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Khronos Releases OpenGL ES 3.1 Uses Royalty-Free 3D Graphics API

Able to used on virtually all smartphones and tablets, OpenGL ES 3.1 adds advanced 3D features and integrated GPU computing.


Khronos’s has recently released OpenGL ES 3.1 specifications that bring significant functionality enhancements to nearly all of the world’s mobile devices. OpenGL ES 3.1 provides access to state-of-the-art graphics processing unit (GPU) functionality across diverse mobile and embedded operating systems and platforms.

“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 of the OpenGL ES working group and Director of Graphics Research at ARM. “It provides developers with the ability to use cutting-edge graphics techniques on devices that are shipping today.”

Key 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.

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.

At this year’s GDC (Game Developers Conference) there were sessions on OpenGL ES 3.1 where Khronos was showing the new kit.

“The certain future of graphics is mobile and with multiple advanced features the Khronos OpenGL ES 3.1 specification takes a significant step forward for mobile and embedded graphics; bringing mobile platforms closer in line with performance and feature set expectations of the very capable desktops and consoles of years past,” said Jon Peddie, president of JPR.

Conformance – Enhancing the User Experience

The OpenGL ES working group at Khronos expects to update the OpenGL ES Adopter’s Program to provide extensive conformance tests for OpenGL ES 3.1 within three months, enabling implementers of the specification to gain access to source code for Conformance Tests and to use the OpenGL ES trademark on products that pass the defined testing procedure. This ensures that conformant OpenGL ES implementations provide a reliable, cross-platform graphics programming platform.

“We returned yesterday from a week of meetings with Khronos members and key industry figures in the well-established Chinese smartphone market; and we expect to see an increased adoption of OpenGL ES in China,” said Erik Noreke, VP business development of Khronos Group. “There are a growing number of Chinese SOC companies providing the Chinese market with mobile platforms supporting high performance 3D graphics; and with OpenGL ES 3.1 they are able to continue supporting the growing consumer demand for high resolution 3D enabled devices.”

For more about The Khronos Group

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