25 July 2013

OpenGL 4.4

OpenGL 4.4
OpenGL 4.4 has just arrived!
Similarly as it was in the last year, Khronos announced new version of OpenGL at SIGGRAPH 2013. This time it is only a minor update - there are no big features in this release. This version completes the OpenGL 4 and now we can hopefully wait for the OpenGL 5.0
Aditionally we have new OpenCL 2.0 as well so it is another great things from Khronos.

Links

At first some links to look for more info:

My view

Several items that gained my attention:
In general you can call:
GLuint texIDs[N] = { tex0, tex1, tex2, ... }
glBindTextures(0, N, texIDS);
This will do:
glActiveTexImage(GL_TEXTURE0);
glBindTexture(GL_TEXTURE_2D, tex0);
glActiveTexImage(GL_TEXTURE1);
glBindTexture(GL_TEXTURE_2D, tex1);
...
glActiveTexImage(GL_TEXTUREN);
glBindTexture(GL_TEXTURE_2D, texN);
  • GL_ARB_clear_texture- clears a texture, without having to render to it using FBO or copy data from client's memory. Very nice and intuitive way of doing it.
  • GL_ARB_buffer_storageGL_ARB_vertex_type_10f_11f_11f_revGL_ARB_texture_mirror_clamp_to_edge - those quite simple features can help when porting apps from DirectX.
  • GL_ARB_buffer_storage - adding immutability to buffers. I still need to dig how that's useful and what implications does it have.
  • Conformance tests - this is probably the most important news regarding OpenGL community. Basically Khronos updated (or will update) conformance tests so that each driver will have to be checked against it (from OpenGL 4.4). That way we should have a bit better drivers and what is more important those driver should produce the same results. That would be the 'ideal' future of course. In real world even passing a conformance test can still does not prove proper results. Read more about those doubts in g-truc opengl review [pdf].

Conclusion

Those changes make developer's life a bit easier, but they are not a breakthrough. They all complete OpenGL 4.0 functionality. Hopefully extensions like sparse_textures and bindless_texture were promoted to ARB, so maybe we will see them in core of OpenGL 5.0.
By the way 1: NVidia made a patent out of bindless_texture, I wonder how will it complicate moving this extension to the opengl core.
By the way 2: it is positively surprised that some people from Poland (from Intel - Gdansk) were mentioned in the credits page!

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