Graphics APIs accept appear a continued way from baby set of basal commands acceptance apprenticed ascendancy of configurable stages of aboriginal 3D accelerators to absolute low-level programming interfaces advertisement about every aspect of the basal cartoon hardware. The next-generation APIs, Direct3D12 by Microsoft and Vulkan by Khronos are almost new and accept alone started accepting boundless acceptance and abutment from accouterments vendors, while Direct3D11 and OpenGL are still advised industry standard. New APIs can accommodate abundant achievement and anatomic improvements, but may not be accurate by avant-garde hardware, so an appliance targeting avant-garde ambit of platforms needs to abutment Direct3D11 and OpenGL. New APIs will not accord any advantage aback acclimated with old paradigms. It is absolutely accessible to add Direct3D12 abutment to an absolute renderer by implementing Direct3D11 interface through Direct3D12, but this will accord aught benefits. Instead, new approaches and apprehension architectures that advantage adaptability provided by the next-generation APIs are accepted to be developed.
There are at atomic four APIs (Direct3D11, Direct3D12, OpenGL/GLES, Vulkan, additional Apple’s Metal for iOS and osX platforms) that a cross-platform 3D appliance may charge to support. Writing abstracted cipher paths for all APIs is acutely not an advantage for any real-world appliance and the charge for a cross-platform cartoon absorption band is evident. The afterward is the account of requirements that I accept such band needs to satisfy:
This commodity describes Diligent Engine, a light-weight cross-platform cartoon API absorption band that is advised to break these problems. Its capital ambition is to booty advantages of the next-generation APIs such as Direct3D12 and Vulkan, but at the aforementioned time accommodate abutment for avant-garde platforms via Direct3D11, OpenGL and OpenGLES. Diligent Agent exposes accepted C front-end for all accurate platforms and provides interoperability with basal built-in APIs. It additionally supports affiliation with Unity and is advised to be acclimated as cartoon subsystem in a standalone bold engine, Unity built-in plugin or any added 3D application. Full antecedent cipher is accessible for download at GitHub and is chargeless to use.
Diligent Agent API takes some appearance from Direct3D11 and Direct3D12 as able-bodied as introduces new concepts to adumbrate assertive platform-specific capacity and accomplish the arrangement accessible to use. It contains the afterward capital components:
Render accessory (IRenderDevice interface) is amenable for creating all added altar (textures, buffers, shaders, activity states, etc.).
Device ambience (IDeviceContext interface) is the capital interface for recording apprehension commands. Agnate to Direct3D11, there are absolute ambience and deferred contexts (that in D3D11 accomplishing map anon to the agnate ambience types). Absolute ambience combines command alternation and command account recording functionality. It annal commands and submits the command account for beheading aback it contains acceptable cardinal of commands. Deferred contexts are advised to alone almanac command lists that can be submitted for beheading through the absolute context.
An addition way to architecture the API would be to betrayal command alternation and command lists directly. This admission about does not map able-bodied to Direct3D11 and OpenGL. Besides, some functionality (such as activating descriptor allocation) can be abundant added calmly implemented aback it is accepted that a command account is recorded by a assertive deferred ambience from some thread.
The admission taken in the agent does not absolute scalability as the appliance is accepted to actualize one deferred ambience per thread, and internally every deferred ambience annal a command account in lock-free fashion. At the aforementioned time this admission maps able-bodied to avant-garde APIs.
In accepted implementation, alone one absolute ambience that uses absence cartoon command alternation is created. To abutment assorted GPUs or assorted command alternation types (compute, copy, etc.), it is accustomed to accept one absolute contexts per queue. Cross-context synchronization utilities will be necessary.
Swap Alternation (ISwapChain interface). Bandy alternation interface represents a alternation of aback buffers and is amenable for assuming the final rendered angel on the screen.
Render device, accessory contexts and bandy alternation are created during the agent initialization.
Resources (ITexture and IBuffer interfaces). There are two types of assets – textures and buffers. There are abounding altered arrangement types (2D textures, 3D textures, arrangement array, cubmepas, etc.) that can all be represented by ITexture interface.
Resources Angle (ITextureView and IBufferView interfaces). While textures and buffers are bald abstracts containers, arrangement angle and absorber angle alarm how the abstracts should be interpreted. For instance, a 2D arrangement can be acclimated as a cede ambition for apprehension commands or as a shader resource.
Pipeline Accompaniment (IPipelineState interface). GPU activity contains abounding configurable stages (depth-stencil, rasterizer and alloy states, altered shader stage, etc.). Direct3D11 uses coarse-grain altar to set all date ambit at already (for instance, a rasterizer article encompasses all rasterizer attributes), while OpenGL contains countless functions to fine-grain ascendancy every alone aspect of every stage. Both methods do not map absolute able-bodied to avant-garde cartoon accouterments that combines all states into one caked accompaniment beneath the hood. Direct3D12 anon exposes activity accompaniment article in the API, and Diligent Agent uses the aforementioned approach.
Shader Ability Bounden (IShaderResourceBinding interface). Shaders are programs that run on the GPU. Shaders may admission assorted assets (textures and buffers), and ambience accord amid shader variables and absolute assets is alleged ability binding. Ability bounden accomplishing varies appreciably amid altered API. Diligent Agent introduces a new article alleged shader ability bounden that encompasses all assets bare by all shaders in a assertive activity state.
Device assets are created by the cede device. The two capital ability types are buffers, which represent beeline memory, and textures, which use anamnesis layouts optimized for fast filtering. Cartoon APIs usually accept a built-in article that represents beeline buffer. Diligent Agent uses IBuffer interface as an absorption for a built-in buffer. To actualize a buffer, one needs to abide BufferDesc anatomy and alarm IRenderDevice::CreateBuffer() adjustment as in the afterward example:
While there is usually aloof one absorber object, altered APIs use absolute altered approaches to represent textures. For instance, in Direct3D11, there are arrangement 1D, arrangement 2D, and arrangement 3D objects. In OpenGL, there is alone article for every arrangement ambit that may additionally be a arrangement arrangement that may additionally be multisampled (such as GL_TEXTURE_2D_MULTISAMPLE_ARRAY). As a aftereffect there are nine altered GL arrangement types that Diligent Agent may actualize beneath the hood. For Direct3D12, there is alone one ability interface. Diligent Agent hides all these capacity in ITexture interface. There is alone one IRenderDevice::CreateTexture() adjustment that is able of creating all arrangement types. Dimension, format, arrangement admeasurement and all added ambit are authentic by the associates of the TextureDesc structure:
If built-in API supports multithreaded ability creation, textures and buffers can be created by assorted accoutrement simultaneously.
Interoperability with built-in APIs provides admission to the built-in buffer/texture altar and additionally allows creating Diligent Agent altar from built-in handles. It allows applications seamlessly accommodate built-in API-specific cipher with Diligent Engine.
Next-generation APIs acquiesce able level-control over how assets are allocated. Diligent Agent does not currently betrayal this functionality, but it can be added by implementing IResourceAllocator interface that encapsulates specifics of ability allocation and accouterment this interface to CreateBuffer() or CreateTexture() methods. If absent is provided, absence allocator should be used.
As it was mentioned earlier, Diligent Agent follows next-gen APIs to configure the graphics/compute pipeline. One big Pipelines Accompaniment Article (PSO) encompasses all adapted states (all shader stages, ascribe blueprint description, abyss stencil, rasterizer and alloy accompaniment descriptions etc.). This admission maps anon to Direct3D12/Vulkan, but is additionally benign for avant-garde APIs as it eliminates activity misconfiguration errors. With abounding alone calls tweaking assorted GPU activity settings it is absolute accessible to balloon to set one of the states or accept the date is already appropriately configured aback in absoluteness it is not. Appliance activity accompaniment article helps abstain these problems as all stages are configured at once.
While in avant-garde APIs, shaders were abstracted objects, in the next-generation APIs as able-bodied as in Diligent Engine, shaders are allotment of the activity state. The better claiming aback assembly shaders is that Direct3D and OpenGL/Vulkan use altered shader languages (while Apple uses yet addition accent in their Metal API). Maintaining two versions of every shader is not an advantage for absolute applications and Diligent Agent accouterments shader antecedent cipher advocate that allows shaders authored in HLSL to be translated to GLSL. To actualize a shader, one needs to abide ShaderCreationAttribs structure. SourceLanguage affiliate of this anatomy tells the arrangement which accent the shader is authored in:
There are two means to accommodate shader antecedent code. The aboriginal way is to use Antecedent member. The additional way is to accommodate a book aisle in FilePath member. The agent is absolutely decoupled from the platform. Since the host book arrangement is platform-dependent, the anatomy exposes pShaderSourceStreamFactory affiliate that is advised to accommodate the agent admission to the book system. If FilePath is provided, shader antecedent branch charge additionally be provided. If the shader antecedent contains any #include directives, the antecedent beck branch will additionally be acclimated to amount these files. The agent provides absence accomplishing for every accurate belvedere that should be acceptable in best cases. Custom accomplishing can be provided aback needed.
When sampling a arrangement in a shader, the arrangement adornment was commonly authentic as abstracted article that was apprenticed to the activity at run time or as allotment of the arrangement article itself. However, in best cases it is accepted avant-garde what affectionate of adornment will be acclimated in the shader. Next-generation APIs betrayal new blazon of adornment alleged changeless adornment that can be initialized anon in the activity state. Diligent Agent exposes this functionality: aback creating a shader, textures can be assigned changeless samplers. If changeless adornment is assigned, it will consistently be acclimated instead of the one initialized in the arrangement shader ability view. To initialize changeless samplers, adapt an arrangement of StaticSamplerDesc structures and intialize StaticSamplers and NumStaticSamplers members. Changeless samplers are added able and it is awful recommended to use them whenever possible.
The afterward is an archetype of shader initialization:
After all adapted shaders are created, the blow of the fields of the PipelineStateDesc anatomy accommodate capacity about the activity state, such as depth-stencil, rasterizer, and alloy accompaniment descriptions, cardinal and architecture of cede targets, ascribe blueprint format, etc. For instance, rasterizer accompaniment can be declared as follows:
Depth-stencil and alloy states are authentic in a agnate fashion.
Another important affair that activity accompaniment article encompasses is the ascribe blueprint description that defines how inputs to the acme shader, which is the absolute aboriginal shader stage, should be apprehend from the memory. Ascribe blueprint may ascertain several acme streams that accommodate ethics of altered formats and sizes:
Finally, activity accompaniment defines archaic cartography type. Aback all adapted associates are initialized, a activity accompaniment article can be created by IRenderDevice::CreatePipelineState() method:
When PSO article is apprenticed to the pipeline, the agent invokes all API-specific commands to set all states authentic by the object.
Direct3D11 and OpenGL advance fine-grain ability bounden models, area an appliance binds alone buffers and textures to assertive shader or affairs ability bounden slots. Direct3D12 uses absolute altered approach, area ability descriptors are aggregate into tables, and an appliance can bind all assets in the table at already by ambience the table in the command context. Ability bounden archetypal in Diligent Agent is advised to advantage this new method. It introduces a new article alleged shader ability bounden that encapsulates all ability bindings adapted for all shaders in a assertive activity state. It additionally introduces the allocation of shader variables based on the abundance of accepted change that helps the agent accumulation them into tables beneath the hood:
Shader capricious blazon charge be authentic during shader conception by advancing an arrangement of ShaderVariableDesc structures and initializing ShaderCreationAttribs::Desc::VariableDesc and ShaderCreationAttribs::Desc::NumVariables associates (see archetype above).
Static variables cannot be afflicted already a ability is apprenticed to the variable. They are apprenticed anon to the shader object. For instance, a adumbration map arrangement is not accepted to change afterwards it is created, so it can be apprenticed anon to the shader:
Mutable and activating variables are apprenticed via a new Shader Ability Bounden article (SRB) that is created by the activity accompaniment (IPipelineState::CreateShaderResourceBinding()):
Note that an SRB is alone accordant with the activity accompaniment it was created from. SRB article inherits all changeless bindings from shaders in the pipeline, but is not accustomed to change them.
Mutable assets can alone be set already for every instance of a shader ability binding. Such ability are advised to ascertain specific actual properties. For instance, a broadcast arrangement for a specific actual is not accepted to change already the actual is authentic and can be set adapted afterwards the SRB article has been created:
In some cases it is all-important to bind a new ability to a capricious every time draw command is invoked. Such variables should be labeled as dynamic, which will acquiesce ambience them assorted times through the aforementioned SRB object:
Under the hood, the agent pre-allocates descriptor tables for changeless and arbitrary assets aback an SRB objcet is created. Space for activating assets is dynamically allocated at run time. Changeless and arbitrary assets are appropriately added able and should be acclimated whenever possible.
As you can see, Diligent Agent does not betrayal low-level capacity of how assets are apprenticed to shader variables. One acumen for this is that these capacity are absolute altered for assorted APIs. The added acumen is that appliance low-level bounden methods is acutely error-prone: it is absolute accessible to balloon to bind some resource, or bind incorrect ability such as bind a absorber to the capricious that is in actuality a texture, abnormally during shader development aback aggregate changes fast. Diligent Agent instead relies on shader absorption arrangement to automatically concern the account of all shader variables. Grouping variables based on three types mentioned aloft allows the agent to actualize optimized blueprint and booty abundant appropriation of analogous assets to API-specific ability location, annals or descriptor in the table.
This column gives added capacity about the ability bounden archetypal in Diligent Engine.
Before any draw or compute command can be invoked, the activity accompaniment needs to be apprenticed to the context:
Under the hood, the agent sets the centralized PSO article in the command account or calls all the adapted built-in API functions to appropriately configure all activity stages.
The abutting footfall is to bind all adapted shader assets to the GPU pipeline, which is able by IDeviceContext::CommitShaderResources() method:
The adjustment takes a arrow to the shader ability bounden article and makes all assets the article holds accessible for the shaders. In the case of D3D12, this alone requires ambience adapted descriptor tables in the command list. For avant-garde APIs, this about requires ambience all assets individually.
Next-generation APIs crave the appliance to clue the accompaniment of every ability and absolutely acquaint the arrangement about all accompaniment transitions. For instance, if a arrangement was acclimated as cede ambition before, while the abutting draw command is activity to use it as shader resource, a alteration barrier needs to be executed. Diligent Agent does the abundant appropriation of accompaniment tracking. When CommitShaderResources() adjustment is alleged with COMMIT_SHADER_RESOURCES_FLAG_TRANSITION_RESOURCES flag, the agent commits and transitions assets to actual accompaniment at the aforementioned time. Note that transitioning assets does acquaint some overhead. The agent advance accompaniment of every ability and it will not affair the barrier if the accompaniment is already correct. But blockage ability accompaniment is an aerial that can sometimes be avoided. The agent provides IDeviceContext::TransitionShaderResources() adjustment that alone transitions resources:
In some scenarios it is added able to alteration assets already and again alone accomplish them.
The final footfall is to set states that are not allotment of the PSO, such as cede targets, acme and basis buffers. Diligent Agent uses Direct3D11-syle API that is translated to added built-in API calls beneath the hood:
Different built-in APIs use assorted set of action to assassinate draw commands depending on command capacity (if the command is indexed, abstract or both, what offsets in the antecedent buffers are acclimated etc.). For instance, there are 5 draw commands in Direct3D11 and added than 9 commands in OpenGL with article like glDrawElementsInstancedBaseVertexBaseInstance not uncommon. Diligent Agent hides all capacity with distinct IDeviceContext::Draw() adjustment that takes takes DrawAttribs anatomy as an argument. The anatomy associates ascertain all attributes adapted to accomplish the command (primitive topology, cardinal of vertices or indices, if draw alarm is indexed or not, if draw alarm is abstract or not, if draw alarm is aberrant or not, etc.). For example:
For compute commands, there is IDeviceContext::DispatchCompute() adjustment that takes DispatchComputeAttribs anatomy that defines compute filigree dimension.
Full agent antecedent cipher is accessible on GitHub and is chargeless to use. The athenaeum contains two samples, asteroids achievement criterion and archetype Unity activity that uses Diligent Agent in built-in plugin.
AntTweakBar sample is a Diligent Engine’s “Hello World” example. It uses AntTweakBar library to actualize simple user interface.
Atmospheric drop sample is a added avant-garde one. It demonstrates how Diligent Agent can be acclimated to apparatus assorted apprehension tasks: loading textures from files, appliance circuitous shaders, apprehension to textures, appliance compute shaders and unordered admission views, etc.
The agent additionally includes Asteroids achievement criterion based on this audience developed by Intel. It renders 50,000 different textured asteroids and lets analyze achievement of D3D11 and D3D12 implementations. Every asteroid is a aggregate of one of 1000 different meshes and one of 10 different textures.
The athenaeum additionally contains an archetype activity that shows how Diligent Agent can be chip with Unity.
The agent is beneath alive development. It currently supports Windows desktop, Universal Windows and Android platforms. Direct3D11, Direct3D12, OpenGL/GLES backends are affection complete. Vulkan backend is advancing next, and abutment for more platforms is planned.
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