A New Era of Gaming

With the release of the Samsung Galaxy S7 and S7 Edge at the Mobile World Congress 2016, the smartphone ticks yet another box in its "what-else-to-make-obsolete" list.

Powered by Unreal Engine 4 using the Vulkan API, Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney demoed ProtoStar, a tech demo on Samsung's latest smartphone upgrades.

“The new industry-standard Vulkan API brings key elements of high-end console graphics technology to mobile devices, and Samsung is leading the way with the amazing new Galaxy S7,” said Sweeney “As the first engine supporting Vulkan, Unreal Engine 4 provides a solid foundation for developers joining in the mobile graphics revolution.”

What to expect from Unreal Engine 4

As we've previously covered, the possibilities offered by the Unreal Engine 4 in terms of rendering graphics is just exactly that, unreal.

According to Epic Games, new features of Unreal Engine 4 on mobile as demoed in ProtoStar include

  • Dynamic planar reflections (high-quality reflections for dynamic objects)
  • Full GPU particle support on mobile, including vector fields
  • Temporal anti-aliasing (TAA)
  • High-quality ASTC texture compression
  • Full scene dynamic cascaded shadows
  • Chromatic aberration
  • Mobile dynamic light refraction
  • Filmic tonemapping curve
  • Improved mobile static reflections
  • High-quality mobile depth of field
  • Vulkan API support with thousands of dynamic objects onscreen

What to expect from Vulkan

In a blog post by NVIDIA and Khronos Group president, Neil Trevett, he described Vulkan as "the new generation, open-standard API for high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs."

Which basically means that this open source API can render objects four times faster than in OpenGL, enabling high-end graphics with low power consumption by eliminating expensive driver operations. Vulkan also provides cross-platform access to modern GPUs used in a wide variety of devices from PCs and consoles to mobile phones and embedded platforms.

"The idea behind Vulkan is a really, really robust increase in CPU performance. That allows us to render many, many more objects on the screen of the mobile device than we could in the past," says Wyeth Johnson, Lead Technical Artist at Epic Games "When we think about higher levels of interactivity, more dynamic moving objects, more things on screen that are not static – that are actually reactive to the touch and to the viewer, that was the capability of the device that we were certain above all else we needed to take advantage of."

But what makes the Vulkan API even more interesting is "Google’s decision to implement Vulkan as the reference graphics and compute interface for the future releases of Android operating system."

Which can only mean that high-end gaming consoles will be the next casualty in the smartphone takeover.

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