30 is considered playable, 60 is great and over 80-90 is superficial improvement.This also means that as a developer at the high end, you can add more triangles to your game in the form of more or higher detail models, larger environments, better particle effects etc.

Re:Assuming it mattered (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860491)

Your argument makes sense if you're watching a movie or something but a game is interactive. The environment is being changed based on user input and that input is not limited to 30 FPS or even 3000 FPS.

It's not about what the eye can see, it's about how responsive the game is. A game running at 30 FPS feels less responsive and "notchy" compared to 300+ FPS because the inputs are being handled at odd times compared to the instant you put them in. Consider drag racers can get reaction times of zero. That's less than one millisecond error. Even at 300 FPS you're looking at +/- 3.3 milliseconds error at best. At 30 FPS you're looking at +/- 33 milliseconds error; that's huge!

The real world does not have a frame rate and games won't feel 100% responsive until they also have "infinite" frame rate.

DirectX has the advantage of other features (3, Interesting)

Nadaka (224565) | about 2 years ago | (#40860013)

DirectX has the advantage of other features built in. OpenGL is just graphics. DirectX also does audio and manages controller input.

Low, there are several Open source API's that offer these other features, and some that bundle them with OpenGL, but it isn't as standardized.

I use LWJGL [lwjgl.org] personally.

Re:DirectX has the advantage of other features (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860139)

big fan of SDL for this reason.

Re:DirectX has the advantage of other features (2)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40860307)

DirectX has the advantage of other features built in. OpenGL is just graphics. DirectX also does audio and manages controller input.

I thought that DirectSound and DirectInput were both deprecated a couple years ago. I know that as of Vista, DirectSound was emulated in software and no longer lets you take over the sound output completely (you need WASAPI for that).

Year of the Linux! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860025)

Year of the Linux! OMG!

exciting times (1)

RockGrumbler (1795608) | about 2 years ago | (#40860079)

I am excited to see valve putting resources behind opengl and linux.

Hopefully the distro de jour can keep up with increased attention and excitement.

Yes, (1)

kamYlk0 (2567253) | about 2 years ago | (#40860093)

it (finally) is.

is it time for an OpenGL revolution? (1)

roman_mir (125474) | about 2 years ago | (#40860099)

Isn't that a weird question? Why does it have to be a 'revolution'? If OpenGL is so much better than DirectX/Direct3D, then wouldn't this provide enough incentives for the developers of games and other software to go the OpenGL route, because their DirectX/Direct3D counterparts will be slower (and I assume people like software to work faster, hopefully that's a valid assumption).

It's going to be evolution, not a revolution, because if OpenGL is faster by 20% and this matters to the users, then it will win.

Re: is it time for an OpenGL revolution? (1)

Volvogga (867092) | about 2 years ago | (#40860391)

From what I have been lead to believe, and I could be wrong, if you get DirectX working for your game on Windows, it isn't that ridiculously difficult or expensive to get it functioning on the Xbox. Xbox360 is probably the leader in the console market at the moment (last I heard it had 47% marketshare in the world for consoles), and Windows has been the name for PC gaming for years... that is a lot of bases covered for choosing an, arguably, inferior SDK.

Direct X vs Open GL (4, Insightful)

ZiakII (829432) | about 2 years ago | (#40860115)

The only issue is that they are claiming that Open GL version runs better then the Direct X version is we really do not know if they are the same graphic detail. The reason I say this is look at the TF2 Mac port that uses Open GL, its not in any regards the same graphic quality as the Direct X windows version. I am beginning to wonder if the same thing is why the Windows version is rendering using less fps. We don't have any screenshots of the differences, just one paragraph on a blog that is quite lite in details.

Re:Direct X vs Open GL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860289)

Was wondering that myself

Re:Direct X vs Open GL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860329)

I could be wrong but my understanding is Apple control that stack and if that isn't up to scratch, theres not a lot valve can do about it. In windows and linux the graphics drivers usually include the opengl implimentations, and valve has been working with the vendors to improve this.

OpenGL ES 2.0? (1)

JDG1980 (2438906) | about 2 years ago | (#40860153)

The de facto standard for smartphones and tablets seems to be OpenGL ES 2.0. Why can this not be a de facto standard for desktop and console gaming as well? I'm sure there's something I am overlooking (3D stuff isn't really my forte), but what features are there which OpenGL ES 2.0 doesn't support that gamers really need?

I think it might be a good idea to standardize on something for a few years, and stop indefinitely chasing the upgrade treadmill. Working within specific hardware limitations, and figuring out how to get the highest quality experience out of that limited hardware, often results in the best games. Nintendo seldom, if ever, had cutting-edge console hardware, but they have the best video game software library of any company ever.

Re:OpenGL ES 2.0? (4, Informative)

rsmith-mac (639075) | about 2 years ago | (#40860303)

The de facto standard for smartphones and tablets seems to be OpenGL ES 2.0. Why can this not be a de facto standard for desktop and console gaming as well?

It's too feature limited. It's not even up to par with Direct3D 9.0c/9_3, let alone D3D10+. No MRTs, no compute shaders, no geometry features (tessellation, instancing, etc), no standard texture compression format, etc.

Valve does effect change (1)

dontbemad (2683011) | about 2 years ago | (#40860175)

If there is much doubt about Valve being able to spearhead a movement to OpenGL, remember that they were the ones who completely revolutionized digital distribution and are the closest thing we have to fair DRM. Just because an idea sounds to crazy to be plausible doesn't mean it is. If there would be a company to lead this charge, it would be Valve, along with the hundreds of Indie developers it does business with.

ARGH. Not this again. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860177)

(Got to repost this I posted on another forum. I don't have ANY inside knowledge about this BTW, but anyhow...)

Look, the importance here is NOT on DX vs OpenGL nor the actual FPS or FPS delta. If you came away with that from the blog post, I'm going to go out on a limb and say; sorry you came away with the wrong point.

The FPS numbers are only used to illustrate how far they've come with the port, and that it's viable (but we all knew that already). The important point is that software porting should be seen not primarily as a 'cost', as is so often the case, but as an investment in software quality and lessened technical debt.

Porting to linux and OSX makes games better, drivers better and ultimately maybe even the operating systems themselves better. It's all win, even if you're a die-hard Microsoft fanboy.

It drives me mad that everyone is reading the blog post and coming away with all the wrong "points".

(Could people who don't work with these APIs please just shut up about them?)

Never about performance or features (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 2 years ago | (#40860185)

It was never about performance or features. The issue has always been about return on investment.

If I wrote an OpenGL engine in 2006, I could release my title on Mac, Windows and Linux. That sounds great, but how many additional sales do I get for Mac or Linux in 2006? Conversely, writing a DirectX engine in 2006 means I can release on Windows and XBox, where there is a massive return on investment.

Now that Mac has stormed to over 14% market share, and mobile development is huge, there is a return on investment in OpenGL. That is what matters. If wonder if it is too late for Sony to capitalize on this approach for their PS4? Surely they have development hardware in the hands of key developers. If the PS4 used a standard x86_64 processor and supported OpenGL, it would make game development that much easier. Maybe the really smart move is a low-power, quiet Nvidia ARM CPU paired with a beefy NVidia GPU.

Re:Never about performance or features (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#40860269)

You are forgetting the value that having an OSX and Linux port adds to your codebase. It finds edge cases, it finds places where you did icky stuff, it can and will improve your performance/correctness on even the main platform.

Re:Never about performance or features (2)

Enderandrew (866215) | about 2 years ago | (#40860513)

It might help the main platform if you're a bad coder, but you have to spend a bunch of time on the port in the first place, and then spend extra time maintaining the split codebase. As much as I like to see multi-platform support, I don't think the benefit has always been there.

Re:Never about performance or features (1)

eddy (18759) | about 2 years ago | (#40860293)

Sony had what was essentially a wrapper for the PS3, and the RUMOR is that the next one will be OpenGL "native", but rumors console are always crazy.

Re:Never about performance or features (2)

IntlHarvester (11985) | about 2 years ago | (#40860451)

My understanding is the state of Windows' OpenGL drivers is actually pretty poor outside of Nvidia. (Carmack has complained about this.) So in theory OpenGL gives you Windows support, in practice D3D may allow you to reach more machines.

D3D9 vs OpenGL (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860207)

One of the BIG issues is this: D3D9 vs OpenGL v2.x. The architecture of D3D9 has that each draw call (i.e. each batch) is really freaking heavy call. It is heavy in GL implementation as well, but D3D9's is very, very heavy.

Now make a more honest comparison: D3D10 vs OpenGL 3.x and/or D3D11 vs OpenGL 4.x. Those numbers are for mare informative.

Additionally, a fair amount of D3D's implementation is actually Microsoft (think of what they provide as a framework to make a driver). On the other hand, when making a GL implementation, the implementer does it from scratch on their own. Open source drivers are usually based off of Mesa, which sucks which is one of the reasons why open source GL implementations suck compared to the closed source ones. My hunch is that an OpenGL implementation is more work than a D3D implementation.

Now lets talk GL bugs. For NVIDIA and AMD, the GL2.x feature set is very, very reliable. GL3.x feature set is mostly reliable. GL4 feature set is the wild wet: be prepared for bugs.

I remember from when I was doing GL3 work (before GL4 was out) and there was a bug in NVIDIA related to gl_ClipDistance. Essentially, gl_ClipDistance would not work in shaders (the GL program failed in glLinkProgram and/or the shaders failed to compile). The bug fixing was essentially NVIDIA just finding out... passing GL conformance tests I suspect leaves large gaping holes... and when combined with GL extensions, it is unholy.

Atleast desktop GL has come a long way now with AMD making good GL drivers (as years ago ATI GL drivers were basically just able to play IDSoftware games). But GL4 features is dicey, simply because the conformance tests are not that much and not a lot of code out there using it.. in comparison Microsoft's verification, although can leave holes too, does a much better job... D3D driver bugs are rarer than GL driver bugs usually.

But you boys on desktop have no idea how good you have it... GLES2 implementations are buggy all the time in weird horrifying ways. This is one reason why iOS is better game platform than Android: essentially only a handful hardware/driver combinations to find bugs and create work arounds.

Switching Might Be Easier These Days (1)

organgtool (966989) | about 2 years ago | (#40860211)

I can't speak for the game developer community, but most of the senior projects people chose to do for their bachelors in Computer Science were basic 3d games. In their design reviews, a majority of the groups chose to use DirectX over OpenGL. They stated that the reasons for this were due to the way DirectX offered a standardized way of delivering sound and processing input devices (and possibly networking, although don't hold me to that). Since then, OpenAL has gained traction and it probably isn't that difficult to write a standardized library for input devices (if such libraries haven't already been released under a reasonable license). Perhaps some game devs who have used both technologies could shed some light on their advantages and disadvantages.

DirectX is more then just video (0)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about 2 years ago | (#40860347)

DirectX is more then just video openGL is just video.

But I think you can have OPENGL video + DirectX for other stuff.

and port openX to windows... (1)

darue (2699381) | about 2 years ago | (#40860231)

the big deal would be this: make a gaming framework on linux based on openGL and an input/audio/output abstraction layer developers can count on. Then port it to windows, so linux games will run on windows. Game installers could check if "openX" is installed, and if not, run the installer.

Almost 20%? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860239)

It's 16%. That's nearly only 12%!

Linux Gaming (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | about 2 years ago | (#40860243)

Why not supply the game on a bootable Linux CD for optimal performance. Could run it on Apple machines as well.

Re:Linux Gaming (2)

doctrbl (306815) | about 2 years ago | (#40860443)

Why not supply the game on a bootable Linux CD for optimal performance. Could run it on Apple machines as well.

Because I want the underlying OS available at the same time for music playing, or web browsing, or any number of tasks I have my computer working on.

how is the image quality? (2)

locopuyo (1433631) | about 2 years ago | (#40860249)

I question what the actual image quality looks like on both. DirectX has a lot of fancy features that improve the graphics that OpenGL does not. Did they turn off all of these features that improve the graphics for DirectX or add them with their OpenGL version? I highly doubt it.
Also when the frame rate is that high it typically isn't a good test. Create a map with enough detail that the frame rate gets dropped below 60 and compare them there for a real test.
While it would be cool if they could get OpenGL looking as good and working as efficiently as DirectX I wont' believe it until I see proof. This article sounds more like OpenGL propaganda than reality.

ok we get it gabe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860281)

ok Gabe we get it you hate windows 8 because of the app store, i bet you didn't try the new version of Directx on Windows 8, so your benchmarks are flawed, while i use CentOS on all my servers, i will never play games on Linux, they didn't even manage to get the mice pointer correctly let alone drivers and getting most of the hardware on Linux is pro job. not walk in the park like windows.

evolution, not revolution... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860287)

Stop using a big "kludge", like DirectX and starting to use an Open standard isn't a revolution. Is just a matter of "evolution".

Clueless (1)

Dunge (922521) | about 2 years ago | (#40860297)

The guy who wrote this article is pretty clueless about current state of 3D rendering. DirectX is much more advanced than OpenGL. Brute FPS don't means anything with current 3D technology. It's not just about pushing more polygons anymore.

As far as I know, the choice was never forced (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 2 years ago | (#40860333)

As far as I know, OpenGL was available for Windows as well. There never was a reason for people to use the DX stack, save that the DX stack was available for the XBox and therefore if you wanted to sell to the platform market as well you were going to have to do a DX implementation no matter what.

Personally I've never coded a line of DX in my life. Why would I want to use a vendor-specific toolkit when the performance differences were never significant enough to justify making such a switch?

Re:As far as I know, the choice was never forced (1)

Dunge (922521) | about 2 years ago | (#40860449)

I learned 3D programming using OpenGL like 10 years ago. When I switched to DirectX everything was soo simplified I wondered why I never did before. Developers use DirectX because the whole development chain is much better. And with the advantages DirectX10/11 improved over OpenGL, I wonder why articles like that still exist.

No (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860385)

See Betteridge's Law of Headlines
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betteridge's_Law_of_Headlines

(Hint: OpenGL on OSX still 3.2 even in Mountain Lion and vastly buggy)
http://renderingpipeline.com/2012/04/sad-state-of-opengl-on-macos-x/

Really not that amazing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860387)

In the IT/Biz world - the comparison is over, taking for example the comparison between Windows and Linux for example....
and a common application. In most (if not all) instances on apples-to-apples hardware, Linux wins......so, LINUX folks and Samsung (who just
bought $500 million of board seats on the Linux board), let's get this thing moving!!!!
It's about time

FPS over 60 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860427)

With most LCD monitors only able to do 60hz what is the point of having 315 frames per second? Wouldn't most of those frames be dropped because the monitor just can't handle repainting the screen that fast?

Thanks

Valve Linux Devs prefer Open Drivers (5, Interesting)

randallman (605329) | about 2 years ago | (#40860489)

I followed a few links and found my way here:

http://www.paranormal-entertainment.com/idr/blog/posts/2012-07-19T18%3A54%3A37Z-The_zombies_cometh/ [paranormal...inment.com]

It's a blog about an experience intel driver developers had working with the Valve Linux team. What I found interesting is that the Valve developers prefer working with open drivers for an obvious reason - It's hard to find out what went wrong when you're dealing with a black box. What I gathered from the discussion is that this openness was a huge boost to development of both the game and the driver. This gives me hope that there may be a bright future for open source graphics drivers and even gaming on Linux.

From the blog:

Haswell will have 40 execution units in it’s best bin. It’s 2,5 faster even if they not gonna change anything in shaders, which is unlikely. Plus 64 MB of on-package memory to deal with bandwidth problem.
With that performance and official open-source driver Intel will be the best choice for gaming in Linux next year, at least in notebooks.

A pretty good GPU + an open driver + an open kernel coupled with a working relations ship between the 3 groups should result in a super graphics and games on Linux. I'm not a gamer, but I'll buy their games just to support this. Typing this on a Sandy Bridge machine pulling from xorg-edgers.

I'm going with 'no' and 'already done, quietly'. (1)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about 2 years ago | (#40860493)

Given that neither Sony nor Nintendo, for fairly obvious reasons, use DirectX on the console side, (and both, to the best of my understanding, use something that is mostly OpenGL-ish) there is already a pretty substantial base of games that have non-DirectX ports, even before you count the various iDevice and Android applications.

Because it is pretty standard(if somewhat unfortunate for quality) for big name titles to get a console port, or start out as a console game and get an (often shoddy) PC port, a lot of the game engine and middleware guys(Unreal, Gambryo, id Tech, etc, etc.) already support multi-platform porting. This doesn't do much to change games that are now fossilized/abandoned/in IP ownership purgatory; but it does suggest that current and upcoming games, in many cases, could be shoved out to an additional platform if there were a perceived market for it.

It's an "I'm not in this for your revolution, I expect to be well paid." thing. Since multi-console and console/PC releases are extremely common, and even some OSX stuff shows up now and again, the middleware guys haven't had the option to go DirectX only for some time now. On the other hand, since we have the middleware guys, who justify their existence by insulating(at least to the degree possible) the game developers from the underlying platforms, it may actually be less likely that OpenGL games show up on Windows, since the middleware makes it less burdensome to have a DirectX and OpenGL release version...)

not a 20% speed up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40860503)

You can't compare Frames Per Second like that. You need to compare frame time to get the actual speed up. So what is it like 0.5% faster?

Survey says... (0)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#40860511)

Is It Time For an OpenGL Gaming Revolution?

No.

fps is a logarithmic scale (2, Informative)

dasapfe (856009) | about 2 years ago | (#40860551)

People seem very excited about the 20% "increase" in fps, but it is misleading. To get the actual increase in speed, you need to use the frametime instead:

270.6 fps = 3,695 ms per frame
315 fps = 3,175 ms per frame

So the actual difference is a measly 520 microseconds. A change this small might not even be something that is related to the OS or graphics api used. It may even be because the windows OS they used is 64-bit, and the linux OS is 32-bit.
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