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Monday, February 25, 2002
OpenGL 2.0 Details
6:00 AM | Eddie Park | Comment on this story

Tom's Hardware posted an article on Friday by Jon Peddie that describes features of 3Dlabs's proposals for the next generation of the OpenGL API, version 2.0.

As most readers are aware, OpenGL, Mac OS's 3D graphics API of choice, and Direct3D, one of Microsoft's proprietary DirectX APIs, have been competing for the attention of game and video hardware developers.

Though Peddie's article is heavily laden with technical jargon, the main gist is that 3Dlabs, a member of the OpenGL Architectural Review Board (ARB), is seeking to close OpenGL's gap with Direct3D by embracing programmability:

Up to now the attempts at bringing programmability into the API have happened through the extensions procedure. This has contributed to the bewildering number of extensions... (Over 230 OpenGL extensions have been defined. Nvidia's extension documentation is 500+ pages, while the OpenGL 1.3 specification itself is only 284 pages.) So, OpenGL faces a number of critical issues.

Although today OpenGL can be implemented on a chip, lately the ARB has been working backwards and discussing which features from existing chips to standardize, hardly a positive dynamic for a forward-looking industry standard. OpenGL does not provide hardware independent access to the new programmable processors, so the current direction is to expose multiple hardware architectures through vendor-specific extensions. However, IP (intellectual property) threats have been holding up broader adoption of these extensions. The question being asked is: are IP issues causing a lack of progress or are they a symptom of a deeper problem?

At the ARB meeting held in September 2001, 3DLabs presented its vision for OpenGL 2.0. In the past, SGI was the de facto leader of the ARB and a bellwether for the next generation of extensions. With SGI wisely spending its resources on reorganizing the company, 3DLabs has taken a more aggressive role in the committee...

In fact, one of the first orders of business addressed by the ARB was the need to move beyond the ATI and Nvidia vertex shader extension debate. This was efficiently done as both companies huddled and worked out a strategy to develop an interim vertex shader. The process was both facilitated and devoutly wished for by Apple, which uses graphics technology from both Nvidia and ATI. Suddenly, the ARB looks like a forward-moving body with vision and goals.

The group accepted 3DLabs' offer to develop an architecture for OpenGL 2.0, and they've plotted a clear course. As is probably already obvious, the primary and most immediate goal for OpenGL is to enable and exploit hardware programmability.

The article contains in-depth looks at various proposed OpenGL 2.0 features and issues. Those who wish to check out the whole article can find it at Tom's Hardware.
3Dlabs: OpenGL 2.0 White Papers
Tom's Hardware: OpenGL 2.0 - Out to Save Programmable Graphics

Other Mac Games News for Monday, February 25, 2002

IMG Interview on Sony's Station.com12:17 PM
Custer's Return to Wolfenstein10:05 AM
GameSpot Previews The Sims Online for PC9:48 AM
The Making of Star Wars: Galactic Battlegrounds9:46 AM
Feral Status Check; Sheep, CM Updates6:00 AM
Lineage DNS Fix6:00 AM
Major Harpoon3 for OS X Update6:00 AM
• OpenGL 2.0 Details6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Monday, February 25, 2002 on one page

Mac Games News for Friday, February 22, 2002

Civilization III Patched to Version 1.17f1:23 PM
Captain Bumper Updated to Version 1.1312:52 PM
IMG Reviews the ATI Radeon 700011:03 AM
GameSpy Interviews MOO3 Developers9:20 AM
Blizzard Strikes Back at Hackers8:32 AM
Return to Dark Castle Beta 8 Adds OS X Support6:00 AM
Trade Wars RPG Q&A6:00 AM
Updated Wolfenstein Requirements (Updated)6:00 AM
WWII Online Mac Update6:00 AM
View all of the Mac games news for Friday, February 22, 2002 on one page

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