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12 March 2010, 15:10

OpenGL 4.0 released by Khronos Group

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The Khronos Group has announced that OpenGL 4.0, the specification for the open 2D and 3D graphics API, is now available. The announcement was made at the Game Developer Conference being held in San Francisco. The updated specification includes the GLSL 4.00 update to the OpenGL Shading Language.

One of the most important innovations in the standard is support for tessellation, with two new stages added to allow GPUs to take over geometry tessellation from the CPU. Shader subroutines have been added to allow for more flexibility in programming shaders. A separation of texture state and texture data has been enabled with new "sampler objects", allowing applications to apply the same state conditions to different texture data or, conversely, apply the same texture data to different states.

OpenGL 4.0 interaction with OpenCL the Open Computing Language for cross platform, parallel programming, has been improved. At the same time, the Khronos Group has released an OpenGL 3.3 specification, to enable as much OpenGL 4.0 functionality as possible on the previous generation of GPU hardware, but with an eye on compatibility with older programs.

The OpenGL specification is developed by the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board), which is a working group within the Khronos Group, the non-profit industry consortium composed of, among others, AMD and NVIDIA employees. According to NVIDIA, the upcoming NVIDIA CUDA GPU architecture "Fermi" will have full OpenGL 4.0 support.


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