Ryujinx Nintendo Switch Emulator Receives Vulkan Backend Update

After almost a year of testing, nearly 40,000 lines of code and over 700 reports spanning 122 people the Ryujinx Nintendo Switch emulator has finally added the Vulkan backend to its main build. So here’s everything you need to know about the addition of Vulkan In Ryujinx.

Similar to OpenGL, DirectX11 and DirectX12, Vulkan is a graphics API that acts as a bridge between your graphics card (GPU) and any 3D application. Though not as useful for people who use Nvidia Graphics Cards, Vulkan will offer drastic performance imporvemnets for people who rely on Intel and AMD for graphics processing.

As you can see in the graph below, Super Mario Odyssey gets an ground breaking 413% frame rate boost. On the other hand Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is 163% faster in comparison to OpenGL.


Discussing about what is changing and how it will impact users, Ryujinx in an offical blog port stated that,

First of all, you need to know that any shader caches you’ve cultivated over the years will sadly cease to exist once you update beyond version 1.1.200 and boot a game. While this does mean that you will start from scratch in every title, they should be much quicker and less painful to rebuild thanks to SPIR-V’s compile speed! Should you choose to use Vulkan.

Other than this… not much. AMD and Intel users will want to immediately set Vulkan as their backend and never look back while Nvidia users have the luxury of choice. While in most cases Vulkan will likely be the better pick due to its lower shader stutter, there may be some games that render/perform better in one or the other, so the world truly is your oyster.

Shaders built for one backend will rebuild into the complimentary set for the other when you switch, so nothing is lost by trying both. A good strategy may be to undergo the initial stutter with Vulkan and then switch to OpenGL if it performs a little better. Your choice.

Lastly, it’s worth noting that there are certain titles like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt and the recent release Xenoblade Chronicles 3 that  boot yet on AMD hardware with Vulkan enabled.