Silicon Graphics announces OpenGL 2.0

Los Angeles (CA) - Silicon Graphics and the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) today announced a version of the OpenGL specification, incorporating support for the OpenGL Shading Language application programming interfaces (API) and promising to allow photo-realistic real-time 3D graphics.

Silicon Graphics used the Siggraph 2004 tradeshow for the announcement of OpenGL 2.0, which the company believes will have a major impact on how 3D graphics will look like in the future.

A significant new feature of the new specification is the Shading Language, which has been field tested for a year within the ARB standardization process. Potential applications include cinematic quality images for games, more realistic imagery for training and simulation, better analysis tools for medical visualization, and more true-to-life simulated environments for designing and styling manufactured products, according to Silicon Graphics.

Since its introduction in 2003, OpenGL Shading Language has become a popular supported shading language for developing interactive graphics and visualization applications.

Other new features of the 2.0 spec include multiple render targets, two-sided stencil to be able to define stencil functionality for the front and back faces of primitives, improving performance of shadow volume and constructive solid geometry rendering algorithms. Point sprites replace point texture coordinates with texture coordinates interpolated across the point which allows drawing points as customized textures, useful for particle systems.