Metal is the Apple’s new gaming platform debuted in iOS8. Introduced at WWDC 2014, Metal focuses on providing the bare-metal compute power of the GPU to applications. It does so by leveraging the hardware accelerated rendering, plus parallel computation across multiple processing units. Essentially it combines the functionality similar to OpenGL and OpenCL which means dramatic reduction in performance and computational overheads.
Metal achieves its superior performance through
- Precomputed shaders and up-front state validation
- Explicit synchronization between GPU and CPU
- Shared memory space between GPU and CPU
- Lower driver overhead
Here’s the Metal intro video at WWDC.
Compare the de facto 3D gaming platform OpenGL and the new Metal in some typical racing games. Notice the difference in shading, rich details and particle physics (those rain drops).