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Unity Supporting Vulkan For Oculus Quest

By Ajay Kumar | February 4, 2020
unity for oculus quest

The brew between Unity supporting Vulkan for Oculus Quest has brought good news for Gaming developers. 

Unity Game Engine that powers the maximum number of Oculus Store apps now supports Vulkan Graphics API with Oculus Quest. A continuous practice that is also strengthening unity app development for the people with mobile app gaming ideas.

Coming back to Vulkan- a successor to OpenGL, is an industry-standard graphics API that has been in use for over two decades. On the other hand, OpenGL which is managed and controlled by an open industry is somewhat similar to DirectX up to version 11 and is cross-platform.

Moving on, Vulkan is a “Low Level” graphics API, a little like Metal for Apple Hardware and DX12 for Windows. The APIs are the blessing in disguise for developers to get more direct access to the hardware, unlike the previous graphics APIs. These APIs move many tasks directly from the GPU driver to the gaming engine. 

Vulkan’s Specifications

Vulkan is made to take multi-core CPU advantage, something which was not a relevant factor during the time of OpenGL creation. Furthermore, the Oculus Quest got four mail CPU cores, in which three are dedicated to games. 

The version Unity 2019.3 supports Vulkan on Quest but the current Oculus Integration for Unity does not do the same. 

It is happening due to a check whether Vulkan is perfectly enabled or not, which can be further bypassed by commenting it out. 

Vulkan’s Benefits

  1. Due to Vulkan’s lower-level access to the hardware, there will be less driver overhead meant for draw calls. This process states that a number of draw calls can be made to each frame. The ease would result in less usage of CPU power and energy. 
  2. Furthermore, due to the lower-level access to the hardware, Vulkan could enable Quest developers to provide more detailed scenes. Along with the detailed scenes, developers can also use larger draw distances along with leftover CPU power for Physics or increase the battery life of the existing fidelity content. 
  3. Vulkan is also expected to render faster initial loading times. 
  4. A claim by Facebook states that Vulkan provides HDR rendering on mobile– something useful for future headsets. 

Vulkan’s Performance

  1. Till now, there is no revealing of benchmarks set for a production Oculus Quest Unity app of OpenGL vs Vulkan performance. 
  2. Meanwhile, another claim by the company Unity states that Vulkan got a 35% improvement in performance for regular Android games
  3. Unreal Engine, one of the edge to edge competitors of Unity has already added support for Vulkan on Quest last year in August. 
  4. Moving on, yet another claim by Facebook regarding Unity’s Quest Vulkan states that on Epic’s Sun Temple engine sample, Vulkan has reduced frame times from 16ms to 13ms. A rough 20% improvement has been noticed.
  5. Although, Vulkan got a long way to fall perfectly on gaming parameters, as “unity now supports Vulkan” the rule might get a little extreme. 

With the passage of time, the increase in Vulkan’s performance and improvement can be traced for further updates. 

Ajay Kumar

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