The developer of X-Plane, Laminar Research has been working hard to deliver major upgrades to integrate the Vulkan Application Programming Interface.
Laminar Research has taken to their Facebook page to show two comparable graphs that detail the performance differences in terms of FPS that the new Vulkan system will bring to X-Plane.
OpenGL in simple terms is a way of rendering 2D and 3D graphics on your PC which communicates with your GPU to enable hardware-accelerated rendering. Typically, OpenGL is considered old technology which dates back to the 1980s. Obviously, it has seen some upgrades but developers, including Laminar Research, are moving over to newer APIs such as Vulkan and Metal.
Vulkan has been built from the ground up to take advantage of today’s technology and enable it to progress over time alongside future hardware and software developments.
Laminar Research has been implementing some Vulkan based processes over the past few months which increase with each update released.
The graphs below show the performance of two setups with the original OpenGL API versus the new Vulkan API. The setups are described as having moderate cards, the AMD (red graph) shows X-Plane using the high preset mode with reflections enabled and the Nvidia (green graph) is using extreme quality preset in the sim with realtime reflections.
The greatest impact Vulkan has it seems is on the AMD setup, with an average FPS growth of around 30FPS. Whereas, the Nvidia shows an average FPS growth of around 15/20 FPS. Laminar Research also made comments that Vulkan makes a huge difference to VR flight and mentioned that using Vulkan to render the graphics makes flying in VR ‘buttery smooth’.
It is worth noting that this performance has been achieved using X-Plane 11.40b5 which would suggest that the team are looking at implementing these changes very soon.
We will endeavour to bring you any further updates to X-Plane and Vulkan when they happen.