Project Quantum — We’re Going Native.

When it comes to game streaming speed is everything. Every millisecond that can be shaved off is worth the effort to create an experience that is best-in-class. We’ve tackled this problem in the browser, bringing our game streaming technology to the web and with our upcoming 1.0 release, plan to optimize it further by leveraging technologies such as WebAssembly.

As we think about other platforms such as Android, Xbox and iOS we started to notice an issue in our development. Far too much time was being spent on designing specific rendering pipelines that couldn’t be reused. Performance from platform to platform is too different and there is no baseline to grow from. Our solution to this problem is clear: a cross-platform, ultra low-latency video presentation pipeline based on Vulkan.

In Vulkan We Trust

So why Vulkan? Quite a few reasons exist. For example there is video latency caused by the GL drivers in Windows/Linux. Both the GLX X11 and Windows GL/D3D drivers are full of hacks, code paths, and buffer schemes that cater to benchmarking applications and games. This is counterproductive when the aim is low-latency video rendering. You don’t want all this stuff going on in the background. Low-level APIs such as Vulkan give us control over buffering and lower latency without resource-heavy solutions like hard GPU v-sync.

Other issues arise with the fact that while DirectX 12 is fast, Windows 7/8 form a decent chunk of the PC gaming market, and it is incompatible with both. OpenGL is also end-of-life on macOS, having been deprecated by Apple.

Vulkan solves all of these problems. It works on Android, iOS, Linux, Windows, game consoles and with the help of frameworks like MoltenVK it can even be used on macOS.

Valve agrees.

Vulkan is also insanely fast, out performing both DirectX and OpenGL in their native environments and allowing for unprecedented speed on slower hardware that normally struggles to render complex scenes quickly.

What’s Next?

Project Quantum will usher in the next stage of Rainway, bringing native clients to a number of desktop and mobile platforms. We are investing heavily in this new innovative and unique approach to game streaming by expanding our Seattle team with some truly amazing individuals who live and breathe high-performance graphics programming.

Android and iOS are being pushed back on our release schedule and Xbox is being pushed up as it will be one of the first non-desktop platforms to leverage this insanely fast new consolidated native technology. The web version of Rainway will remain and continue to be optimized by our talented team of frontend engineers.

We are excited to release the first version of Project Quantum later next year and we can’t wait to share everything we’ve been working on for Rainway 1.0 in January.

Until next time!