Vulkan and Metal are two popular buzzwords right now in the flight simulation space. With the promise of huge enhancements and performance improvements to platforms, it’s no wonder why the community are eager to see what the new technology will bring. Mobile flight simulator, Infinite Flight, is the simulator to confirm that development of integrating the technology is well underway. This huge development process is being titled Project Metal.
In a blog post via their website, backstory and what users can expect was shared. Currently, Infinite Flight uses OpenGL ES to run the engine behind the simulator. Whilst it has served the platform well for years, Apple now recommends using Metal. This recommendation means that there’s no telling for how long Apple will continue to support OpenGL ES, meaning that Infinite Flight must now develop using new technology or face future issues. This also means that Android users will also see an overhaul under-the-hood for their version to run with Vulkan.
“The only way for us to move forward is to overhaul our rendering backend to be able to take advantage of the newer graphics APIs (Metal on iOS and Vulkan on Android),” the blog post said.
The complex task requires a lot of work from the team without much immediate visual benefit to the user. However, as we’ve come to learn from Laminar Research’s updates, performance is where the true benefit of Vulkan/Metal lies. This improved performance means less processing overhead is required and means the developers can implement some new features. For example, dynamic lighting, improved aircraft shading and volumetric effects will all be possible thanks to harnessing additional resources from user’s devices.
It’s important to note that whilst the development of Project Metal is going, other work is still very much happening. Work on the previously announced B777-200 is moving along, along with the implementation of clouds.
You can read more about Project Metal on the Infinite Flight blog post.