We are delighted to announce the 2017 Release 2 of our PowerVR SDK and Tools. This is one of our more externally significant releases for our Framework, as there have been some major changes that we are sure many of you are going to appreciate. While our last release focused more on internal improvements, this time around there are a lot of very visible changes that will only make things a developer’s life better.
Let’s take you through some of them…
PowerVR SDK Framework 5.0
Our SDK Framework has always been aimed at making developing for PowerVR as easy as possible. With version 5.0, developing for PowerVR is still easy, but our direction has changed. Here’s how:
- Our previous 4.x Framework was focused on providing a unified interface between OpenGL ES and Vulkan. However, the Vulkan API is all about empowering the developer, and so we are now focusing on Vulkan. As a result, the interface is now a lot more streamlined and the developer will find they have greater control.
- We also felt that a Vulkan style interface on top of OpenGL ES has served its purpose and was no longer necessary, as the OpenGL ES SDK should really be a learning aid for the OpenGL ES API.
- We’ve made sure to leave the useful utilities and wrappers for both OpenGL ES and Vulkan.
It does mean the new Framework is not backwards compatible but in the case of Vulkan, you’ll be actually working with Vulkan rather than working with a framework based on Vulkan. Don’t forget, our SDK is open source under the MIT license.
Here’s how the new PowerVR SDK Framework 5.0 looks
If you want to find out more about our new Framework, we’ve got a blog post all about version 5.0 coming up in the near future – watch this space!
We’ve been working hard on some very useful updates for our tools and here are just some of the improvements we’ve made:
- PVRGeoPOD now supports 3ds Max 2018 and Maya 2018.
- PVRShaderEditor has added a tool to save compiler binary outputs, and together with PVRShaman, has updated and unified compilers for the PowerVR Rogue architectures. All variant families now share a single executable binary.
- PVRTrace Recorder and PVRTrace Playback now support Android’s gralloc1 interface for EGLClientBuffer data.
- PVRGeoPOD has added support for custom normals in Blender, and added support for exporting procedural textures as PVR files in 3ds Max.
- The CPU core description can now be sent by PVRPerfServer and shown by PVRTune. We also now track the maximum frequency, current frequency, and the current frequency limit. This enables us to consider the CPU clock speed in order to calculate a true CPU Load per cent, rather than CPU Active per cent.
… and it goes without saying there are the usual bunch of bug fixes and improvements throughout.
We’ve also been extremely busy with the documentation and support departments. To begin with, all the user manuals for the tools have now been converted into HTML, which means they’re a lot easier to browse than the PDFs we had before. They will also be appearing on the website in due course.
We’ve also written or made major updates and improvements to many of our documents, these include:
- The PowerVR Performance Recommendations document has had some major additions and changes. As a result, we’ve completely reworked the related Golden Rules, which has our most important recommendations. The Golden Rules remains an absolute must read for any PowerVR developer.
- We’ve made some big changes to the PowerVR Hardware Architecture Overview for Developers, the Instruction-Set Reference and the Supported Extensions documents too.
- We’ve written a new document on PowerVR Low-Level GLSL Optimisation.
- The PowerVR Framework document has been changed significantly to reflect the major new changes.
And a final note – we’ll be releasing a series of blog posts over the coming weeks, going into more detail about the features of 2017 Release 2 as well as some handy guides covering topics such as Vulkan, optimisations and so on so make sure to check back regularly! You can also follow me directly on Twitter @rajones_devtech and Imagination @ImaginationTech and on LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+.