The Khronos Group on Monday nnounced OpenGL 3.2, the third major update in twelve months to the widely adopted 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface) for personal computers and workstations. This new release continues the rapid evolution of the OpenGL standard to enable graphics developers to access cutting-edge GPU functionality across diverse operating systems and platforms.
“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,” said Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and vice president at Nvidia.
OpenGL 3.2 adds features for enhanced performance, increased visual quality, accelerated geometry processing and easier portability of Direct3D applications. 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.
“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. We are listening carefully to developer feedback and will continue to rapidly evolve OpenGL to meet the needs of the industry,” said Barthold Lichtenbelt, chair of the OpenGL ARB working group and OpenGL engineering manager at Nvidia.