It has been about half a year since the low-level graphics API, Vulkan, was released in February. Since then, it has been included in various projects including DOTA 2. The latest project which will use Vulkan will be libretro API which emulates various consoles. In the new version of libretro, Nintendo 64 games will work at near full speed, which has proved difficult to do so until now.
The team behind the libretro API says that a switch from High-Level Emulation of RDP to Vulkan will “be the first time most will be able to get anywhere close to playable speeds with an accuracy-based N64 video renderer.”
The libretro maintainers say the renderer is unique for several reasons:
- This is the first N64 emulator project ever so far to receive Vulkan support.
- This is the first time ever that an emulator takes advantage of asynchronous compute (exclusive only to DirectX12/Vulkan) for hardware rasterization of an emulated GPU.
- This is the first time ever that the Angrylion renderer has been ported to a graphics API. It is the first time an RDP LLE video renderer for N64 has been capable of running at full speed. It marks a shift away from decades of inaccurate high-level emulation of the N64's RDP which made for buggy N64 emulation in general.
The new version of libretro will be released in the coming days, but to use it, you'll need the latest RetroArch version (upcoming 1.3.5 version), and a video card that supports the Vulkan graphics API. When RetroArch 1.3.5 has been released, go to Online Updater > Core Updater > Experimental, and download Mupen64plus HW. This downloads the Vulkan-enabled Mupen64plus core.
Update: libretro 1.3.6 was released today, more information can be found on the libretro blog.