Popular cross-platform 3D graphics and compute API Vulkan is gaining support for the Apple ecosystem, which means Mac and iOS developers will be able to build and run Vulkan apps on Apple devices.
Valve, LunarG, and The Brenwill Workshop, members of The Khronos Group consortium that developed Vulkan, have worked together with the Khronos Group Portability Initiative to allow Vulkan apps to be ported to Apple platforms.
The aim of Khronos Group’s Vulkan Portability Initiative is a universal subset of Vulkan 1.0 that is designed to run at native performance levels over Metal and DirectX 12 drivers. Metal and DirectX 12 are able to support almost all of Vulkan, with the exception of elements like triangle fans, separate stencil reference masks, Vulkan Event functionality, and a few other features.
Valve used Vulkan tools on macOS with Dota 2 and was able to achieve "significantly higher performance" than native OpenGL drivers.
An open source collection of tools, SDKs, and runtime libraries that enable Vulkan development and deployment on macOS and iOS is now available on the Portability Landing Page on the Khronos Group website. With Vulkan support for Mac and iOS devices, developers will be able to support multiple platforms while cutting down on porting and development costs.
"Running Vulkan applications on Apple platforms has been the number one request from developers and today’s release of the MoltenVK runtime and LunarG macOS SDK brings that capability to life,” said Neil Trevett, VP NVIDIA and Khronos Group President. “Developers are invited to download the open source Vulkan Portability tools today and provide feedback via Vulkan Ecosystem GitHub Issue. The Vulkan Portability Initiative will continue to strengthen the infrastructure and tooling around bringing Vulkan capabilities to multiple Metal and DX12 platforms - our long-term goal is to enable portable Vulkan code to be executed on any platform that developers care about."
Starting today, a MoltenVK library from The Brenwill Workshop that translates Vulkan calls into Metal calls on macOS and iOS is being open sourced.
The open source LunarG Vulkan SDK for macOS is also available today on LunarXchange, enabling developers to build, run, and debug Vulkan applications on Mac. Going forward, LunarG plans to continue to evolve its Mac SDK to add additional tools and features.
More information on Vulkan support for Apple devices can be found on The Khronos Group website.