OpenGL releases improved interface

OpenGL maker Khronos has announced a new version of its software giving it a facelift.

OpenGL 4.0 will have a better interface to make advanced graphics easier for programmers to handle.It also adds more support for using a graphics processing unit (GPU) for other computing chores and for tesselation.

OpenGL is a rival to DirectX and version 4 is supposed to compete with DirectX 11. Khronos, which oversees the standard, announced Version 4 at the Game Developers Conference yesterday.

OpenGL 4.0 works with OpenCL, which lets graphics chips handle many chores that otherwise would be the work of the main processor. OpenGL 4.0 has two new shader stages that enable the GPU to offload geometry tessellation from the CPU.

Data generated by OpenGL, or external APIs such as OpenCL, can be worked without needing the CPU.  Version 4 has shader subroutines to make it easier to program.

There is a separation of texture state and texture data through the addition of a new object type called sampler objects.The standard allows 64-bit double precision floating point shader operations and inputs/outputs for increased rendering accuracy and quality.

There are also the usual battery of performance improvements, including instanced geometry shaders, instanced arrays, and a new timer query.