GDC: OpenGL 4.0 specs released

New version hailed as a â??major step forwardâ?
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Khronos Group is out in force at GDC this week, with the firm releasing the full specifications for OpenGL 4.0 – the latest version of its popular application programming interface.

"The release of OpenGL 4.0 is a major step forward in bringing state-of-the-art functionality to cross-platform graphics acceleration, said Barthold Lichtenbelt, OpenGL ARB working group chair and senior manager Core OpenGL at Nvidia.

Lichtenbelt also revealed that his firm’s upcoming Fermi-based graphics accelerators will fully support OpenGL 4.0 at launch.

AMD joined the string of companies that praised the new OpenGL format. Ben Bar-Haim, vice president of design engineering at AMD, said OpenGL 4.0 was a “major accomplishment for the OpenGL ARB."

OpenGL 4.0’s specification includes the GLSL 4.00 update to the OpenGL Shading language, which can empower developers with access to new GPU acceleration tech.

Further list of specifications and additions can be found below

1) Two new shader stages that enable the GPU to offload geometry tessellation from the CPU;

2) Per-sample fragment shaders and programmable fragment shader input positions for increased rendering quality and anti-aliasing flexibility;

3) Drawing of data generated by OpenGL, or external APIs such as OpenCL, without CPU intervention;

4) shader subroutines for significantly increased programming flexibility;

5) separation of texture state and texture data through the addition of a new object type called sampler objects;

6) 64-bit double precision floating point shader operations and inputs/outputs for increased rendering accuracy and quality;

7) performance improvements, including instanced geometry shaders, instanced arrays, and a new timer query.