OpenGL 1.3 Specification Released
11:35 AM | Michael Eilers | Comment on this story
While Mac users are no doubt thrilled at being included in the next great revolution in game graphics, via NVIDIA's GeForce 3 and ATI's Radeon 8500, on the PC side both of these cards brag of DirectX 8.0 or 8.1 compatibility. As there is no such API on the Mac platform, does this mean that PC users will get special graphics effects and features that we will not?
As both NVIDIA and ATI have promised, their next-generation cards will have a full feature set on Mac as well as PC, through the graphics standard OpenGL. And in an announcement which falls too close to the Radeon 8500 launch for mere coincidence, the OpenGL Architecture Review Board has announced the latest version of this open-architecture, cross-platform graphics API. Version 1.3 continues to expand this API by adding support for many of the technologies discussed in our preview article of the Radeon 8500 -- multisampling FSAA, texture apply modes and more.
Here's an excerpt from the press release:
SGI (NYSE: SGI - news), a leading provider of high-performance computing and visualization solutions for technical and creative users, and the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) today announced the availability of the OpenGLŪ 1.3 specification. With new features and functionality designed to increase the level of graphics quality and realism, the release represents the latest enhancement to the industry's leading cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics application programming interface (API). OpenGL 1.3 implementations are expected to be available for various platforms later this year.It seems clear that SGI and the OpenGL ARB intend to keep feature parity between OpenGL and DirectX, which is good news for Mac gamers and future owners of either NVIDIA or ATI cards.
The OpenGL 1.3 specification evolved with input from both the OpenGL ARB, an independent consortium, and interested outside parties, reflecting predominant trends in the graphics hardware industry. The ARB's process of enhancing OpenGL includes evaluating extensions and determining which to incorporate and how they should be officially supported within the API. In OpenGL 1.3, several additional features and functions have been ratified and brought into the API's core functionality. These core features enhance OpenGL in the following ways:
- Cube map texturing -- for higher quality environment mapping and
- Multisampling -- for order-independent anti-aliased rendering of
points, lines and polygons
- New texture modes that provide more powerful ways of applying textures to rendered objects:
-- Texture Add Environment mode
-- Texture Combine Environment mode
-- Texture Dot3 Environment mode
-- Texture Border Filtering mode
- Compressed texture framework -- to allow higher quality textures in
less memory regardless of file format
``Since SGI introduced the OpenGL API in 1992, it has grown into the industry's leading cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API and its presence continues to grow every day. Applications in markets such as CAD, content creation, energy, entertainment, game development, manufacturing, medical and VRML will benefit from the breadth of platform accessibility and depth and quality of functionality of the new OpenGL 1.3 API,'' said Paul McNamara, vice president of products and platforms, SGI.
OpenGL 1.3 Press Release
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