Although AMD has a noticeable influence in console gaming with the Xbox One and PS4 both using its technology, the firm’s PC hardware is in an awkward spot because of colliding heads with a giant like Nvidia.
It doesn’t help that Nvidia’s GameWorks software is fairly popular, and many games have started to use the technology to power complex effected in PC games like realistic hair animations, water effects, shadows, and more.
AMD did offer its own variation in the form of TressFX, but its limitations prevents many developers from doing extra work to incorporate it alongside some of Nvidia’s more versatile options available through GameWorks.
In order to tackle this issue, AMD today announced GPUOpen. GPUOpen is a comparable set of tools to GameWorks, but with one noticeable difference: it is open source.
GPUOpen will be published in January, and AMD will use the permissive MIT license, allowing GPUOpen code to be used without any real restriction in all kinds of applications. The code will be published on GitHub.
Making GPUOpen open source should make AMD’s library more appealing to developers. The likes of TressFX and GameWorks are restricted (not open source), which often forces developers to optimize their games for one brand of GPUs more than the other.
AMD is hoping to kill this hassle, and allow developers to use their open source library to optimize their games for both set of GPUs.
While this may seem like AMD yielding to its more influential counter-part, in reality it’s the developers who are the winners with this move. Nvidia’s GameWorks library is constantly being updated, and it so often happens that the codes developers are debugging will run differently on end-user systems because their code has quickly become obsolete.
GPUOpen attempts to slay this issue and give total control to developers, who won’t need to integrate multiple libraries, nor leave either one of the GPU vendors at a performance/visual disadvantage.
GPUOpen will also contain a set of SDKs such as a AMD’s FireRender engine, ray tracing SDK, and its RapidFire cloud SDK. It will also include the AMD CodeXL debuggers and performance profiler.