2K Announces Game that will Utilize New AMD Mantle Graphics API

2K and Firaxis Games have announced the upcoming release of Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth, a multiplayer science fiction-themed game that is a new addition to the Civilization series of games. Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth will be available for Windows PC, Mac and Linux in fall 2014 (North America) and will be one of the first games to utilize AMD's new Mantle API for enhanced graphics performance.

Beyond Earth

Image Credit: 2K studio / Firaxis Games

The official game website describes Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth as:

"Set in the future, global events have destabilized the world leading to a collapse of modern society, a new world order and an uncertain future for humanity...As part of an expedition sent to find a home beyond Earth, you will write the next chapter for humanity as you lead your people into a new frontier and create a new civilization in space. Explore and colonize an alien planet, research new technologies, amass mighty armies, build incredible Wonders and shape the face of your new world."

The game includes many features for players such as the ability to establish a cultural identity, explore and colonize alien worlds, unearth ancient alien relics, develop cities and create trade routes, and much more.

The upcoming Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth game will utilize the new AMD Mantle API which was designed to improve graphics rendering performance and aims to strike a balance between simplicity and feature enablement. The Mantle API was also designed so that developers would not experience the same limitations that occur with other existing graphics APIs.

ProgrammableWeb reached out to Josh Barczak and John Kloetzli who are Graphics Engineers on the CIV team at Firaxis Games, both answered a few questions about the AMD Mantle API and the Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth game.

Q. Why did the developers of the upcoming Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth decide to optimize the game for the AMD Mantle API and what are the benefits of using the API?

A. Mantle is an extremely powerful graphics API. It works very efficiently at a much lower level than the game engine and has fully parallel draw submission, which lets us spread the work around multiple cores. For a game like Civilization which renders a significant number of things on the screen, this has reduced the cost of a draw call by an order of magnitude. This is an amazing improvement in performance for us.

Q. The AMD Mantle website states that "Mantle makes game development easier." If this is so, how does Mantle and the Mantle API make game development easier for developers?

A. The Mantle API is able to be backed with a much simpler, faster driver. The increased efficiency means that we no longer need to add as much complexity to our rendering pipeline to achieve the required level of performance. Mantle’s simplicity also means that it will probably be more stable over the long run. We anticipate that the bug rate for Mantle to be lower than previous systems we worked with.

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Q. What have you liked best about developing Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth?

A. Mantle’s a pretty significant step forward in graphic APIs, and we’re pleased to have the opportunity to get in there and iterate on the Civilization game engine with this tech. We’ve also had the opportunity to work on the terrain engine to help push the appearance of the alien world helping to align it with the art team’s incredibly cool vision.

For more information about the upcoming Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth game, visit the official website. For more information about the AMD Mantle API, visit the official Mantle site.

By Janet Wagner. Janet is a data journalist and full Stack developer based in Toledo, Ohio. Her focus revolves around APIs, open data, data visualization, and data-driven journalism. Follow her on Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn.

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