AAA Engine Lead Says Mantle “is not for Hobbyists”

With OpenGL Next seemingly low level and influenced by Mantle, it worries me that a generation of students is not going to pick up OpenGL in their introductory computer graphics courses, or if they do, it will be using an outdated version, not something forward-looking.

There is some support for the cause of this worry from John Kloetzli (Principal Graphics Programmer on Civilization: Beyond Earth):

There definitely is cost involved [for supporting Mantle]. It’s definitely not an API that’s going to hold your hand and it’s not for hobbyists, really. But Mantle is not a significant overhead for a professional graphics team to add to a game.

I hope there is a mitigation plan in place to pull OpenGL Next into the mainstream, and make it suitable for university teaching and for those books that target enthusiastic teenagers who want to make their first games. Anyone could make a wrapper library but I think there is value in creating a standard one, shipped with all GL drivers and with the OpenGL brand in its name. I fear an alternative where “OpenGL” has about as much common currency as “Gallium3D”, “DRI”, “Wayland”, “VDPAU”, or any of the other myriad obscure pieces of software in various graphics stacks.

Read more from John at AMD’s bombastic article.

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