Porting Takua Renderer to Windows on Arm

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2024-06-07 18:00:04

A few years ago I ported Takua Renderer to build and run on arm64 systems. Porting to arm64 proved to be a major effort (see Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4) which wound up paying off in spades; I learned a lot, found and fixed various longstanding platform-specific bugs in the renderer, and wound up being perfectly timed for Apple transitioning the Mac to arm64-based Apple Silicon. As a result, for the past few years I have been routinely building and running Takua Renderer on arm64 Linux and macOS, in addition to building and runninng on x86-64 Linux/Mac/Windows. Even though I take somewhat of a Mac-first approach for personal projects since I daily drive macOS, I make a point of maintaining robust cross-platform support for Takua Renderer for reasons I wrote about in the first part of this series.

Up unti recently though, my supported platforms list for Takua Renderer notably did not include Windows on Arm. There are two main reasons why I never ported Takua Renderer to build and run on Windows on Arm. The first reason is that Microsoft’s own support for Windows on Arm has up until recently been in a fairly nascent state. Windows RT added Arm support in 2012 but only for 32-bit processors, and Windows 10 added arm64 support in 2016 but lacked a lot of native applications and developer support; notably, Visual Studio didn’t gain native arm64 support until late in 2022. The second reason I never got around to adding Windows on Arm support is simply that I don’t have any Windows on Arm hardware sitting around and generally there just have not been many good Windows on Arm devices available in the market. However, with the advent of Qualcomm’s Oryon-based Snapdragon X SoCs and Microsoft’s push for a new generation of arm64 PCs using the Snapdragon X SoCs, all of the above finally seems to be changing. Microsoft also authorized arm64 editions of Windows 11 for use in virtual machines on Apple Silicon Macs at the beginning of this year. With Windows on Arm now clearly signaled as a major part of the future of Windows and clearly signaled as here to stay, and now that spinning up a Windows 11 on Arm VM is both formally supported and easy to do, a few weeks ago I finally got around to getting Takua Renderer up and running on native arm64 Windows 11.

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