Industry leaders align behind latest versions of OpenGL ES, OpenGL and WebGL;
Khronos begins work on next-generation graphics standards
August 11th, 2014, Vancouver, SIGGRAPH – The Khronos™ Group, an open consortium of leading hardware and software companies, today announced growing industry support for the OpenGL® family of 3D standards that are advancing the visual experience for more than two billion mobile devices and PCs sold each year. OpenGL, OpenGL ES™ and WebGL™ are the world’s most widely deployed APIs that between them provide portable access to graphics and compute capabilities across multiple platforms, including Android, iOS, Linux, OS X, Windows and the Web.
OpenGL ES 3.1 Conformant Implementations
In July, the first wave of leading GPU vendors, including ARM, Imagination Technologies, Intel, NVIDIA and Vivante, achieved full conformance with the latest version of OpenGL ES. A conformance submission from Qualcomm is currently under review, with more to follow. The OpenGL ES 3.1 specification was released in March 2014 and provides the most desired features of desktop OpenGL, including GPU Compute shaders, in a standard that is suitable for mobile devices. Khronos launched the OpenGL ES 3.1 Adopters program in June, including a broad set of conformance tests to ensure reliable cross-vendor operation. More information is here.
Android L uses OpenGL ES 3.1 with AEP
At Google IO in June 2014, Google announced support for OpenGL ES 3.1 in the Android L Developer Preview together with the Android Extension Pack (AEP). AEP is a new set of extensions to OpenGL ES that brings additional desktop-class graphics functionality to Android and enables games to take advantage of tessellation and geometry shaders, and use ASTC texture compression. More information on the functionality of AEP is here.
WebGL brings powerful GPU access to HTML5. As with any Web standard, pervasive availability across many browsers is the key to providing a commercially relevant deployment platform. Today, all mainstream desktop browsers support WebGL, including Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer, and WebGL support is rapidly being deployed to major mobile browsers. WebGL enables a true industry first: the ability to write high-performance 3D applications that run with zero porting effort on every significant desktop and mobile platform.
OpenGL 4.5 Specification Released
Khronos publicly released the OpenGL 4.5 specification today, bringing the very latest functionality to the industry’s most advanced 3D graphics API while maintaining full backwards compatibility, enabling applications to incrementally use new features. The full specification and reference materials are available for immediate download from the OpenGL Registry. New functionality in the core OpenGL 4.5 specification includes:
- Direct State Access (DSA) – object accessors enable state to be queried and modified without binding objects to contexts, for increased application and middleware efficiency and flexibility;
- Flush Control - applications can control flushing of pending commands before context switching – enabling high-performance multithreaded applications;
- Robustness - providing a secure platform for applications such as WebGL browsers, including preventing a GPU reset affecting any other running applications;
- OpenGL ES 3.1 API and shader compatibility – to enable the easy development and execution of the latest OpenGL ES applications on desktop systems;
- DX11 emulation features – for easier porting of applications between OpenGL and Direct3D.
Feedback on any aspect of OpenGL is welcome at the OpenGL forums.
Next Generation OpenGL Initiative - Call for Participation
Khronos announced a call for participation today in a project to define a future open standard for high-efficiency access to graphics and compute on modern GPUs. Key directions for the new ground-up design include explicit application control over GPU and CPU workloads for performance and predictability, a multithreading-friendly API with greatly reduced overhead, a common shader program intermediate language, and a strengthened ecosystem focus that includes rigorous conformance testing. Fast-paced work on detailed proposals and designs are already underway, and any company interested to participate is strongly encouraged to join Khronos for a voice and a vote in the development process.
Industry Support for the OpenGL Ecosystem
“OpenGL has played an important role in the growth of mobile, workstation and consumer graphics,” said Raja Koduri, chief technology officer, graphics at AMD. “AMD is tremendously excited to take a contributing role in the Next Generation OpenGL initiative as an evolution of the OpenGL standard aligned with AMD’s vision for low-overhead and multi-threaded graphics APIs.”
“The primary mobile computing device for billions of people is ARM-based, and today our OpenGL ES 3.1-conformant ARM Mali GPUs are delivering a world-leading visual experience,” said Jem Davies, vice president of technology, Media Processing Group, ARM. “Mobile APIs must evolve and the Next Generation OpenGL Initiative will enable developers to get even more value from ARM’s energy-efficient technology.”
“We are super excited to contribute and work with the Next Generation OpenGL Initiative, and bring our experience of low-overhead and explicit graphics APIs to build an efficient standard for multiple platforms and vendors in Khronos,” said Johan Andersson, technical director at Frostbite - Electronic Arts. “This work is of critical importance to get the most out of modern GPUs on both mobile and desktop, and to make it easier to develop advanced and efficient 3D applications - enabling us to build amazing future games with Frostbite on all platforms.”
“Khronos plays a key role in driving global industry-wide multimedia standards, relied upon by our thousands of ecosystem partners as they deliver incredible consumer experiences. As a long-time promoter member of Khronos, we’ve ensured that all of our latest PowerVR Series6 GPU cores - from the smallest GX6240 to the high end 192-core GX6650—are designed to be OpenGL ES 3.1, AEP and WebGL capable,” Tony King-Smith, executive vice president of marketing at Imagination. “We welcome the Next Generation OpenGL Initiative, and have committed significant resources to help Khronos ensure that future generations of the OpenGL family of APIs continue to deliver outstanding capabilities for developers across our extensive PowerVR Insider community.”
“The OpenGL API ecosystem is essential in enabling developers to access GPU capabilities across NVIDIA-powered cloud, workstation, gaming, mobile and Web platforms. NVIDIA is also pleased to release beta drivers for the new OpenGL 4.5 today, enabling developers to immediately try this new functionality on NVIDIA desktop GPUs,” said Neil Trevett, vice president mobile ecosystem at NVIDIA. “We are also strongly committed to driving the Next Generation OpenGL Initiative to rapidly create the open standards that will prevent market fragmentation, and provide a new level of GPU access to developers across the industry.”
“Mobica is proud to be taking part in the process of designing the new API, which will mark a new milestone in the history of 3D Graphics,” said Jim Carroll, CTO of Mobica. “We look forward to providing support to Khronos in the design process and to assisting our customers once the standard is released.”
“Samsung has provided continual improvements in graphics quality and performance through ever-evolving Khronos standards,” said SVP W.S. Lee, head of UX R&D team at Samsung Electronics. “The new features of OpenGL ES 3.1 and AEP offer even richer gaming experiences on Samsung products, and we are excited by the greater graphics efficiency, developer productivity and user experience enhancements that the Next Generation OpenGL Initiative will bring.”
“TransGaming’s API portability products support the full range of Desktop OpenGL and OpenGL ES versions to date,” said Gavriel State, founder & CTO at TransGaming. “We are excited about the Next Generation OpenGL initiative as we continue to bridge technology gaps between Direct3D and OpenGL APIs. Our ongoing product development across multiple platforms is enabled by the momentum and unity generated behind this open standard.”
“The OpenGL ecosystem provides the bedrock upon which Unity is building next-generation technology, such as WebGL in Unity 5.0, and full OpenGL ES 3.1 support in the near future,” says Aras Pranckevičius, graphics plumber at Unity. “We are thrilled about contributing to the Next Generation OpenGL Initiative. The collaboration of hardware and software vendors in the design process will grant developers higher control, robustness and efficiency.”
“OpenGL is a critical part of enabling developers to bring the best possible products to customers across a variety of platforms,” said Valve’s Gabe Newell. “We are committed to the Next Generation OpenGL initiative and are closely collaborating with Khronos members to create a high-performance rendering interface for SteamOS and future Valve games.”
“Our GC7000 Series with full hardware support of OpenGL ES 3.1, AEP and WebGL have given our ecosystem partners an advanced platform that brings the latest graphics and compute technologies to mobile and consumer devices. These products give developers an advantage in delivering optimized, photorealistic and robust visual experiences and interactive game play,” said Mike Cai, CTO of Vivante. “As a core member of the OpenGL / OpenGL ES working groups, we look forward to contributing to the Next Generation Open GL Initiative and supporting Khronos as they bring their new standard to market.”
OpenGL and OpenGL ES BOF at SIGGRAPH 2014
Attendees at the SIGGRAPH 2014 Conference in Vancouver are invited to the Khronos OpenGL and OpenGL ES BOF at 5-7PM on Wednesday 13th at the Marriott Pinnacle Hotel, next to the Vancouver Convention & Exhibition Centre to hear more details around developments in the OpenGL ecosystem. Space is limited and is available on a first-come first served basis. Full details of this and other Khronos developer sessions are available on the Khronos SIGGRAPH event page.