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 Home > News > Graphics Cards > Khronos...
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Monday, August 06, 2012
Khronos Releases OpenGL 4.3 Specification


The Khronos Group today released the OpenGL 4.3 specification, bringing the very latest graphics functionality to the widely adopted cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface).

The group also released OpenGL ES 3.0 specification, which promises to bring mobile 3D graphics to thr next level.

OpenGL 4.3

OpenGL 4.3 is a backwards compatibile, royalty-free specification, which enables applications to incrementally use new features while portably accessing advanced graphics processing unit (GPU) functionality across diverse operating systems and platforms. The OpenGL 4.3 specification contains new features that extend functionality available to developers and enables increased application performance. The full specification is available for download at http://www.opengl.org/registry/.

New functionality in the OpenGL 4.3 specification includes:

- compute shaders that harness GPU parallelism for advanced computation such as image, volume, and geometry processing within the context of the graphics pipeline;

- shader storage buffer objects that enable vertex, tessellation, geometry, fragment and compute shaders to read and write large amounts of data and pass significant data between shader stages;

- texture parameter queries to discover actual supported texture parameter limits on the current platform;

- high quality ETC2 / EAC texture compression as a standard feature, eliminating the need for a different set of textures for each platform;

- debug capability to receive debugging messages during application development;

- texture views for interpreting textures in many different ways without duplicating the texture data itself;

- indirect multi-draw that enables the GPU to compute and store parameters for multiple draw commands in a buffer object and re-use those parameters with one draw command, particularly efficient for rendering many objects with low triangle counts;

- increased memory security that guarantees that an application cannot read or write outside its own buffers into another application's data;

- a multi-application robustness extension that ensures that an application that causes a GPU reset will not affect any other running applications.

"Developer feedback has been key to creating a faster, more capable API that meets emerging needs, such as providing a secure platform for GPU-accelerated web applications using WebGL and compute shaders that harness GPU parallelism for advanced computation," said Barthold Lichtenbelt, working group chair of the OpenGL ARB and director of Tegra graphics at NVIDIA.

OpenGL ES 3.0

The release of the OpenGL ES 3.0 specification by the Khronos Group is also promising to bring significant functionality and portability enhancements to the 3D graphics API that is used on the majority of the smartphones and tablets.

"OpenGL ES 3.0 draws on proven functionality from OpenGL 3.3 and 4.2 and carefully balances the introduction of leading-edge technology with addressing the real-world needs of developers," said Tom Olson, chairman of the OpenGL ES Working Group and director of graphics research at ARM.

New functionality in the OpenGL ES 3.0 specification includes:

- multiple enhancements to the rendering pipeline to enable acceleration of advanced visual effects including: occlusion queries, transform feedback, instanced rendering and support for four or more rendering targets;

- high quality ETC2 / EAC texture compression as a standard feature, eliminating the need for a different set of textures for each platform;

- a new version of the GLSL ES shading language with full support for integer and 32-bit floating point operations;

- enhanced texturing functionality including guaranteed support for floating point textures, 3D textures, depth textures, vertex textures, NPOT textures, R/RG textures, immutable textures, 2D array textures, swizzles, LOD and mip level clamps, seamless cube maps and sampler objects;

- an extensive set of required, explicitly sized texture and render-buffer formats, reducing implementation variability and making it much ea sier to write portable applications.

The OpenGL ES working group at Khronos expects to update the OpenGL ES Adopter's Program to provide extensive conformance tests for OpenGL ES 3.0 within six months, enabling implementers of the specification to gain access to source code for Conformance Tests and to use the OpenGL ES trademark on products that pass the defined testing procedure.


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