The Talos Principle

The Talos Principle

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DEN [CT]  [developer] Feb 16, 2016 @ 7:44am
Talos and Vulkan Q & A

Q: What is this Vulkan, anyway?

A: Vulkan is a great new graphics programming interface that has much less overhead compared to previous APIs like Direct3D 9, 11 or OpenGL.


Q: Oh, so it's like Direct3D 12?

A: Quite like it, but portable, and not restricted to Windows 10 OS.


Q: I see. Like Apple Metal?

A: That too. But again, portable, and not restricted to iOS and OS X.


Q: So, it's like Mantle then?

A: Right again. But portable, not restricted to just one GPU vendor. And Mantle is pretty much gone. It served its purpose to get things started and I think that a lot of Mantle is now incorporated into Vulkan.


Q: Uh! Let's try this one more time. What's Vulkan again?

A: A PORTABLE low-level graphics API, that works across many GPU vendors (NVIDIA, AMD, Intel, Qualcomm, PowerVR...) and OSes (Windows, Linux, Android).


Q: That's better. Now, why was Vulkan support added to Talos?

A: Good question! We (Croteam) firmly believe that Vulkan is really the best low(est)-level API there can be. Fast and portable!
Yes, it has downside(s). For one, it's quite hard to program for. You have to do a lot of things manually, instead of relying on drivers to do the work for you. This is both good and bad at the same time. Good for performance reasons, because driver doesn't assume what game wants to render (I won't go into any more details here, sorry). Bad because there's a lot more coding and in general, it's a more complex approach. You better know what you're doing, because you won't get any help from the driver. You're on your own.
It's really great to have that much control. IF you know what you're doing!


Q: So, we can expect new super-duper graphics effects and more explosions?

A: No, this is graphics _programming_ interface, not effects designer. The Talos Principle will look exactly the same as on other gfx APIs (Direct3D 9 and 11, and OpenGL). At least it should. Otherwise it's a bug! Except if it looks better û then we'll just call it a feature. :)


Q: Why should I try it, or buy it?

A: First, because The Talos Principle is a great game! Believe me - I've played it! :)
On a more serious note, we (Croteam) are kinda expecting your assistance to find bugs and performance issues with different GPUs. We were only able to test the game with a few cards and we would like to know û how does it run on your end?


Q: I'm a beta tester? Again? For free?

A: Well, yes. But only if you want to be. We (Croteam) really need some more assistance from our great community because, well, programming Vulkan is very complex! I'm still not sure if I did everything right. Our entire GPU department was hard at work for three whole months. It's that hard!
Or maybe there's something in the fact that our GPU department is comprised of just one guy. It's me! Hi!


Q: So, OpenGL is dead?

A: No, not at all. For simple games, OpenGL (or Direct3D for that matter) is here to stay; learning curve is not that steep as with Vulkan. However, Vulkan really shines when it comes to reducing application and driver CPU overhead. It is (or will be) much faster than Direct3D 9, 11 and OpenGL!


Q: Then I can expect some great benchmark results?

A: Not so fast! Sorry. :( This is a beta phase, and there's still work to be done from our (Croteam) side and IHVs from driver side. But please be patient: in time, after optimizations are done, Vulkan will be faster, I'm sure.


Q: Really?

A: Let me put it this way: When The Talos Principle came out, it had a very similar frame rate in DirectX 9 vs DX 11. But then we optimized the game, and the drivers were optimized in the meantime, and now D3D11 is 20-30% faster than D3D9! I have a firm belief that this will also happen to Vulkan vs D3D11, over time However, for now you can actually expect lower frame-rate compared to D3D11. C'mon, it's brand new API, give it some time. :)


Q: Cut to the chase, please!

A: Ok, first, in GPU-bound scenarios (ultra settings, resolution higher than full HD), you'll see lower performance, 20 to 30% lower. This is work in progress, and we (both Croteam and IHVs) are analyzing and optimizing the performance. We'll get to the bottom of this!


Q: And CPU-bound scenarios?

A: Same or a bit faster. But for now, those scenarios really have to be super-CPU-bound. Like, rendering whole levels, without any help from visibility system, frustum, distance or occlusion culling.


Q: That bad, a?

A: Well, not that much. At least, this is how I tested when wanted to see what Vulkan can do.


Q: I think I've been patient enough - can I go and benchmark now?

A: Yes, you can. But I repeat - don't have high hopes. At least not for now.


Q: Good, finally. Ok, what do I need?

A: Well, drivers. They should be available from nVidia and AMD. Download, install, run, duck'n'cover. :)


Q: Should I reboot the system after installing drivers?

A: I'm not sure, but better reboot. With Windows, if you're in doubt - reboot!


Q: nVidia, AMD, AMD, nVidia... wait! What about Intel?!

A: Driver should be available soon. We're still trying to test it and make it run well. Or just make it run, for that matter.


Q: That's all?

A: No, you also need to run 64-bit version of The Talos Principle.


Q: Wait, what? No support for 32-bit?

A: No. 64-bit is the future. And present!


Q: Will there be Vulkan support for 32-bit version of the game?

A: Probably not.


Q: How should I...?

A: If you installed driver correctly, there should be "Vulkan (beta)" in graphics API menu under Options->Graphics options. When you select it you'll get a warning message that you'll loose your warranty. Well, not exactly that, but it's kinda message to expect, well, anything!


Q: Anything, ok, anything. Anything...else?

A: Well... the game could crash or lock up here and there. But that's why we have you, folks - to report it, here in forum, attaching log files and info and everything... You know the drill, don't you? ;)


Q: Wait! There's no Vulkan support in my version of The Talos Principle?

A: You should opt-in for public beta.
To install the beta, do this:
- locate the game in the Steam's "Library" panel
- right click and invoke "Properties"
- select the "Betas" tab
- choose "publicbeta"


Q: Almost forgot - what about minimum and recommended specs to run Talos under Vulkan?

A: Oh, yes, you're right - that's important! Here:

OS: Windows 7, 8.1 or 10 (Linux later)
RAM: 8 GB (16 GB just in case)
GPU: latest generation (or one previous gen)
(NV: 770 or better, 960 or better, could work on 600 but haven't tested;
AMD: 7970, 280 or better, 370 or better, Fury)
VRAM: 1 GB (not so sure about this, better have 2 GB at least)
SOUND: doesn't matter, Vulkan is for graphics!


Q: Windows XP?

A: Probably not, sorry.


Q: Vista?

A: HAHAHAHAHHAAAAA!!! No! (Well, I wouldn't be surprise if it actually runs OK under Vista x64, but I'll be definately surprised that you have Vista in the first place!)


Q: Will Vulkan or The Talos Principle break my system?

A: No. I don't think so. Hopefully not. If/when something goes wrong, either the game will crash, or the driver itself. But no BSOD. It shouldn't happen. But don't take my word for it; go ahead - try it for yourselves, try it, go, go... :)


Q: It BSOD my system, you lying little person! What now?

A: Soooory. My bad. No, not mine. Driver's! ;)
For real, if it really BSODs couple of times, don't test anymore. No point.


Q: Oy! Talos freezes after some minutes in game.

A: Let me guess... you have Windows 10 and nVidia graphic card?


Q: Yes.

A: Well, it kinda does that from time to time. We're still investigatin the issue... Sorry again.


Q: Sorry, ok, but what should I do?

A: This could be releated to occlusion culling.


Q: Occlusion what...?

A: Culling. Nevermind, just write these console variables and it should help.
ren_bOcclusionCulling=0
shb_bOcclusionCulling=0
crm_bOcclusionCulling=0
efx_iLensFlareQuality=0
(Game will run a bit slower, though.)

Q: Console? Variables?

A: You're not power user, I'm guessing...?


Q: Well, no.

A: Console can be invoked with F1 or ~ key. And then you can write to set some settings for the game.


Q: Oooo, I see...

A: Good!


Q: I just benchmarked it. FPS is lower than D3D, why?

A: I told you so. In time... good things come to those who wait. :)


Q: Oh, almost forgot - how about Linux version?

A: Soon! It's still in a bit development and more testing needs to be done.


Q: Thank you.

A: No, thank you! In advance! For testing!


Q: Anyone else?

A: Of course! Thanks goes to all great folks at nVidia, AMD, Khronos, LunarG, Valve and RenderDoc!
Without them, I would have one triangle rendered on screen by now. Small triangle. Maybe. With errors. And wrong color. :)

Yours truly,

Dean
Last edited by DEN [CT]; Feb 16, 2016 @ 7:50am
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Showing 511-525 of 554 comments
gibblets Jan 3, 2018 @ 1:55am 
Great updates and communication guys, love the work you're doing. I hope the Vulkan performance keeps up with the DX12 performance, would be great to have at least parity going forward!
mphuZ Jan 3, 2018 @ 10:45am 
Originally posted by DEN CT:
1) XboxOne
I understand why you added support for DX12 in the engine. But why in the PC version? Just to be? :taloslol:
Originally posted by DEN CT:
2) Yes, OpenGL sooner, DX11 later.
Great! This applies to Linux systems (OpenGL)?
Steve0 Jan 3, 2018 @ 11:57am 
bottom line - performance on anything these guys touch is amazing. The rest is gravy. You can pick their brains for why/how they are doing it, but I tend to leave those details up to them.
Wuffyhumps Jan 5, 2018 @ 8:26am 
Originally posted by AlenL:
Originally posted by SUSEd:

This is cool, but you know what's cooler? Half-Life 3 Serious Sam 4. Do you have any info about its upcoming release?
Why do you think we are doing all this - adding those things to the engine, improving stuff, etc - in the first place? :steammocking:

YAY! Exactly how loud are the SS4 AAAAAAAAAAH's at this point, would you say? Q3 loud? Q4 loud? Can't quite tell where they are yet but sounds close so I'm going to get my assault rifle ready anyway loud? Still far in the distance so I'll keep my pistol out loud? ;3
SUSEd Jan 6, 2018 @ 11:07am 
I wonder if 32bit version is gonna be discontinued. Nvidia will deprecate 32bit drivers from version 390.

How much time it takes to build a game from source?
DEN [CT]  [developer] Jan 8, 2018 @ 1:10am 
Yup, we'll go 64-bit only pretty soon.
mphuZ Jan 8, 2018 @ 8:00am 
Originally posted by DEN CT:
Yup, we'll go 64-bit only pretty soon.
It will be a separate build, like Fusion?
The name is already invented?))))
Wuffyhumps Jan 9, 2018 @ 5:26am 
Originally posted by mphuZ:
Originally posted by DEN CT:
Yup, we'll go 64-bit only pretty soon.
It will be a separate build, like Fusion?
The name is already invented?))))

I haven't confirmed this but I assume Croteam is going to do the same thing they did with Serious Sam Fusion 2017 and release the Fusion version as a separate game. They aren't going to take the existing game away from those gamers, some of which may be stuck on OpenGL due to their graphics cards. Otherwise, they'd leave OpenGL in the game like with SS Fusion.
GrandSecgend Jan 9, 2018 @ 5:28am 
Alen already said that Talos 64bit will be only an update.
If there's ever a 'Talos Fusion', it would be of course a separate app.
Last edited by GrandSecgend; Jan 9, 2018 @ 5:28am
gibblets Jan 10, 2018 @ 4:38pm 
They'll probably just leave a stale '32bit opengl' build in the Steam betas list for people on legacy systems rather than make a whole new Fusion product.
DEN [CT]  [developer] Jan 10, 2018 @ 10:56pm 
Yes, Talos will become part of Fusion. (Talos VR already is.)
Then OpenGL goes away. Add Metal for OSX (masOS). Vulkan everywhere else. Also D3D11 on Windows 7/8/10. (And a bit of D3D12 for Win10.;)
64-bit only. But we'll keep legacy versions, of course.
GrandSecgend Jan 11, 2018 @ 12:41am 
Originally posted by AlenL:
Originally posted by GrandSecgend:

Would this be a regular patch, or another stand-alone experience like SS Fusion?
Honestly, it not being yet another stand-alone game would make it so much more convenient, and very welcome.
No standalone for this. The Talos Principle (flat version) that you already have in your library, will get updated to a new version. It will probably be opt-in beta at first, and later it will be default, with the old build as opt-in.
And now you're talking about a Fusion. I'm confused.
Last edited by GrandSecgend; Jan 11, 2018 @ 12:42am
Wuffyhumps Jan 12, 2018 @ 1:52pm 
Originally posted by DEN CT:
Yes, Talos will become part of Fusion. (Talos VR already is.)
Then OpenGL goes away. Add Metal for OSX (masOS). Vulkan everywhere else. Also D3D11 on Windows 7/8/10. (And a bit of D3D12 for Win10.;)
64-bit only. But we'll keep legacy versions, of course.

So Talos Fusion will be a separate Steam Store page/game just like the VR versions are? I assumed as much but just clarifying. :3
AlenL Jan 14, 2018 @ 9:24am 
There will not be a separate appid for the new Talos, because there's no need for one. Sam Fusion is made that way to be able to unify the 3 separate apps into one. (*)
Talos will just be an update over the current app. For those who absolutely need the old version (for OpenGL, DX9, 32bit version, etc), there will be a "legacy" beta branch. Just like the one already available for the old OSX version.

(*) Even for Sam, we'd like to make the Fusion integration smoother than it is now. Hopefully we'd be able to make it so that you can just run any of the 3 games, and the Fusion is ran automatically behind the curtains. It is quite involved, because it goes way beyond what Steam was supposed to do, but we'll try.
Spleen Jan 14, 2018 @ 9:43am 
Amazing!
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