The Khronos Group has unveiled the latest version of its OpenGL graphics standard at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.
OpenGL version 4.0 is faster and more efficient than previous iterations, the organisation said, and includes two new shader stages that enable the GPU to offload geometry tessellation from the CPU.
It also offers 64-bit double precision floating point shader operations, along with performance improvements including instanced geometry shaders, instanced arrays and a new timer query.
"This brings us onto a level playing field with DirectX 11," Neil Trevett, president of the Khronos Group and vice president at Nvidia, told V3.co.uk.
"As a royalty-free cross-platform standard it grows the market for everyone. There's a lot more flexibility in the application programming interface, and we've added significant performance enhancements."
The new standard will also form the basis for improvements to OpenGL ES, the graphics system used in the vast majority of smartphones on the market, and will allow the introduction of 3D interfaces for such devices.
The Khronos Group has also released the OpenGL 3.3 specification, together with a set of ARB extensions, to enable as much OpenGL 4.0 functionality as possible on previous-generation GPU hardware.
"AMD sees the release of OpenGL 4.0 as another major accomplishment for the OpenGL ARB," said Ben Bar-Haim, vice president of design engineering at AMD.
"AMD contributes to the Khronos workgroups, and we consistently find that Khronos is successful at developing healthy, thriving and evolving open standards such as OpenGL and OpenCL."
The full specification is available for download at the OpenGL Registry.
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