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OpenGL 4.4, OpenCL 2.0 released

OpenGL 4.4, OpenCL 2.0 released

The latest OpenCL and OpenGL API standards have been released, boasting impressive new features to boost quality and performance in future games.

The Khronos Group has announced updates to its OpenGL and OpenCL graphics and compute specifications, adding in some impressive new features for those who prefer their application programming interfaces (APIs) cross-platform.

Announced at the SIGGRAPH 2013 event in Anaheim late last night, both updates are immediately available for download and use by developers looking to make use of the increasing power of modern graphics hardware. The group also announced the first set of formal OpenGL conformance tests since OpenGL 2.0, requiring that vendors submit their hardware for full certification in order to boast OpenGL 4.4 compatibility.

'The delivery of conformance tests for OpenGL 4.4 is a significant milestone,' claimed Barthold Lichtenbelt, chair of the OpenGL Architecture Review Board Working Group, at the event, 'as it is vital for developers to be able to rely on the API they are trusting to accelerate their content across multiple platforms. The OpenGL ARB is committed to continue to deepen communications with the developer community so we can continue to build OpenGL functionality that creates real-world business opportunities for the 3D industry.'

As well as the new certification requirement, OpenGL 4.4 introduces new functionality to the standard including specifications for buffer placement control which allows for a CPU to map a buffer for direct use by a GPU, a new asynchronous query system which allows buffer objects to be a direct target in order to avoid the CPU waiting for the result and stalling the graphics pipeline, detailed control over shader variable layout including the ability to pack vectors efficiently alongside scalar types, multiple object binding using a single API call rather than a call per individual operation, and new core functions designed to make it easier to port Direct3D applications across to OpenGL.

In addition, two new extensions have been confirmed: the Bindless Texture Extension, which allows shaders to access an unlimited number of texture and imaging resources using a virtual addressing system, and the Sparse Texture Extension, which allows for handling of so-called 'mega-textures' larger than the GPU's available physical memory - something Microsoft has already announced for its latest DirectX implementation.

All these new features add up, the Khronos Group has claimed, to significantly improved performance - providing, of course, that developers choose to make use of the improved feature set of OpenGL 4.4 and that hardware manufacturers submit their devices and drivers for certification under the new conformance testing guidelines.

The group's GPGPU offload language, OpenCL, was also upgraded last night to version 2.0. The biggest changes include dynamic parallelism without the need for host interaction, shared virtual memory between host and device kernels, a generic address space, support for additional image types including sRGB and 3D images, and built-in functions for kernels to read from or write to pipes that store data organised in a first-in, first-out (FIFO) format. The new version also includes an extension for installing an OpenCL client on Android devices, loading it as a shared object for use by client applications.

More details on both releases are available on the official website.

9 Comments

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Hustler 23rd July 2013, 13:18 Quote
Such a shame OpenGL fell behind DirectX, due to Microsoft's bully boy tactics....I always found OpenGL games had far nicer graphics at the time.

Hopefully, with PS4 using a custom version of OpenGL for it's games, dev's will stick with it when porting over to the PC.
thogil 23rd July 2013, 14:09 Quote
I'm really pleased to see some progress on standardising some parts of bindless an sparse texture extensions, even if they are not part of the core spec yet. The new buffer transfer and state block APIs look interesting. I wasn't expecting GL to keep pace with D3D so well.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
Such a shame OpenGL fell behind DirectX, due to Microsoft's bully boy tactics....I always found OpenGL games had far nicer graphics at the time.

What, exactly, are you talking about?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
Hopefully, with PS4 using a custom version of OpenGL for it's games, dev's will stick with it when porting over to the PC.

Devs often port onto D3D on windows, even if they already have the engine in OGL, because the D3D drivers are usually a lot more stable than the OGL drivers.
schmidtbag 23rd July 2013, 15:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hustler
Such a shame OpenGL fell behind DirectX, due to Microsoft's bully boy tactics....I always found OpenGL games had far nicer graphics at the time.

I too don't understand this. OpenGL is very capable of competing against DX. In many cases, it outperforms DX and I believe it supports all of the same features.
Corky42 23rd July 2013, 17:23 Quote
I cant speak for Hustler, but im guessing he/she was referring to the early days of OpenGL and DirectX when both where competing for the crown of best/fastest API for games.

During the days of GLQuake, and the Voodoo cards Microsoft started to push DirectX as the better API, some people at the time considered the tactics Microsoft used to be rather agresive and biased http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_OpenGL_and_Direct3D#Early_debate
Quote:
Microsoft had marketed Direct3D as faster based on in-house performance comparisons of these two software libraries

In the end Microsoft won the day as they managed to convince developers of the supposed advantages of DirectX vs OpenGL.
Stanley Tweedle 23rd July 2013, 18:45 Quote
In the old days nvidia supported stereoscopic 3d through OpenGL as well as direct x. Apparently they had to drop support of opengl because it was unstable so now we only get stereoscopic with direct x.

I don't know what games people have played that look better under OpenGL because I've always found OpenGL stuff dated. I suspect OpenGL is capable but for some reason all of the stuff I've seen based on it seems to look sooo yesterday. If anyone has links to stuff on OpenGL as good as dx I'd like to see? Isn't Rage OpenGL? I guess that's one good example.
Corky42 23rd July 2013, 19:33 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stanley Tweedle
In the old days nvidia supported stereoscopic 3d through OpenGL as well as direct x. Apparently they had to drop support of opengl because it was unstable so now we only get stereoscopic with direct x.

I don't know what games people have played that look better under OpenGL because I've always found OpenGL stuff dated. I suspect OpenGL is capable but for some reason all of the stuff I've seen based on it seems to look sooo yesterday. If anyone has links to stuff on OpenGL as good as dx I'd like to see? Isn't Rage OpenGL? I guess that's one good example.

Back in the days of Quake before Nvidia acquired 3DFX, OpenGL was far superior to DirectX imho.

http://www.cescg.org/CESCG-2000/MHadwiger/figure6.jpg


I also found a YouTube video comparing normal Quake to GLQuake sorry it goes on for a while, its all i could find.

kn_SzSTZ8bU

Just found a more up to date comparison.

HC3JGG6xHN8
Stanley Tweedle 23rd July 2013, 20:06 Quote
3DFX... fond memories.

I actually forgot the Unigine benchmarks work in OpenGL too!

I must try OpenGL mode on my system too.
AiA 23rd July 2013, 21:13 Quote
I always thought the Direct X would be limited by microsoft, once they entered the console market, So the only reason i can see for them to make improvements is because of the likes of OpenGL

is my thinking correct? as i am not that familiar with either software.
Corky42 24th July 2013, 08:24 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by AiA
I always thought the Direct X would be limited by microsoft, once they entered the console market, So the only reason i can see for them to make improvements is because of the likes of OpenGL

is my thinking correct? as i am not that familiar with either software.

Not sure correct/incorrect is the right way of describing it
The two API's are just different ways of getting the same(ish) results.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_OpenGL_and_Direct3D#Comparison
Quote:
Outside of a few minor functional differences which have mostly been addressed over the years, the two APIs provide nearly the same level of function. Hardware and software makers generally respond rapidly to changes in DirectX, e.g. pixel processor and shader requirements in DirectX 9 to stream processors in DirectX 10, while new features in OpenGL are mainly implemented first by vendors and afterward retroactively applied to the standard.

From my understanding Direct3D makes it easier to develop games, where as OpenGL increases the complexity of creating an implementation (or driver) that performs well. And DirectX is Microsoft only, OpenGL is cross platform.
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