OpenGL 4.0 specification announced at GDC

By on March 11, 2010, 11:50 AM
With the Game Developer's Conference in San Francisco underway, Khronos Group, the association behind OpenGL has announced the fourth generation of its cross-platform graphics API. This is the first major update since the launch of OpenCL and brings the graphics standard more up to par with Microsoft's DirectX 11, with GPU-accelerated tessellation and various other performance improvements.

The standard can now handle per-sample effects by the pixel, process shader subroutines for increased programming flexibility, and render content with 64-bit double-precision for better accuracy. OpenGL 4.0 also integrates well with OpenCL to allow certain tasks be offloaded from the typically overworked CPU to the GPU.

Naturally, OpenGL 4.0 adoption will depend both on video chipset makers adding support to their drivers in addition to games and developers creating software that makes use of the new features. On the other hand, OpenGL ES, the mobile offshoot of OpenGL is also expected to get at least some of the new capabilities in the future and could result in smartphones with much improved graphics as the hardware catches up.

In the meantime, the Khronos Group also launched a stopgap OpenGL 3.3 specification that will enable "as much OpenGL 4.0 functionality as possible" on previous-generation video cards.




User Comments: 21

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compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I havn't seem many games at all recently that utilize OpenGL (other then some Mac Ports). Seems like pretty much everything is using D3D these days.

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

True, and I remember old games had OpenGL and most crashed after a bit.

To the mobile industry such as handhelds this sounds nice.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

As mobile and windows-alternative platforms become more and more prevalent, OpenGL will become more important. Since mobile gaming seems to be heralded as "the future" of gaming, standards like this will make it much easier to port between a variety of mobile operating systems. The more developers use OpenGL, the less dependent we are on Microsoft and their ever-evolving proprietary DirectX initiatives which are constantly aiming at forcing consumers to upgrade their OS for the latest stuff... I'm just sayin...

paynetrain007 said:

although Steam is preparing to launch many games on Mac and possibly Linux

Guest said:

Rage will be OpenGL

fwilliams said:

Speaking of Rage, it has been in development for a few years. Is there any time frame for when it will be done?

jasonk1229 said:

this will be good for handhelds

jasonk1229 said:

this will be good for handhelds

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

This is great news, definite fan of OpenGL .

compdata said:

I havn't seem many games at all recently that utilize OpenGL (other then some Mac Ports). Seems like pretty much everything is using D3D these days.

Wolfenstein last year uses it but only for multiplayer if I'm not mistaken since it's a modified id Tech 4.

fwilliams said:

Speaking of Rage, it has been in development for a few years. Is there any time frame for when it will be done?

It's said to be late 2010, so I would expect a lot of info during E3. Doom 4 announcements are also expect but I think that'll be more during QuakeCon 2010, both are by the way launching the new id Tech 5 engine based on OpenGL & DX9.

skitzo_zac skitzo_zac, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

It's never a bad thing having open standards challenging closed proprietary standards.

But as far as I am aware the only major games that use OpenGL are those based on id Tech X engines, or Mac and Linux games.

zyodei said:

I think there would be a real opportunity for any company that could write software that would port D3D to OpenGL. D3D is just so damned limited in where it can run..that's a lot of revenue just sitting on the table for people who want to sell on Wii/PS/phones/etc.

Yoda8232 said:

OpenGL needs to be supported like in the good old days with Quake and CS 1.6!

rskapadia2294 said:

almost all games use D3D! so whats the use of openGL?

ansarimikail said:

Always good to have an open source competitor to proprietary software.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

i would like to see that, need to check the net for more info & would be happy to get some video showing the differences.

cheers!

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

rskapadia2294 said:

almost all games use D3D! so whats the use of openGL?

For anything that doesn't involve Microsoft. D3D is proprietary meaning only Microsoft controls it. Games on Linux, Macs or mobile platforms are more then likely OpenGL. Having an alternative that isn't controlled by one entity is important and the hopes that competition can spur more innovation .

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

A note for those thinking of mobile: this is currently not relevant for mobile. The mobile version of OpenGL is OpenGL ES, which is a different standard (i.e., has a different feature set). OpenGL 4 is meant for DX11 hardware.

That said, I do think that mobile might also push OpenGL on the desktop, because the API's are similar enough that mobile developers could move to the desktop. Plus Valve's move to Apple might push things somewhat in this direction.

The thing about OpenGL is that it adds features quite a bit of time after they're available on Direct3D, so for AAA developers who want to take advantage of the latest features, Direct3D is the obvious choice.

EduardsN said:

Now we wait for DirectX 12

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Relic said:

......Having an alternative that isn't controlled by one entity is important and the hopes that competition can spur more innovation .

Agreed. With no competition companies get lazy and there products suffer, and them we consumers get screwed.

Wagan8r Wagan8r said:

I'm glad to see that OpenGL is finally starting to get back in the game... at least a little bit. I'm just curious to see how many supporters (hardware) there will be.

gary4gar said:

After Release of new Specs, Hopefully GPU manufacturers should start implemented it as soon as they should

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