Silicon Graphics Inc. (SGI) and the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) used this week’s SIGGRAPH show in San Diego, Calif. to formally announce the
1.5 specification. The new specification for the application programming interface (API) paves the way for new levels of graphics realism in 3D software, according to its proponents.
The new 1.5 specification adds the OpenGL Shading Language. The new extensions to OpenGL are anticipated to form the foundation of OpenGL 2.0, an even more advanced of the open-standard API supported on multiple platforms. The OpenGL Shading Language itself enables graphic cards to support the same high-level shading technology regardless of vendor or platform. The organizations indicated that OpenGL 1.5 will be supported by graphics card vendors in forthcoming products expected later this year.
In addition to the OpenGL Shading Language v1.0, other enhancements in OpenGL 1.5 include the addition of Vertex Buffer Object, which enables higher performance 3D rendering; Occlusion Query, which provides an asynchronous occlusion test for better culling; and Non power-of-two Textures, which uses texture memory more efficiently.
OpenGL is leveraged heavily by Apple in Mac OS X. The company sits as a voting member on the OpenGL Architecture Review Board along with industry heavyweights like ATI, Nvidia, Evans & Sutherland, IBM and others.