Trying The Intel Vulkan Driver On Skylake With Dota 2 + Talos Principle
Written by Michael Larabel in Intel on 20 June 2016 at 11:30 AM EDT. 22 Comments
With the recent report that Intel's Vulkan Linux driver should now work with Dota 2, I was curious to test out the game -- and Talos Principle -- with the latest Mesa Git code that houses this open-source "Anvil" Vulkan driver.

With the Padoka PPA now shipping the Intel Vulkan driver by default, it's super easy on Ubuntu-based Linux systems to fetch a Mesa Git snapshot within the past day or two that does have the Vulkan driver for Intel hardware built and enabled. So that's what I went with for trying Mesa 12.1-dev state of the Intel Vulkan driver as of today on a Core i5 6600K "Skylake" box running Ubuntu 16.04.

Unfortunately, I wasn't able to get the Vulkan renderer in Source 2 working on Dota 2 when using this Intel Vulkan driver. The game simply crashed while loading every time when trying to use the Vulkan renderer while the OpenGL renderer was working fine on this Mesa Git revision. Too bad, as it would have been fun to see how the Intel Vulkan vs. OpenGL performance compares for Dota 2.

Next I tried out The Talos Principle, the only other AAA Linux game with a Vulkan renderer at this point. Unfortunately, as soon as I switched over to activating the Vulkan renderer I began noticing problems with the in-game menu:

These problems weren't encountered with the OpenGL back-end on Intel Skylake under Ubuntu 16.04...

And when firing up the Talos Principle benchmark with the Vulkan back-end, the game wasn't rendering properly at all. The Intel Mesa driver with OpenGL though does render fine for this game.

I guess I'll try again next month or whenever seeing any interesting Intel Vulkan commits hitting Mesa Git.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via

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