Reboot Recap: Seriously Explicit Lessons In Vulkan

Richard Huddy

Head of Gaming Ecosystem, Samsung R&D UK

In April, Samsung Galaxy GameDev went to Croatia for Reboot Develop Blue. We sent two technical staff and an account manager for a whole host of activities, and I’ll admit that we looked at the event (which is new to us) as a rather speculative attempt to connect with game developers. After all, Reboot previously had no technical track and has only been running for a handful of years; maybe it would turn out to be a non-event.

But Reboot managed to exceed all our expectations. We had approximately 60 seriously-interesting and highly-competent game developers in our sessions. Alon Or Bach, who heads our Vulkan standards effort, did a great job in a talk on advanced Vulkan programming techniques, which are used in Croteam’s Serious Engine for Mobile. Alon then went on to host a panel discussion on the merits of Vulkan. This panel featured some lively and informative input from Karlo Jež from Croteam, Christian Forfang from ARM, and Graham Wihlidal from EA’s SEED group.

Quiz Time!

Watch the above video of Alon presenting at Reboot, then answer the following multiple-choice questions (scroll to the end of the blog the answers).

1. What is the most significant performance gain you can reasonably expect to see when you completely fix some badly-chosen pipeline barriers in a trivial Vulkan app? a. 25% b. 50% c. 100% d. Nothing, there’s no such thing as a badly-chosen pipeline barrier.

2. In general, what’s the preferred draw order for opaque geometry in Vulkan? a. Left to Right b. Right to Left c. Top to Bottom d. Bottom to Top e. Front to Back f. Back to Front g. Some other order that isn’t listed here.

3. In terms of texture formats, why is a “Tiled” buffer generally preferred to a “Linear” buffer?

a. Samsung’s Tiling architectures store Tiled buffers on chip. b. Reducing power consumption is more important for mobile devices than protecting bandwidth. c. There’s a bug in the driver. d. Ha!  It’s a trick question!  Tiling isn’t preferred. e. Texture fetches cooperate better with the cache that way.

4. To make sure you were paying attention -- and for two special bonus points -- What animal did Alon reference in his talk, and why?

On the account management side, David Pither spent most of his meal and coffee breaks over the three days having enlightening conversations with both developers and publishers who might benefit from collaborating with Samsung’s Galaxy GameDev group. It was business networking at its best, and we came back with a long list of action items which has kept David busy for weeks. David also set up conversations with folks that we regularly work with like Sega, Croteam, and EA. It’s always good to keep in touch with the big boys of gaming. We now know more about their technology and publishing roadmaps, which means we now know more about how we can help.

My trip home was a bit of a disappointment. Getting home roughly 15 hours late isn’t high on my list of “Fun ways to start a holiday,” but it certainly won’t stop me (and more importantly) Samsung from going back next year. In fact, my enthusiasm levels for the Reboot events are so high that we plan to attend the Reboot Develop Red event in Banff in October. And of course, we’ll be back in Croatia next spring.

Hopefully, we’ll see you there as well! Reboot Blue, and Reboot Red – they’re both firmly in our calendar from here on. Soon we’re going Reboot Purple.

We’re adding a lot more technical info over the coming months, so make sure you revisit the blog soon to learn more about Vulkan.

In the meantime, to keep you going:

Quiz Answers

1: C 2: E 3: E 4: A hedgehog – because Alon’s fellow speaker’s name is “Karlo Jež” and Jež is Croatian for Hedgehog!