As you may have seen, our latest PowerVR Tools and SDK release (2017 R2) is now available, and it includes some quite significant changes. One of the areas we’ve been working on is our documentation, with several improvements to which we would love to draw your attention.
PowerVR Hidden Surface Removal (HSR) from “PowerVR Hardware Architecture Overview for Developers”
We’ve taken the time to revisit some of our more important documents as well. Not only have we made sure they are all up-to-date, but we’ve also added a wealth of new information too.
PowerVR’s golden rules
The PowerVR Golden Rules document is as it sounds – the ten most fundamental points you should consider when you optimise your applications. It is essentially the bible for PowerVR development and an absolute must-read for every graphics developer.
PowerVR performance recommendations
The highly detailed PowerVR Performance Recommendations document goes further than the Golden Rules, diving into more specific situations. This updated version now introduces subjects such as:
- Pixel Local Storage (PLS) extensions
- Optimal formats for High Dynamic Range (HDR)
- Optimal usage of popular graphics techniques (such as deferred lighting, SSR, SSAO) on PowerVR hardware
- Optimal usage of Vulkan API on PowerVR
PowerVR Framework development guide
The PowerVR Framework Development Guide has also been rewritten, as the Framework itself has been completely redesigned to support Vulkan in a much more streamlined way. If you want to find out more about the new PowerVR Framework 5.0, then check out our previously published blog post.
We now offer a PowerVR Low-Level GLSL Optimisation manual. This covers everything you need to know in order to optimise GLSL code for the PowerVR Rogue architecture, including subjects such as:
- transcendental functions, such as Sin/Cos/Log etc.
- intrinsic functions, such as mixed scalar/vector math
- FP16 overview
- low-level optimisations (as advertised!)
These optimisations are very useful in squeezing out every last bit of performance boost from the hardware and are a must-read for GLSL developers.
Our most noticeable change is our shift to HTML documentation for all the PowerVR Tools manuals. This will make reading the manuals easier, as HTML is far better set up for on-screen viewing and interactivity than our previous PDF-based manuals. The HTML provides a side navigation bar as well, which greatly improves navigation and cross-referencing. In most cases, it will feel much quicker to browse.
You can access the new manual format from the “Help” menu (or F1) in each tool, and it will launch in your default browser.
As always, we’ve updated the entire documentation set to reflect all the changes for our 2017 R2 release. We have a wealth of detailed documentation available online, covering not just the documentation mentioned above, but also topics such as:
- Hardware architecture and instruction set references. These include:
- PowerVR Hardware Architecture Overview for Developers, which includes a full explanation of Tile Based Deferred Rendering (TBDR) and detailed descriptions of our architecture
- PowerVR Instruction Set Reference, vital for low-level developers
- Useful compute development recommendations
- Whitepapers such as navigation rendering techniques and PowerVR texture compressions (PVRTC)
- Format specifications such as PVR and POD, and details on supported extensions
- Quick start guides for PVRTrace and PVRTune on Android
Our documentation is invaluable for all developers using PowerVR. It’s worth a read no matter what your experience is, as there are documents aimed at every level, and there will almost certainly be something new to learn.