The Khronos Group has released OpenGL 3.2, the third major update in twelve months to the cross-platform graphics API. This release promises better performance, improved visual quality and accelerated geometry processing.
OpenGL 3.2 adds features for enhanced performance, increased visual quality, accelerated geometry processing and easier portability of Direct3D applications. In addition, the evolution of OpenGL and other standards within Khronos, including OpenCL™ for parallel compute, OpenGL ES for mobile 3D graphics and the new WebGL™ standard for 3D on the web are being coordinated to create a powerful graphics and compute ecosystem that spans many application, markets and devices. The installed base of OpenGL 3.2 compatible GPUs already exceeds 150 million units.
The OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) working group at Khronos has defined GLSL 1.5, an updated version of the OpenGL Shading language, and two profiles within the OpenGL 3.2 specification providing developers the choice of using the streamlined Core profile for new application development or the Compatibility profile which provides full backwards compatibility with previous versions of the OpenGL standard for existing and workstation applications.
OpenGL 3.2 has been designed to run on a wide range of recent GPU silicon and provides a wide range of significant benefits to application developers, including:
Increased performance for vertex arrays and fence sync objects to avoid idling while waiting for resources shared between the CPU and GPU, or multiple CPU threads;
Improved pipeline programmability, including geometry shaders in the OpenGL core;
Boosted cube map visual quality and multisampling rendering flexibility by enabling shaders to directly process texture samples.
In addition, Khronos has defined a set of five new ARB extensions that enable the very latest graphics functionality introduced in the newest GPUs to be accessed through OpenGL – these extensions will be absorbed into the core of a future version of OpenGL when this functionality is proven and widely adopted.
“Khronos has proven to be a great home for the OpenGL ARB,” stated Dr. Jon Peddie founder and principal of Jon Peddie Research. “Not only has the ARB has put the pedal to the metal to enable OpenGL to be a true platform for graphics innovation, but the synergy of coherently developing a family of related standards is leveraging OpenGL’s strengths - OpenGL is truly the foundation on which rich graphics for mobile devices and the Web is being built.”
“AMD is thrilled to be participating in the OpenGL ARB, which has delivered on its promise to frequently update the OpenGL API,” said Janet Matsuda, senior director, AMD Professional Graphics. “Producing three new versions of the specification in twelve months is a remarkable achievement.”
“NVIDIA is committed to the continued rapid evolution and adoption of OpenGL and we are proud to release our OpenGL 3.2 beta drivers on the same day as the specification itself is published,” said Barthold Lichtenbelt, chair of the OpenGL ARB working group and OpenGL engineering manager at NVIDIA. “The OpenGL ARB is committed to providing top-notch graphics features while protecting investment in OpenGL code. We are listening carefully to developer feedback and will continue to rapidly evolve OpenGL to meet the needs of the industry.”
“The strategy behind OpenGL 3 is to bring revolutionary changes to OpenGL through a rapid sequence of evolutionary updates, and the ARB continues to effectively execute to that plan,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and vice president at NVIDIA. “OpenGL 3.0 set the stage with new mechanisms to enable OpenGL to respond to diverse market needs, OpenGL 3.1 used those mechanisms to streamline the API while adding new functionality. Now we have OpenGL 3.2 that fully exposes state-of-the-art GPU capabilities in a form that meets the needs of both new and experienced OpenGL developers.”