In a statement from AMD, we were told:
"Mantle has achieved all necessary stability, performance and functionality milestones required to ready it for a broader audience in the developer community. To support this, AMD has launched a new portal that will allow new game developers to experience the benefits of low-overhead graphics APIs for themselves. There are no objective criteria for being selected, as we are interested in talking to developers of all shapes and sizes. Past development experience is encouraged, however."
When asked who the 40 new developers are, or at least a few key players, we were told that the names couldn't be unveiled at this time and that they'd be spoiled individually throughout the year. We also asked if Mantle saw integration with any major game engines as a means to ease the transition to the API, and again, were told that nothing could be said right now. Mantle is already integrated with CryEngine (and being used by the Star Citizen team), but we were told that "[AMD] cannot discuss other game or engine-related activities for confidentiality reasons."
The company was quick to note that "developers like Square Enix have proven with Thief that the process of adding a Mantle render backend to an engine that does not natively support Mantle is certainly possible and encouraged."
Changes to Mantle for this update primarily focus on development and maturing the documentation and SDK for game makers.
If you're unfamiliar with Mantle, it's an API (similar to DirectX) that attempts to bypass much of the overhead found in existing APIs. Mantle is presently only compatible with AMD GPUs in its present state, but the company likes to note that it'll work with anyone's GPU (as long as they mirror the correct architecture and spend time integrating the software... that is to say, only AMD GPUs). Mantle significantly increases the count of possible drawcalls by reducing CPU utilization and cutting through overhead; this is often described as putting developers "closer to the metal," similar to what a console would do.
You can listen to Chris Roberts of Star Citizen discuss Mantle in our previous interview.
- Steve "Lelldorianx" Burke.