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Thread: Official feedback on OpenGL 4.4 thread

  1. #1
    Administrator Regular Contributor Khronos_webmaster's Avatar
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    Official feedback on OpenGL 4.4 thread

    July 22nd 2013 – SIGGRAPH - Anaheim, CA – The Khronos™ Group today announced the immediate release of the OpenGL® 4.4 specification,bringing the very latest graphics functionality to the most advanced and widely adopted cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics API (application programming interface). OpenGL 4.4 unlocks capabilities of today’s leading-edge graphics hardware while maintaining full backwards compatibility, enabling applications to incrementally use new features while portably accessing state-of-the-art graphics processing units (GPUs) across diverse operating systems and platforms. Also, OpenGL 4.4 defines new functionality to streamline the porting of applications and titles from other platforms and APIs. The full specification and reference materials are available for immediate download at http://www.opengl.org/registry.

    In addition to the OpenGL 4.4 specification, the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) Working Group at Khronos has created the first set of formal OpenGL conformance tests since OpenGL 2.0. Khronos will offer certification of drivers from version 3.3, and full certification is mandatory for OpenGL 4.4 and onwards. This will help reduce differences between multiple vendors’ OpenGL drivers, resulting in enhanced portability for developers.

    New functionality in the OpenGL 4.4 specification includes:

    Buffer Placement Control (GL_ARB_buffer_storage)
    Significantly enhances memory flexibility and efficiency through explicit control over the position of buffers in the graphics and system memory, together with cache behavior control - including the ability of the CPU to map a buffer for direct use by a GPU.

    Efficient Asynchronous Queries
    (GL_ARB_query_buffer_object)
    Buffer objects can be the direct target of a query to avoid the CPU waiting for the result and stalling the graphics pipeline. This provides significantly boosted performance for applications that intend to subsequently use the results of queries on the GPU, such as dynamic quality reduction strategies based on performance metrics.

    Shader Variable Layout (GL_ARB_enhanced_layouts)
    Detailed control over placement of shader interface variables, including the ability to pack vectors efficiently with scalar types. Includes full control over variable layout inside uniform blocks and enables shaders to specify transform feedback variables and buffer layout.

    Efficient Multiple Object Binding (GL_ARB_multi_bind)
    New commands which enable an application to bind or unbind sets of objects with one API call instead of separate commands for each bind operation, amortizing the function call, name space lookup, and potential locking overhead. The core rendering loop of many graphics applications frequently bind different sets of textures, samplers, images, vertex buffers, and uniform buffers and so this can significantly reduce CPU overhead and improve performance.

    Streamlined Porting of Direct3D applications

    A number of core functions contribute to easier porting of applications and games written in Direct3D including GL_ARB_buffer_storage for buffer placement control, GL_ARB_vertex_type_10f_11f_11f_rev which creates a vertex data type that packs three components in a 32 bit value that provides a performance improvement for lower precision vertices and is a format used by Direct3D, and GL_ARB_texture_mirror_clamp_to_edge that provides a texture clamping mode also used by Direct3D.Extensions released alongside the OpenGL 4.4 specification include:

    Bindless Texture Extension (GL_ARB_bindless_texture)
    Shaders can now access an effectively unlimited number of texture and image resources directly by virtual addresses. This bindless texture approach avoids the application overhead due to explicitly binding a small window of accessible textures. Ray tracing and global illumination algorithms are faster and simpler with unfettered access to a virtual world's entire texture set.

    Sparse Texture Extension (GL_ARB_sparse_texture)
    Enables handling of huge textures that are much larger than the GPUs physical memory by allowing an application to select which regions of the texture are resident for ‘mega-texture’ algorithms and very large data-set visualizations.


    OpenGL BOF at SIGGRAPH, Anaheim, CA July 24th 2013
    There is an OpenGL BOF “Birds of a Feather” Meeting on Wednesday July 24th at 7-8PM at the Hilton Anaheim, California Ballroom A & B, where attendees are invited to meet OpenGL implementers and developers and learn more about the new OpenGL 4.4 specification.
    Webmaster Khronos.org and OpenGL.org

  2. #2
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    full certification is mandatory for OpenGL 4.4 and onwards
    This on it's own is cause for joy. Any chance of mandatory full certification being brought back to earlier versions as time goes by and drivers mature?

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    Intern Contributor Godlike's Avatar
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    The ARB extensions (bindless texture & sparse texture) sound way more interesting/useful compared to the core ones. Also, having updated specs and new extensions backed by ARB every year is really great for the GL developers.
    Last edited by Godlike; 07-22-2013 at 09:03 AM.

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    Intern Contributor nigels's Avatar
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    GLEW 1.10.0 is now available, including GL 4.4 support.
    http://glew.sourceforge.net/

    - Nigel
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    Regal - as OpenGL ought to be

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    and full certification is mandatory for OpenGL 4.4 and onwards
    This is so awesome. We can only hope this won't slow down spec adoption even further.

    The other features sound cool as well, but we'll see how it works out in practice. GL_ARB_buffer_storage, GL_ARB_query_buffer_object, GL_ARB_multibind ... very interesting.

  6. #6
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    Issue #9 for GL_ARB_buffer_storage makes for fairly grim reading, unfortunately...

    It's a pity as this could have been the kick up the jacksie that GL's buffer object API really needed, and the issue in question should really have been resolved by just saying "this is client memory, full stop, using incompatible flags generates an error, here are the flags that are incompatible and the vendors will have to just live with it", but it seems another case of shooting too high and missing the basic requirement as a result.

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    Quote Originally Posted by mhagain View Post
    Issue #9 for GL_ARB_buffer_storage makes for fairly grim reading, unfortunately...
    Have to agree...
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    Quote Originally Posted by thokra View Post
    This is so awesome. We can only hope this won't slow down spec adoption even further.

    The other features sound cool as well, but we'll see how it works out in practice. GL_ARB_buffer_storage, GL_ARB_query_buffer_object, GL_ARB_multibind ... very interesting.
    How do you figure? The spec is mulled over by members of all GPGPU vendors. They are the ones who signed off on it. This strikes me as an official commitment by the vendors to make OpenGL a solid and fully commited spec.

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    My 2 cents on Issue #9 of GL_ARB_buffer_storage: the ultimate causes is that there are so, so many ways that buffer object data may reside. Indeed, there is the traditional dedicated video card where the client-server thing makes sense. But there are lots of other situations in UMA land. Memory unified but not cached by CPU, cached by CPU, shared cache between CPU and GPU [whatever that exactly means], if GPU can page memory.. the list goes on and on.

    At the end of the day, I think the new console folks are laughing at the whole thing because in that environment how the memory is can be precisely specified by the developer. Oh well. Life goes on.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by mhagain
    Issue #9 for GL_ARB_buffer_storage makes for fairly grim reading, unfortunately...
    True, but one will have to see how it plays out in practice. It should still work out pretty nicely with non-UMA setups.

    Quote Originally Posted by mdriftmeyer
    This strikes me as an official commitment by the vendors to make OpenGL a solid and fully commited spec.
    AFAIK, AMD sadly doesn't have a fully compliant GL4.3 driver out by the time GL4.4 is released ... that's how I figure. Let's not even speak of Intel. I'm not bashing them, it's just an observation. Also, we have no idea if the conformance tests are only specified or already fully implemented and whatnot. Talking the talk isn't walking the walk ...

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