Thursday, March 11th 2010

Khronos Announces OpenGL 4.0 Specifications

The Khronos group, at the Game Developers Conference, announced the OpenGL 4.0 API specifications. OpenGL 4.0 is set to rival DirectX 11 in being able to make use of hardware tessellation offered by this generation's GPUs, drawing of data generated by OpenGL, OpenCL, or other external APIs without any intervention from the CPU, support for 64-bit Double Precision Floating Point shader operations, and a number of performance improvements. OpenGL is a multi-platform API that can run on operating environments such as Windows, Linux, Mac OS, certain gaming consoles, as well as a low-resource API for mobile devices. A list of main feature changes in OpenGL 4.0 are as follows:
  • Two new shader stages that enable the GPU to offload geometry tessellation from the CPU
  • Per-sample fragment shaders and programmable fragment shader input positions for increased rendering quality and anti-aliasing flexibility
  • Drawing of data generated by OpenGL, or external APIs such as OpenCL, without CPU intervention
  • Shader subroutines for significantly increased programming flexibility;
  • Separation of texture state and texture data through the addition of a new object type called sampler objects
  • 64-bit double precision floating point shader operations and inputs/outputs for increased rendering accuracy and quality
  • Performance improvements, including instanced geometry shaders, instanced arrays, and a new timer query



“The release of OpenGL 4.0 is a major step forward in bringing state-of-the-art functionality to cross-platform graphics acceleration, and strengthens OpenGL’s leadership position as the epicenter of 3D graphics on the web, on mobile devices as well as on the desktop,” said Barthold Lichtenbelt, OpenGL ARB working group chair and senior manager Core OpenGL at NVIDIA. “NVIDIA is pleased to announce that its upcoming Fermi-based graphics accelerators will fully support OpenGL 4.0 at launch.”

“AMD sees the release of OpenGL 4.0 as another major accomplishment for the OpenGL ARB,” said Ben Bar-Haim, vice president of design engineering at AMD. “AMD contributes to the Khronos workgroups, and we consistently find that Khronos is successful at developing healthy, thriving, and evolving open standards such as OpenGL and OpenCL.”

Driver updates by NVIDIA and AMD will carry the OpenGL 4.0 installable client driver, enabling support for the API by existing and upcoming shader model 5.0 graphics processors.Source: EarthTimes
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15 Comments on Khronos Announces OpenGL 4.0 Specifications

#2
OnBoard
I remember the days when you could select if you use DirectX or OpenGL in the game. I'd take OpenGl 4 + DirectX 10/11 over current DX9/10/11 any day.
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#3
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
This better not be like 3.0.
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#4
fullinfusion
1.21 Gigawatts
This is going to be interesting. :rolleyes:
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#5

Does ATI 5xxx cards will support this? I know Fermi does....
#6
pr0n Inspector
And still no one gives a frak.
OpenGL is dead on Windows gaming.
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#7
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
by: TAViX
Does ATI 5xxx cards will support this? I know Fermi does....
Yes it does. If you read the bottom line of the original post it says it arrives in a new driver for both AMD and Nvidia.
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#8
Wshlist
Update prediction

Typically it takes nvidia a month, maybe two, to update OpenGL after a version change , and ATI 3 to 6 months for the same.

And yes I agree, OpenGL always had a feel that was nicer than DX, DX seems so smoothed and OpenGL always had more contrasting lighting which looks nicer.
Now you might argue you can do the same lighting in DX, but even if so, developers seems influenced by default setups and programming examples in the SDK and in real life you get the results I described where DX stuff seems smoothed by too much ambient light, in my experience.
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#9
TheMailMan78
Big Member
Yeah but what uses OpenGL nowadays anyway?
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#10
TheLaughingMan
That was the piece that Valve needed. Now the porting of Steam onto Mac OSX will be an easier sale to third party companies that sell their products through Steam. With OpenGL up-to-date, companies can use the current gen graphics for computers and all the current tech to code their games for Mac. Using OpenGL should be easier on Mac than forcing DX.
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#11
Wshlist
Good point TheLaughingMan, and I hope you are right and OpenGL gets more use again.

edit:
On a related subject, I recently saw an announcement that Unreal Engine 3 was now supporting the steam suite and they made some deals with valve, and unreal engine is actually still supporting OpenGL, so you have unreal engine (3) + steam + macs all set up for an OpenGL future :)

This at the same time is a reply to those saying 'what still has OpenGL?' Unreal engine does, and that's used by quite a few games and in constant development, they even added nvidia 3D stuff to it now so it can be used for 3D glasses on triple screens in the future I guess.

note though that I don't like steam anymore since they messed up a few games I liked, first by 'updating' with in-game ads then by messing up games with console-like simplifications of play that are only acceptable for people that play with a damn gamepad from a sofa, and that should not be so on PC's.
And I also don't like they logging and tracking every second I play, when how often and what, and even announcing that to the world :|
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#12

by: TheMailMan78
Yeah but what uses OpenGL nowadays anyway?
LOL. Games are not the only thing a video card is used for.

OpenGL is mainly use for 3D Design/Rendering applications like CATIA, SolidWorks, AutoCAD 3D, Inventor, etc or MAYA, 3D Studio MAX, etc, etc.

It's so nice that if you use OpenGL optimized drivers (like I use home on my 5870) I can actually have ALMOST the same performance levels as a profesional accelerator. Even if the performance is not as high as a profession card, using OpenGL acceleration on those apps is a must, when working with big assemblies, very detailed surfaces/parts, or for high-res renderings.

by: Wshlist

On a related subject, I recently saw an announcement that Unreal Engine 3 was now supporting the steam suite and they made some deals with valve, and unreal engine is actually still supporting OpenGL, so you have unreal engine (3) + steam + macs all set up for an OpenGL future :)

This at the same time is a reply to those saying 'what still has OpenGL?' Unreal engine does, and that's used by quite a few games and in constant development, they even added nvidia 3D stuff to it now so it can be used for 3D glasses on triple screens in the future I guess.
Don't forget that the previews Unreal Engines had better OpenGL support than DX3D, and I remember that Unreal and also Unreal 2 were running much better on OpenGL than D3D. This not to mention that all ID engine games are running on OpenGL(Doom 3, Quake 3, Quake Wars, etc)
#13
Wshlist
Well yes id uses OpenGL but Carmack is now also doing DX because he codes for the x360, so you have to worry.
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#14
DrPepper
The Doctor is in the house
OpenGL is probably dead if this flops like 3.0.

I'm not sentimental about opengl and it seems they've fell behind DX.
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#15
Wshlist
OpenGL cannot die since DX is MS propriety and as long as they aren't the only company making OS's there HAS to be another way to get 3D.
Plus on phones OpenGL is the 3D standard, so that should protect it pretty well.
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