Among other things talked about during the opening keynote of the Google I/O 2016 developer conference which started in Mountain View, California yesterday, the tech giant’s representatives went into great detail regarding the upcoming Android N OS which is scheduled to start rolling out on select devices this fall. One of the big novelties included in it is the native support for the Vulkan API, an open source cross-platform 3D graphics and computing application programming interface developed by the Khronos Group. To put it simply, Vulkan was designed to take full advantage of the multi-threading capabilities of modern processors and replace the current OpenGL ES standard in the industry. Vulkan can be used for both computing and rendering and it gives developers a lot more options to make their software more efficient in every sense of that word. In terms of games, that means better graphics and performance. But, how much better, exactly?
Well, if Google’s recently released video comparison between Need for Speed No Limits powered by the Vulkan API is anything to go by, significantly better. Google released the video along with a statement that console-grade graphics on mobile devices are “not just possible” but are coming soon, and while many will be skeptical of that, what we’ve seen definitely looks like it could have been made for gaming consoles. The Vulkan-powered Need for Speed No Limits looks really beautiful and is running smoothly and while we still aren’t talking about the cutting edge level of graphics in the context of the entire industry, the short video demonstration Google released is definitely impressive. Improved motion blur and reflections, better lighting, more detailed particle effects… avid mobile gamers have a lot to be excited about this fall.
You don’t have to take that for granted, though; instead, click on the source link below and watch the said video in all of its glory. Naturally, native Vulkan API support in Android N won’t instantly translate to prettier mobile games which magically perform better than the older ones. As always, it’s up to the developers to take full advantage of Vulkan’s capabilities. Hopefully, we won’t have to wait long for that to happen.