Valve has released an update for its popular multiplayer online battle arena (MOBA) title DOTA 2 which brings support for the Vulkan application programming interface (API), potentially improving its performance.
Built from the ashes of AMD's Mantle, Vulkan is a low-level API designed to help developers boost the performance of their games by eliminating various overheads. Sadly, support is currently thin on the ground: with the beta release this week, DOTA 2 becomes only the second mainstream game to add Vulkan support.
Available through Steam's downloadable content (DLC) feature as a free beta for anyone with a copy of DOTA 2, the update doesn't use Vulkan by default: to enable the functionality, players must ensure that the game is set to launch with the flag '-vulkan', removing any existing render mode flags if present. The Vulkan renderer also requires Windows 7, 8, or 10 64-bit or a Linux 64-bit operating system, 2GB of GPU memory, and an Nvidia GeForce GTX 600 series or AMD Radeon HD 7700 or better graphics card.
Valve is actively seeking feedback on the performance and stability of the Vulkan version of the game, and has warned that there is at least one known issue: the first time the Vulkan version is launched, the game is likely to stutter as shaders are cached to disk. Following the first match, after which all shaders should be cached, performance should improve.
The Vulkan version of DOTA 2 is available through Steam now, through the game's DLC menu.