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Khronos Releases Vulkan Mesh Shader Pipeline Extension

The Vulkan Working Group has released the VK_EXT_mesh_shader extension that brings cross-vendor mesh shading to Vulkan and improves functional compatibility with DirectX 12. The new mesh shading pipeline with the task and mesh shading stages provides an alternative to the traditional vertex, tessellation, or geometry shader stages that feed into rasterization.

Mesh shaders provide greater flexibility to developers and enable a two-stage approach for efficient culling, level-of-detail management, and procedural generation of geometry. Compared to the traditional pipeline, mesh shaders enable easy access to the topology of generated primitives and developers are free to repurpose shader threads to perform both vertex shading and primitive shading workloads. Khronos will provide a mesh shader open-source sample to support and showcase the new VK_EXT_mesh_shader extension, and an updated shaderc library in the Vulkan SDK is coming soon.

For those that wish to try out the new mesh shader on their own GPU; NVIDIA is shipping the new extension in their beta Vulkan drivers today, and experimental support in the open source RADV and ANV drivers are now available.

For additional information developers are invited to: