We first brought you news back in March 2015 of Vulkan, an upcoming 3D graphics API that Valve and Khronos were jointly working on. It was formerly known as "Next Generation OpenGL" and aimed to be a competitor and alternative to DirectX 12.

Today, the 1.0 release for Vulkan is now available.

The Khronos™ Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, announces the immediate availability of the Vulkan™ 1.0 royalty-free, open standard API specification. Vulkan provides high-efficiency, cross-platform access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs used in a wide variety of devices from PCs and consoles to mobile phones and embedded platforms. This ground-up design, complementing the OpenGL® and OpenGL ES™ 3D APIs, provides applications direct control over GPU acceleration for maximized performance and predictability with minimized CPU overhead and efficient multi-threaded performance. Multiple Vulkan 1.0 hardware drivers and SDKs are available immediately for developers to begin creating Vulkan applications and engines. More information on Vulkan is available at https://www.khronos.org/vulkan/.

We are extremely pleased at the industry’s rapid execution on the Vulkan API initiative. Due to Vulkan’s cross platform availability, high performance and healthy open source ecosystem, we expect to see rapid uptake by software developers, far exceeding the adoption of similar APIs which are limited to specific operating systems,said Gabe Newell, co-founder and managing director, Valve.

Vulkan is a multi-platform API that can work on devices running Windows 7 through Windows 10, Linux, SteamOS, Tizen, and Android. A small FAQ might help to clear up a few questions for us non-developers out there. Today's announcement also coincided with an announcement for MetalVK. MetalVK aims to bring Vulkan to iOS and OSX.

Oh, so it's like Direct3D 12?
Quite like it, but portable, and not restricted to Windows 10 OS.

I see. Like Apple Metal?
That too. But again, portable, and not restricted to iOS and OS X.

So, it's like Mantle then?
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.

If you want to live on the absolute bleeding edge of technology and aren't afraid of things going horrifically wrong with broken drivers, you can try out Vulkan right now. How? The latest update for The Talos Princple includes support for Vulkan. It's still early days for Vulkan so don't expect any miraculous performance gains just yet, especially in games that lack multithreaded rendering.