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OpenGL ES 3.1 Delivers Desired Features of OpenGL 4.4

18 March 2014 5,161 views No Comment


Significant functional enhancements to the industry-leading, royalty-free 3D graphics API that is used on nearly all of the world’s mobile devices — here comes OpenGL ES 3.1, which provides access to state-of-the-art GPU functionality with portability across diverse mobile and embedded operating systems and platforms.

Khronos Group, the gardeners and guardians of these things, has announced the release of the OpenGL ES 3.1 standard, which is all about pumping mobile pixels.

“OpenGL ES 3.1 provides the most desired features of desktop OpenGL 4.4 in a form suitable for mobile devices,” said Tom Olson, chair, OpenGL ES working group and Director of Graphics Research, ARM. “It provides developers with the ability to use cutting-edge graphics techniques on devices that are shipping today.”

• Features of the OpenGL ES 3.1 specification include:
— Compute shaders – applications can use the GPU to perform general computing tasks, tightly coupled with graphics rendering. Compute shaders are written in the GLSL ES shading language, and can share data with the graphics pipeline
— Separate shader objects – applications can program the vertex and fragment shader stages of the GPU independently, and can mix and match vertex and fragment programs without an explicit linking step
— Indirect draw commands – the GPU can be instructed to take draw commands from its memory rather than waiting for commands from the CPU. For example, this allows a compute shader running on the GPU to perform a physics simulation and then generate the draw commands needed to display the results, without CPU intervention
Enhanced texturing functionality – including multisample textures, stencil textures, and texture gather
— Shading language improvements – new arithmetic and bitfield operations, and features to enable modern styles of shader programming
— Optional extensions – per-sample shading, advanced blending modes, and more
— Backward compatibility with OpenGL ES 2.0 and 3.0 – programmers can add ES 3.1 functionality incrementally to working ES 2.0 and 3.0 applications

Interested parties can view/download the full OpenGL ES 3.1 spec and materials.

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