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We ask AMD: Why will Mantle be different?

VR-Zone sat down with AMD’s Ritche Corpus, the company’s director of software alliances and developer relations, to talk about Mantle, TrueAudio, and the Steam Box.


A semiconductor company wouldn’t be worth its weight in Si without a solid set of working relationships and alliances with the companies that make software for its chips.

One of the pillars of AMD’s #gpu14 conference was the unveiling of Mantle, an API that promises to make cross-platform development and optimization easy for developers. According to AMD, DICE was a major stakeholder in the creation of Mantle, thus the very existence of the API could be seen as a strength of AMD’s developer relations.

Also read: What’s the deal with AMD’s mantle?

VR-Zone had a chance to chat with the man that heads up AMD’s developer relations unit, Ritche Corpus, about some of the developer relations focused initiatives AMD announced at its keynote.

VR-Zone: Proprietary standards don’t have a great track record of success, historically speaking. Why will Mantle be different?

I think at this stage it makes sense for us to develop Mantle, at least in its current form, because nobody knows our hardware at the lowest level best than we do. So for us to have to do that for alternative graphics hardware [would be] almost impossible.

The plan is, long term, once we’ve developed Mantle into a state where it’s stable and in a state where it can be shared openly [we’ll make it available]. The long term plan is to share and create the spec and SDK and make it widely available. Our thinking is: there’s nothing that says that someone else could develop their own version of Mantle and mirror what we’ve done in how to access the lower levels of their own silicon. I think what it does is it forges the way, the easiest way.

If you think about it, Mantle is truly a collaboration and I’ll tell you [DICE’s Johan Andersson] was at the forefront of that at the very beginning. A lot of the feedback on the development of Mantle came from him. We also solicited feedback from a lot of other partners that we haven’t announced yet. At this stage, Battlefield 4 and FrostBite 3 are the closest to deliver something today. I think, as I mentioned before, the goal would be to provide the spec and SDK publicly.

VRZ: Any timeline to Mantle’s SDK being made public?

It could be as early as sometime next year or maybe the year after.

VRZ: A lot of today’s keynote was about AMD’s hegemony in the gaming sector. How are you sure that Mantle and AMD’s place as the chipmaker for next-generation consoles will make it the dominant platform for PC gaming in the future?

I think there is a lot of similarities in the architectures of the [next-generation] consoles and PC side. I think one of the benefits that game developers are going to realize is that because of their strong familiarity with the PC already, and developing on our hardware, we anticipate development budgets to be somewhere less or lower because they won’t have to spend as much development time and the learning curve is much shorter. We don’t think it’s going to take them as long to extract all of the features and the maximum performance benefits out of our hardware.

VRZ: Can you quantify how similar the next-generation consoles are to AMD’s PC silicon? Is there one console that’s more similar to PC silicon?

I can’t comment.

VRZ: One of the big announcements at AMD’s keynote at #gpu14 was AMD TrueAudio. Does getting in to the audio business pit AMD against existing sound card makers like Creative?

Actually no, we’re complementary to existing sound cards. If there was an existing sound card, then whatever feature set is made available by whatever sound solution is in the system we augment it.

 Believe it or not, there’s already a lot of sound down solutions that exist today. Our stuff works with that.

VRZ: Valve has recently announced that the Steam Box is in beta. In Valve’s announcing press release, it said how Nvidia is a big stakeholder in the Steam Box. What is AMD doing to counter or compete against this?

There is no counter.

The reason is we are working just as closely with Valve. I think the difference is one side of that conversation is being more vocal than the other. If you go to Valve right now and ask them which hardware partners are going to be the partner of choice, they won’t pick one or the other. They are going to be agnostic. They mention that it’s an open ecosystem.

VRZ: Thanks for your time.

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