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The State of OpenGL

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the graphic-violence dept.

Graphics 273

CowboyRobot writes "No longer vapor, but a true 3D-embedded engine, OpenGL is on the move. Pixar and others would love to be able to render their movies in realtime, and that desire has prompted the intended release of OpenGL 2.0, due in a few months. Khronos is now in charge of further extending OpenGL to cellphones and handheld gaming devices."

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FIRST POST! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815771)


d00t!~ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815778)

d00t!~d00t!~d00t!~d00t!~d00t!~d00t!~ FP!~

Re:d00t!~ (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815804)


Pixlet (0, Informative)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815782)

Pixar and others would love to be able to render their movies in realtime,

Ummmm......Pixlet [] .

Re:Pixlet (4, Informative)

PurdueGraphicsMan (722107) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815817)

Pixlet is for playback (a codec), not for rendering films. Unless I'm missing something in your post.

Re:Pixlet (2, Interesting)

dasmegabyte (267018) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816551)

Unless I'm missing something in your post.

Nope. He's just another tech wiseass who prizes seeming smart over being accurate.

Re:Pixlet (1)

LousyPhreak (550591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815854)

Pixlet is the first studio-grade codec for filmmakers, and it's available exclusively in Mac OS X v10.3 Panther. Tuned for use with high-definition source, it allows digital film frames to play back in real time on any 1Ghz G4.

and what exactly has that to do with rendering?

customer: show me your best cabriolet
salesman: well we have this used bike here...

Re:Pixlet (1)

PurdueGraphicsMan (722107) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815910)

customer: show me your best cabriolet
salesman: well we have this used bike here...


Re:Pixlet (-1, Insightful)

BWJones (18351) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816015)

Jeez have you moderators and commenters all lost your minds or do you simply not know what the parent poster is talking about? How do you think full resolution DV is rendered down for editing and distribution? The question in the story post was Pixar and others would love to be able to render their movies in realtime,, and that is exactly what Pixlet was designed to address. In fact, the referenced article is talking exactly about compression to deliver 3D and video on devices other than computers like cell phones and other devices needing small footprints.

Think before you mod or reply and read the articles.

Re:Pixlet (3, Interesting)

PurdueGraphicsMan (722107) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816163)

When the article talks about rendering in real-time it isn't talking about the compressed/flattened video playing a full frame rate, it's talking about OpenGL being able to calculate/shade/render a model in realtime verses waiting X mins/hours for a frame to render. It's talking about the process of converting vector data to raster data.

Re:Pixlet (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816201)

There is a bit of lunacy afoot; start looking at the troll postings, then at these people's journals, and you discover that there are "troll rings".

Their evil (no, actually boring and stupid) plan:

* come up with cheap and easy ways to get modded up (karma whoring).

Ways to karma whore include: These posting the article text early on, stealing people's posts far down in the discussion and reposting on an earlier thread, and reposting comments from other people on other threads with similar topics.

* a bunch of trolls simultaneously get moderator points

* in a coordinated fashion, they label on-topic posts as offtopic and attempt to steer the whole discussion in absurd directions, usually by recycling troll and flamebait posts that have worked in the past.

These people are sad and lonely. I feel sorry for them. Maybe someday they'll feel the joy of accomplishing something that most would appreciate and call constructive. Otherwise, I fear that they'll eventually discover the wonders of heroin.

Re:Pixlet (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816203)


so if something uses the word "rendering" in it, it's on topic.

3d rendering is one thing.

video rendering is something completely different.

they are as different as me "rendering" something in charcoal on a napkin.

but hey..if yelling at moderators gets you points...don't let me stand in your way.

Re:Pixlet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816243)

You have spoken...unwisely, grasshoppertroll.

Once you can walk across the discussion, without leaving a trace, then you can call yourself a troll.

Re:Pixlet (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816220)

-1 Factually incorrect.
You may want to look up the definition of "rendering" ("The process of creating an image (on the screen or some other medium) of a model".
Pixlet has nothing to do with rendering except as a working format for the already rendered images. The article is talking about OpenGL, a 3D API, which is suitable for rendering, not about what happens with the rendered pictures (which could be compression [] with pixlet).

Re:Pixlet (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815856)

OpenGL is Dead (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815784)

DirectX has won the war, with better features, performance, and availability.

Once again, Microsoft rules. They really are the most innovative and resilient software companies in the world.

Re:OpenGL is Dead (-1, Redundant)

s2kPirate (739887) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815836)

I think I'm gonna actually cry. That is the saddest thing I have ever read on Slashdot. :~(

Re:OpenGL is Dead (5, Funny)

b0r0din (304712) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815882)

I thought we told you not to come back here after that Monkey Boy Dance incident [] , Steve.

Re:OpenGL is Dead (5, Informative)

Xeo 024 (755161) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815909)

DirectX has won the war, with better features, performance, and availability.

I don't know about availability, OpenGL is cross-platform (works on OS X, Linux, Windows, etc.) while DirectX is Windows only. OpenGL is also included with many if not all graphic cards. So it's just as widely available, if not more, than DirectX.

Re:OpenGL is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816069)

Windows only means about 90% of PCs out there, so it does win in availability. Who cares about the 3% that use OS X, and the 2% that use Linux?

Re:OpenGL is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816147)

So, by your logic,

90% + 3% + 2% 90%

Wow, you're a fucking idiot.

Re:OpenGL is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816502)

Since you're so sure of your position, perhaps you'd like to start up a gaming company that creates OpenGL-based windows, linux, and OS X games. You could make a killing supporting that extra 5% of potential gamers.

Oh wait, Linux users don't pay for games. And of course, you'd need to recompile, retest, redebug, etc. for 2 more platforms with negligible sales.

DirectX is easier to program for. That means faster development time and lower development costs. Most companies have decided the development savings with a MS lock-in are greater than the extra revenue from a couple fringe groups. If their game is a hit, they can sell/lease the rights to a Mac porting house.

But I guess an anonymous coward on slashdot knows more than an industry of succesful game developers.

Re:OpenGL is Dead (1)

the_demiurge (26115) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816164)

Yes, DirectX runs on those 90% running Windows.
So does OpenGL, and OpenGL can and does run on other platforms too. 95% is a larger percentage than 90%.

Re:OpenGL is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816435)

Yes, DirectX runs on those 90% running Windows.
I guess that's sufficient for the sheep running it. Some people don't like to be locked in like that, especially not to MS.

Re:OpenGL is Dead (1)

ImpTech (549794) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816349)

Whether you care about that last 5% or not, it still exists, and combined with the Windows 90% (to which OpenGL is most definitely available) you get 95% availability for OpenGL versus 90% availability for Direct3D. See, even with your faulty made-up numbers, OpenGL still comes out on top.

Re:OpenGL is Dead (3, Funny)

Damek (515688) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816216)

...Microsoft rules. They really are the most innovative and resilient software companies in the world.

So you acknowledge that they should be broken up into multiple companies? Groovy!

Re:OpenGL is Dead (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816513)

you must be new around here.

It's not "OpenGL is Dead"

Teh corretc way:

"Netcraft confirms: OpenGL is Dying"

then you put something like "suXXors!!!111" on the end of it.


Re:OpenGL is Dead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816588)

- Netcraft confirms: OpenGL is dying.

- OpenGL dead at 54

- OpenGL touched my junk liberally.

- frist Oepn GL psot!

- A petrified Natalie Portman wearing an Open GL 2.0 shirt covered in hotgrits

- I HAVE A GREASED UP YODA DOLL(wearing an opengl shirt) SHOVED UP MY ASS!

- Don't forget to pay your OpenGL $699 license fee, you cock-smoking faggots.

- In Soviet Russia, GL opens you.

- Imagine a Beowulf cluster of OpenGL cards.

- Open GL WAIT! ...nevermind.

article text (-1, Redundant)

seaswahoo (765528) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815803)

Get Your Graphics On: OpenGL Advances with the Times

ACM Queue vol. 2, no. 1 - March 2004
by Alexander Wolfe, Science Writer

Because so much compute power is required, render farms usually run offline.
The Old Graphics API
OpenGL, the decade-old mother of all graphics application programming interfaces (APIs), is getting two significant updates to bring it into the 21st century.

Accurately billed by its supporters as the premier environment for developing portable, interactive 2D and 3D graphics applications, OpenGL comes equipped with a broad set of rendering, texture mapping, special effects, and visualization functions.1 Faced with increased competition on the desktop from Microsoft's DirectX and D3D offerings, however, OpenGL is getting a bit long in the tooth.

Accordingly, the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (the independent consortium chartered in 1992 to guide the future of the API, which was originally developed and is still owned by Silicon Graphics2) has pushed ahead on the desktop and workstation front to provide a programmable implementation dubbed the OpenGL Shading Language.

Meanwhile, a spin-off organization called Khronos3 has been formed to extend the OpenGL brand into the emerging world of downsized devices such as cellphones and handheld gaming devices. There, it's taking the form of a new API called OpenGL ES, for "embedded systems."

The recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held this past January in Las Vegas, constituted the public coming-out party for Khronos. The OpenGL ES 1.0 spec itself was actually disclosed in July 2003 at Siggraph in San Diego.4 But CES saw the release of the first products to execute apps taking advantage of the spec, thus moving it from vapor status to a real, 3D-embedded engine.

Initially, ES support is coming in the form of software engines. Texas Instruments5 and Symbian6 have developed the 3D Graphics Library plug-in based on OpenGL ES 1.0 for Symbian OS-based mobile phones equipped with TI's OMAP digital signal processors. In addition, Fathammer has integrated OpenGL ES into its X-Forge game software development kit (SDK),7 which is used to develop apps for Nokia's N-Gage handheld wireless game unit.8

In keeping with its embedded design goal, these ES engineers are keeping a tight footprint--on the order of 100 kilobytes resident on the target platform.

Such software will be followed later this year by faster, dedicated integrated circuits and cores (the latter being intellectual property ready to be transformed into working silicon) now under development at ATI, NeoMagic, Takumi, and 3Dlabs itself.

OpenGL ES's proponents see it moving rapidly into a vacuum in the embedded space. To date, Java-compliant 3D graphics have come in the form of the Java 3D API. Many developers, however, believe Java 3D is at too low a level. An initial indication that ES may see service in the Java arena comes via the news that Sun Microsystems and Silicon Graphics plan to cooperate in developing bindings from the mobile J2ME runtime environment9 into OpenGL ES.

For its part, Microsoft is developing a competitive offering in the form of D3D Mobile. That API is an embedded version of DirectX; however, it's expected that D3D Mobile will be very closely tied to Microsoft's embedded operating system offerings such as Windows CE and Smartphone. As such, it could be a good while before it migrates to Java-based devices of Symbian cellphones.

If this seems like a swipe at Microsoft, consider at the same time that Redmond may be in a better position when it comes to tools support. Microsoft can easily fold D3D support into Visual Studio and the .NET Framework. In contrast, the OpenGL Architectural Review Board won't be a one-stop shop in charge of building support for OpenGL ES into any of the popular IDEs (integrated development environments). Rather, such support will come in multiple plug-ins from third parties, such as the vendors offering the various ES software and hardware engines.

ALEXANDER WOLFE received his electrical engineering degree from Cooper Union in New York City. A science writer based in Forest Hills, New York, he has contributed to IEEE Spectrum, EE Times, Embedded Systems Programming, and

Pages 2, 3 and 4 (-1, Redundant)

MrWim (760798) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816002)

Programmability Comes into Vogue While 2004 marks the infancy of good 3D graphics on compute-constrained handhelds, it will also see the move to programmability on desktops, which as a category finally has enough graphics-engine heft to merit such a transition. "In the last 18 months there's been a lot of activity on the desktop side toward making the [graphics] hardware programmable,"10 explains Neil Trevett, who has expertise in desktop graphics as a senior vice president at chip maker 3Dlabs, and also is a key contributor on the embedded side as chairman of the OpenGL ES working group. "A graphics chip is increasingly becoming like a CPU: It's multithreaded, it has virtual memory, it has intertask security, and it's programmable in a C-like language. The only difference is that graphics ICs are very parallel (as opposed to the main microprocessor), which is required so they can execute graphics more efficiently." Enter the OpenGL Shading Language, also known as OpenGL 2.0 (see figure 1).11 Due to hit the streets in a few months, the release will bring high-level shading programmability to OpenGL. It will expose a very C-like API and provide software developers with access to a wealth of graphics operations. Standard OpenGL offers a fixed set of functionality. This limitation has been forced by the fact that lots of compute power is required just to get polygons up on the screen. Now that graphics boards and ICs are powerful enough to off-load 3D processing from the main microprocessor (aka Pentium), however, OpenGL 2.0 is able to let programmers do things more flexibly without fear of bogging down the computer. Accordingly, 2.0 will provide programmable alternatives to some of the fixed functions currently available. For example, programmers will have the ability to explicitly get into the nuts and bolts of things like vertex processing and fragment processing. This will allow them to revamp things according to their own needs or to tune performance for specific hardware configurations. OpenGL 2.0 implements what's called a direct-compile model--that is, 2.0-compliant drivers will ship with built-in compilers. This means that a given graphics hardware/driver combination will take its OpenGL source code and compile it directly into machine code that runs on the graphics hardware. (The compilers themselves will be supplied by the individual graphics chip vendors.) "Over the next year or two, I think you're going to see a whole range of applications that use your graphics board as a supercomputer,"12 Trevett says enthusiastically. Realtime Rendering on the Horizon The turn toward programmability comes at a time when professional graphics developers are poised to make major advances. Consider that, currently, animated films are produced using large render farms--huge collections of workstations that crunch polygons to create a movie's individual frames. Because so much compute power is required, render farms usually run offline, taking a day's work and turning it into frames overnight so it's ready when the animators return in the morning. Recently, says Trevett, there's been interest from the photorealistic community in using newfound graphics programmability for doing movies such as "Toy Story" (2001) in realtime. "That's the dream everyone is going for,"13 he says. The goal is to take industrial-strength software--like the Renderman package that "Toy Story" producer Pixar uses--and accelerate it on graphics chips via programmability. The result would be that far fewer workstations would be needed to render a movie, and the cost-per-frame of rendering would come down significantly. Longer term, Trevett doesn't think that graphics software will stand still. "We haven't reached a stable state yet, either in the algorithms or the hardware," he says. "I think in 20 years we'll look back and be amazed at how primitive things were. The software community is still doing tremendously innovative work. This speaks to the fundamental market driver behind 3D graphics."14 Most immediately, software developers can access the OpenGL ES adopters' package at the Khronos Web site.15 An OpenGL ES code sample can be viewed on the ATI Technologies Web site.16 The sample is an OpenGL ES application written for Windows CE 4.2 that shows the initialization of OpenGL ES, the creation of some contexts and surfaces, and the use of some common profiling functions. The specification for the OpenGL Shading Language is available on the OpenGL Web site.17 Some often-heated discussions of its features can be found in the OpenGL group's forums.18 References 1. OpenGL: see 2. Silicon Graphics (SGI): see 3. The Khronos Group: see 4. Siggraph 2003: see 5. Texas Instruments: see lId=sc03095&prSection=overview. 6. Symbian: see 7. Fathammer: see 8. Nokia N-Gage: see 9. Wolfe, A. "Java is jumpin', this time for real,"ACM Queue 1,10 (Feb. 2004), 17-19. 10. Neil Trevett quotes come from a phone conversation with the author January 2, 2004. 11. For presentations describing OpenGL 2.0, visit the 3Dlabs Web site: ntations/index.htm. 12. See reference 9. 13. See reference 9. 14. See reference 9. 15. To download the OpenGL ES adopters' package, visit the Khronos Website: opter.html. 16. To view sample code, visit the ATI Web site: 17. The specifications for the OpenGL Shading Language are available on the OpenGL Website: ecV1.051.pdf. 18. OpenGL group forums: ory/forumdisplay.cgi?action=topics&number=7.

Re:article text (0, Offtopic)

eyeye (653962) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816112)

As a Gentoo user I am allready running OpenGL2, I compiled it overnight ;-)

Re:article text (4, Insightful)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816140)

Many developers, however, believe Java 3D is at too low a level.

Say what?
You don't get much higher-level than a scenegraph API like Java3D.

I think the author may have been confused, although he did get the overall point right. OpenGL ES on J2ME will probably be the way this goes.

Re:article text (1)

Mongoose (8480) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816226)

I'm glad this guy is an EE, since he doesn't seem to know wtf he's talking about in _software_ engineering terms. You can't compare DirectX and OpenGL. He's trying to say D3D is a better solution just because it's bundled with DirectX which is tied to Microsoft's IDE. If you want to only do WIN32 development, then sure DX is fine. However consider there is only one game console that uses D3D, and we all know how big a market share it has. Sure not all Playstation 2 titles use an OpenGL based engine, but many do. Where as all gamecube titles use nGL on ATI GPUs. Also if you want to bother to port your application to Linux or Mac OS you must use OpenGL. ( 64bit platforms are nice for addressing more memory for those models. Would you rather run Maya for example with more or less memory? )

I'm so sick of DX vs GL for PCs over the years too. They don't do the same thing. This is why Sam started SDL [] , and several vendors are making similar frameworks. I admit OGL doesn't support all the wiz, bang features in core. However if you really want performance, then using the vendor EXT ( extentions ) are the only way to go anyhow.

Re:article text (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816530)

Name one PS2 game that uses OpenGL.

Small Cell Screen (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815808)

Yay, I get to play around with 2x2 pixel rendered characters on the cell now.

Hey, maybe now... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815866)

... it can do its own shadows! Innovation!

Damn them (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815883)

When will they figure it out OpenGL is not necessarily desirable in a cellular phone?

I want business class reliability, not a the ability to rent subpar games on my cell phone for $5/month.

When I'm on the phone all day because of my work I want it to be there for important calls, not fizzle out after an hour because it's got a 640x480 pixel screen with 24-bit color.

Sun (5, Funny)

Brando_Calrisean (755640) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815946)

What about the ability to stick to-do notes on the BACK of your cellphone? Wouldn't that make mobile 3D worthwhile?!

Re:Damn them (2, Interesting)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815978)

no sh*t. imagine the battery drain from using a processor that can use openGL. who needs that crap. I'm all for openGL as a 3d standard, but cellphones don't need 3d. cellphones don't need games. Am i going to be ranting about cellphone batteries not lasting an hour, like i am with laptop batteries, in a year?

again, vote with your wallet.

Re:Damn them (1)

Esoteric Moniker (515235) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816122)

You can always go back to a 486 100Mhz and get outstanding battery life. Graphics are no different, you pay for your performance in battery life. Do you honestly think every cell manufacturer is going to slap these chips in all their phones if the battery life is terrible? No there will be consumer (for fun) phones i.e. N-Gage and professional (not for fun) phones that have no spiffy anything but "Just Work".

Re:Damn them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816194)

What if the battery life is in line with current (unacceptable as far as I'm concerned) battery life? What if they just put in a larger and more expensive battery to boost it up to be even with today's "standard" battery life?

You bet your ass they'll use them.

Re:Damn them (5, Insightful)

sbaker (47485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816346)

If there *is* going to be 3D on cellphones and PDA's then I'd much prefer that they ran a standard API than a non-standard one. Given that there really are only two 3D standards, I'd much rather it was OpenGL than Direct3D.

So - *IF* we want 3D then we want OpenGL.

But do we want 3D in cellphones?

The supposed 'killer app' for 3D on cellphones is the idea of using the positioning detecting capability of the phone - along with network access - to provide an annotated 3D map of your present location. Think of the navigation systems in cars - but in 3D - so you can find the elevator you need to get to a particular office in a big unfamiliar building - or find where you left your car in an multistory parking lot.

Games will obviously use the technology too.

I don't know whether this is important to people or not - but if 3D is happening, it should CERTAINLY be in OpenGL - initially a small subset - gradually improving to a full-blown implementation in every phone as the technology catches up.

Personally, I'd be much happier with a last-generation basic phone that had 10x battery life and didn't lose service quite so easily.

Can we get X-ray vision too? (3, Interesting)

cookie_cutter (533841) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816618)

Seriously, your suggestion just gave me an idea: if your 3d image enabled cell phone has centimeter resolution positioning information (not easy, I know), then you could use the screen as a "magic window" to see things that aren't physically there.

Which could be your target as a glowing orb, or a character in of a video game super-imposed on the actual landscape, or the trail your friend took through the same city two years ago, or just some construct representing an interesting thing about your environment, or ...

I think that would be a real killer app.

Re:Damn them (1)

LousyPhreak (550591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816041)

so you must be the only one to not wanting 24/7 support by.... clippy! (with opengl es even in 3d!)

Re:Damn them (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816062)

Maybe they'll make phone without games available for people like you (and me). Meanwhile if they get it going in cellular phones, the people who want games for whatever reason will have those phones available to them. I don't see any reason to oppose what they're doing unless you have some reason to believe it's going to be a universal standard.

Re:Damn them (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816120)

Renting those games cost $5 per month each or $10 for a single download. Ring tones cost $1 each is a billion dollar industry already.

They will give everyone a color phone with polyphonic ring tones to increase the potential market for rentable games and downloadable ring tones.

Isn't that what YOU'D do if you were a major dealer like Verizon?

Re:Damn them (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816258)

ok, so maybe it's not useful on cell phones, but Tapwave licenses the Fathammer engine, which utilizes OpenGL ES. this is a good thing, as the Tapwave is a killer gaming device, but it needs more AAA list games to get people interested. using Fathammer/OpenGL ES should provide the tools for developers to make this happen. yeah, Doom II has been ported to Tapwave Zodiac, whoop-dee-doo, but what i'd really like to see is GLQuake.....

Re:Damn them (2, Insightful)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816285)

So buy a phone with a black-and-white screen and long battery life. Nothing's stopping you.

Re:Damn them (1)

jackbird (721605) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816414)

Ah, yes... That worked as a strategy for laptop purchases for about a year and a half starting in 1994. Then they stopped selling them. Same thing is happening in cellpohnes now.

Re:Damn them (1, Informative)

HeghmoH (13204) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816605)

Two points:

First, they still sell black and white portable computers today, they've just shrunk; before they were 5-pound portables, now they're quarter-pound Palms.

Second, battery life, both for portable phones and portable computers, has been on the increase, not the decrease. My portable computer from the mid-90s (black and white, even) was lucky to get two hours. My giant, power-sucking G4 with a full-color 3D-accelerated screen is unlucky to get three hours; I can get five hours on light use. My girlfriend's full-color-screen, MIDI-playing, Java-gamed cell phone lasts for four days between charges. I see no reason for this trend to reverse; indeed, people tend to value battery life extremely highly, and so manufacturers value it accordingly highly.

Re:Damn them (1)

Mantorp (142371) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816627)

I'll gladly trade my 5 yr old nearly featureless phone for a brand spanking new quattro band gigaflop lcd Wi Fi processor sms zinc battery technological marvel.

Re:Damn them (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816302)

Something doesn't have to be "needed". Isn't "Wanted" good enough. I don't use a cell phone at all. But some people do. A lot of people don't use them for important things, or business things. They just like them. 3D games on a cell phone? Some people might like that. That's enough of a reason to make it available.

Re:Damn them (4, Insightful)

Azghoul (25786) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816322)

Hmm, funny, I don't remember you being declared the only person to own a cell phone.

How about realizing that there are other users out there? How about realizing that teenagers ( a gigantic market, by any measure ) might WANT their phones to play games?

Be a little more myopic next time, AC...

Re:Damn them (1)

Bandman (86149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816406)

Maybe OpenGL isn't desirable in a phone that you want to buy, but someone else might want it.

Re:Damn them (4, Insightful)

stienman (51024) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816509)

1) You are not their target audience.

2) Eventually cell phones, pdas, computers, entertainment devices (tivo,etc) will converge into one or two devices, one of which will be portable. This is one item on the continuum leading towards the ubiquitous always on computing device.

3) OpenGL on the cell phone is simply a way of saying, "OpenGL on any platform requiring 3d graphics." It's marketting. It may not be used heavily on cell phones, but perhaps new a new HDTV format will allow for an opengl data stream to place products in pretaped shows for different areas (ie, midwest viewers see a CVS pharmacy, while southeast see an Eckard). Having a pared down implementation meant for little processors and low resolution screens is an asset. Don't abuse the implementation if the idea can be generalized.


Re:Damn them (1)

srwalter (39999) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816516)

Yes, and cell phone makers are required to build the phone that you want, and only you want. It's your right as an individual to make everyone else bend to your will. Other people want color phones? Damn them, indeed!

Oh wait, I forget that we have a free-market... guess you did, too.

OpenGL ES with hardware support? (4, Insightful)

Stiletto (12066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815885)

Although right now OpenGL is all that's out there for low-cost portable embedded 3D software, no one is going to develop with it until hardware support emerges. Who wants a handheld 3D mapping device that takes 10 seconds to redraw a frame using an ARM9 software renderer?

Re:OpenGL ES with hardware support? (2, Informative)

LousyPhreak (550591) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815999)

exactly thats the point of opengl es.

as it is only a subset of the opengl standard trimmed for low power/low speed devices it is (or will be) also fast in software. afaik there are also hardware renderers for opengl es in the works.

and remember:
we hat 3d games long before the gigahertz pcs with 3d accelerators were out and they were a tiny bit faster than 1 frame/second.

Re:OpenGL ES with hardware support? (4, Insightful)

arbitrary nickname (325162) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816168)

It's *not* really designed for software implementations. This is a common misconception. Relies on depth buffers for sorting - which can be wasteful on memory bandwidth for software implementations (there are better alternatives in many cases (BSP trees, portals, bucket sorting)

After having a look at the spec, OpenGL ES seems -1, Redundant. Why not just aim for full OpenGL, starting with a 'MiniGL/QuakeGL' style implementation, of the sort which really got the ball rolling on the PC.

However, I believe it does include fixed-point maths support - very useful for all the ARM-based devices out there with no FPU.

Carmack (of ID software) (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815935)

microsoft must love him (uh-huh) for making all his games (quake-s, doom-s) and the subsequent engines based on OpenGL; they must really love him because those engines are the mona-lisas of computer science, best.engines.ever.;

ps, OpenGL [2] >= DirectX [9]; embarrasing, every f*cking year a new version, then you have to buy a new video card, a f*cking joke.
GO OGL! :)

Re:Carmack (of ID software) (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8815974)

And how exactly is rewriting your code to use new OpenGL extensions all that different from rewriting your code to use the newer version of DirectX? Its not, aside from the fact the extension docs are usually utterly horrible, and the DirectX docs are very good. I guess in your magical world you don't have to upgraded your video card to get new hardware features in OpenGL too. bah

Re:Carmack (of ID software) (1, Offtopic)

Dracolytch (714699) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816054)

Mod parent down (Further)

There is no relationship between the release of graphics libararies and the requirement to purchase video cards.


Re:Carmack (of ID software) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816181)

what about games that say they need DirectX9 to play... wouldn't you have to buy that video card that supports directx9?

Re:Carmack (of ID software) (1)

woodhouse (625329) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816409)

Actually that's not true. Currently new video cards have to support the features the latest version of DirectX (or more specifically Direct3D) if they want to be called DirectX 9.0 video cards. Because of the way Microsoft specifies the requirements and hardware vendors have to meet them, new releases of DirectX very much dictate the type of video card you need if you want to play the latest games.

New releases of OpenGL also require new video cards. If you want to play a game that requires OpenGL 1.4 or 1.5 then you'd better have an ATi 9500 or better. ARB_fragment_program, ARB_vertex_program and the new GLSL extensions aren't supported on anything older.

Re:Carmack (of ID software) (1)

sbaker (47485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816449)

There is no relationship between the release of graphics libararies and the requirement to purchase video cards.

That's technically true, but useless information. There IS a strong relationship between the release of graphics libraries THAT YOU'D ACTUALLY LIKE TO USE - and the requirement to purchase video cards that are capable of running them.

You aren't going to be able to run GLSL (a crucial part of OpenGL 2.0) at anything like realtime rates without a graphics card that's less than a year old.

It is no longer the case that the graphics cards are chasing the graphics standards. The reality is that one or other of the two remaining 'mainstream' graphics card vendors comes out with a feature - and that feature is immediately added to the two remaining 'mainstream' graphics API's.

I hope so (4, Interesting)

re-Verse (121709) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815968)

For so long, DirectX had to struggle and claw to keep up with OpenGL - they did just that, while OpenGL sat mainly idle (well, John Carmack was a big help to it)... Now it seems the shoe is on the other foot, and OpenGL is going to have to move deftly to surpass DX9, and soon enough 10...

I sincerely hope it happens. I wish developers felt more inclinded to make their 3D engined GL based rather than DX based, so the day where I can play any game in linux may actually arrive. Of course, we have to give massive amounts of respect to those who do make OpenGL platforms for their games (ID, Epic), but what about those who feel DX is easier and more practical for what they do(Valve).

Maybe if we're lucky, the Carmack will drop in to this discussion and tell us exactly what he thinks needs to happen to really make GL a reality for most gamaes again.

Re:I hope so (2, Interesting)

westlake (615356) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816217)

Carmack can still build an engine. But his game designs are frozen in the 'nineties. Which is likely to prove the stronger seller and have more impact on developers, Half-Life 2 or Doom 3?

Re:I hope so (1)

KozmoStevnNaut (630146) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816446)

For the more mature gamers who remember the good old days with Doom, Quake and Duke Nukem 3D, Doom 3 will be the best.

For the kids (for whom Half-Life was their first real FPS), Half-Life 2 will probably be the best.

I'm rooting for Doom 3.

Re:I hope so (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816501)

Epic doesn't really make OpenGL games anymore. They simply write wrappers for the D3D engines and it results in a much slower (but usable) renderer. UT2003/2004 is an example of this, which is why performance is sub-par on Linux and Mac, which are both actually platforms with superior OpenGL implementations to Windows.

Famous misquote from the old Batman show (4, Funny)

Pike (52876) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815972)

"Touch one hair on her head and I'll render you limb from limb!"

Re:Famous misquote from the old Batman show (0, Offtopic)

Burgundy Advocate (313960) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816072)

Robin: "Gosh, Batman. The nobility of the almost-human porpoise."
Batman: "True, Robin. It was noble of that animal to hurl himself into the path of that final torpedo. He gave his life for ours."

Pixar realtime... (-1, Interesting)

NeoTheOne (673445) | more than 10 years ago | (#8815975)

SWEET!! Just think of the possiblities!

OGL alone is not enough for gaming (4, Insightful)

BigBuckHunter (722855) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816016)

Hopefully, this will prompt more developers to join efforts to create a feature rich gaming framework for *nix. SDL is a great start, but lags behind DirectX in a number of ways. I look forward to seeing this 2.0 release breathe new life/blood into this area of development.

Thank you for your time,


Re:OGL alone is not enough for gaming (2, Informative)

System.out.println() (755533) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816167)

My friend is working on a multipurpose game engine, with the ability to "plug in" different graphics managers - so you can have the beauty of DirectX 9 on your Windows version, and seamlessly switch to OpenGL when you port it to Mac OS.

Or should I say, when I port it to Mac OS, since that's my job. I wish I had the slightest idea how his engine worked... He has all sorts of complicated code that compiles fine on his x86, but is gcc-unfriendly. :-(

Re:OGL alone is not enough for gaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816241)

Your friend's project sure sounds exciting. Now there will be nine hundred and ONE incomplete, poorly-written, multipurpose game engines on Freshmeat! Praise the Lord!

Re:OGL alone is not enough for gaming (4, Funny)

fforw (116415) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816398)

Your friend's project sure sounds exciting. Now there will be nine hundred and ONE incomplete, poorly-written, multipurpose game engines on Freshmeat! Praise the Lord!

.. still bitter about yours ?

OpenGL 1.5 (5, Interesting)

PlatinumInitiate (768660) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816017)

OpenGL is used in the Torque engine [] alongside Direct3D (D3D on Windows, OpenGL on Mac and Linux). It would be great if OpenGL could eclipse Direct3D, and become the premiere 3D platform once again. Perhaps we will see this with the release of OpenGL 2.0, but for a few years Direct3D has been slowly but surely catching up and then surpassing the aging OpenGL standard.

A lot of our customers demand Linux in their solutions (networked gaming terminals) to avoid the cost of licensing Windows XP Embedded for each machine, and the option so far has been to go the Mesa/OpenGL/SDL route (WineX is still too slow for what we do), which, while it has worked, is technically slightly inferior to our Windows equivalents. Hopefully OpenGL 2.0 will change this.

Re: OpenGL 1.5 (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816084)

> OpenGL is used in the Torque engine alongside Direct3D (D3D on Windows, OpenGL on Mac and Linux).

How well do Torque-based games run on Linux?

Re: OpenGL 1.5 (1)

PlatinumInitiate (768660) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816172)

There are demos on the GarageGames [] website, some of them run on Linux, download a few for yourself and see. If your system meets all of the requirements (P2-500 or higher, 256M of RAM, NVidia TNT2 or higher, OpenGL/Mesa and SDL, the games that specify that they run on Linux will (as far as I've experienced) run without problems.

If you are talking about writing games yourself, it depends how you write the game. With the Torque engine, you get the source code for the engine itself and you basically do your own thing. If you add a lot of Windows-specific C++, you are just asking to have issues when you try and port it. If you write a game specifically for Linux, though, obviously, it will not be a problem. The best thing to do is download the Torque engine demo from the GarageGames site and give it a try, and if you like what you see, get the Indie developer license for the Torque engine source code ($100). The features that come with the engine make it a lucrative proposition - commercial quality games are possible (Tribes 2 uses the Torque engine, for example).

Re: OpenGL 1.5 (1)

FuzzyBad-Mofo (184327) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816237)

Tribes 2 for Linux runs quite well. Torque is a very powerful engine, allowing up to 88(?) players simultaneously, excellent network code, and dynamic terrian generation (there is no 'edge' of the map).

Re: OpenGL 1.5 (2, Informative)

TypoNAM (695420) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816380)

I am a licensed indie Torque owner and I have to say it is a very impressive game engine when it comes to cross platform game development. Not only does it run pretty smooth just like games such as Wolfenstein: ET and Tribes 2 (T2 was actually not really good on Linux compared to it on Windows) its source code is actually gcc friendly.

About Tribes 2, its Linux port wasn't very good and it choked from time to time for no real reason and Torque engine doesn't have this problem. The real history of Torque is that it came about right after Tribes 2 was released and GarageGames company was formed which are several former Dynamix Employees (even the founder is the founder of the company) working at GG. Torque Game Engine I have to say is far better than the old Tribes 2 engine (if you worked with Tribes 2 and then Torque you would know exactly what I mean by it).

Anyway the engine is pretty good in my opinion and as a note to those Quake lovers Torque doesn't do BSP structures for the whole map. It has a true terrain system that goes on forever and no it doesn't loop all the way around (but I've seen mods pull this off :). It uses BSP structures for what is called Interiors which are basically buildings and the GG community has been making great advances in the game engine for several years so it isn't something that will sit there and idle for months, it's always being worked on by several groups of people. So the whole game engine development is mainly driven by community resource submissions.

I guess I've talked my head off long enough and put several readers to sleep, sorry. Check out the site for yourself and maybe consider getting a license (please read the license agreement before forking over cash for it since I've seen many people ask questions about the license AFTER they bought it!)

Re: OpenGL 1.5 (1)

13Echo (209846) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816531)

Very well, actually.

If you check out you will see that almost all of the Torque-based software products have native Linux and Mac versions.

Try ThinkTanks. It's a pretty cool example.

Re:OpenGL 1.5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816214)

OpenGL is much more difficult to do cool shit in than DirectX. If you want a slick looking game, you either use DirectX or you are a badass.

Therefore, only Carmack and Blizzard use OpenGL. Everyone other major player uses DirectX.

Re:OpenGL 1.5 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816315)

While mainly using D3D, Far Cry [] also allows you to play with OpenGL. Of course some of the fancier FX are missing, but...

Yuo fail It (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816065)

benef17s of being

my interest fwiw (3, Informative)

rokzy (687636) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816074)

I'm going to learn opengl in a few months during the holidays before I start my PhD. I work with simulations of the Sun and use IDL to visualise the results. but I think it would be cool to have more "realistic" pictures, plus having the hardware acceleration has benefits when dealing with a lot of data (IDL gets real slow for 2D simulations at resolutions above a few hundred squared)

these simulations are done on beowulf clusters (imagine that!) so I think opengl is the best (the only other API I know of being directx)

Re:my interest fwiw (1)

L7_ (645377) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816314)

you should check out celestia: an open source solar system visualization tool. it is avaliable at

there is a windows installer if you are running that and don't want to be hassled with compilations, or you can download the source from cvs to compile either on your linux or windows machine

Re:my interest fwiw (1)

Laser Lou (230648) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816451)

The APIs are fairly basic, but there is a lot of theory behind 3d rendering, and that definitely takes time to learn and master. Look at any book on 3d grapics in a bookstore, and you'll see. Without a firm knowledge of the theory, its difficult to use that APIs to make something substantial. I suggest you start learning that asap.

OpenGL 2 (5, Informative)

woodhouse (625329) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816143)

OpenGL 2.0 is not as exciting as the new major version number might indicate. Probably the most important new feature of OpenGL 2.0 was going to be the GLSL high level shader language. However, in order to speed up its support by hardware companies, this was instead put into OpenGL 1.5 spec when it was announced last year; GLSL already has implementations by 3DLabs, ATi and nVidia. OpenGL 2.0 will still add some useful new features, but it won't be the world-shattering event that 3DLabs promised in their original proposals.

Re:OpenGL 2 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816492)

This is not correct. GLSL is an optional 'ARB' extension in 1.5 and will only be promoted to core OpenGL in 2.0. In addition, the current nVidia and ATi implementations are betas, e.g., slow and buggy. It will be at least six months before the pieces (OpenGL 2.0 + usable implementations) come together.

On a related note.. (5, Informative)

rkaa (162066) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816343)

Jan 16th 2002: SGI transfers 3D graphics patents to MS []
Jul 09th 2002: Microsoft Claims IP Rights on Portions of OpenGL []
Jul 11th 2002: 3D graphics world shaken by patent claims []
Jul 13th 2002: Microsoft patent claims may affect OpenGL []
Mar 3rd 2003: Microsoft quits OpenGL board []

Wait for the OpenGL hardware (2, Insightful)

metalmario (717434) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816400)

The current handheld devices are not suitable for 2D/3D graphics, because their memory bandwidth is so poor that texturemapping will make the software crawl. I'd get excited when the mobile devices get real 3D hardware acceleration. Even a 400MHz XScale doesn't cut the mustard if it spends its time waiting for the memory. Have been using OpenGL ES for over six months now...

Java on top of OpenGL is happening... (4, Interesting)

tommck (69750) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816422)

My cousin's husband works for Sun and he said that the next version (1.5?) of Java will have Swing ported to OpenGL underpinnings... that way, even 2D apps will be MUCH faster.

He said they're realizing 4X speed increases on plain old 2D apps.

They're also working on making 3D game demos (some with 3rd parties) to demo that Java can actually now compete in the desktop game market...

No mention of pixar.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8816452)

in the story. Next time read it before you post an article. Doh!

w00t! (-1, Offtopic)

teh_master_baiter (749683) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816525)

First post!

gl pipeline not for raytracing (2, Informative)

nuttyprofessor (83282) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816538)

Most frames in Pixar movies are rendered using some form of ray-tracing. While it is possible to use vertex and fragment shaders in uncoventional ways to do ray tracing, this is *not* what the OpenGL pipeline is designed for. Great for games, but ray-tracing will still be done using render farms (and not in real time).


DurendalMac (736637) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816558)

OpenGL has been languishing for years. It's about freaking time they gave the spec a nice big update. I'm a mac guy, but I have to admit that DirectX has a much better level of optimization than OpenGL does. Hopefully this new spec will make it's way into Mac OS 10.4 and give Macs a much needed boost in the graphics arena.

Ahem... (4, Interesting)

dustman (34626) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816559)

No longer vapor, but a true 3D-embedded engine...

Since when has OpenGL been vapor?

Re:Ahem... (1)

ScottGant (642590) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816609)

Really, I was wondering this myself. I mean, I've been playing OpenGL games for years now.

In the article they kind of say what they mean, but the headline in the Slashdot article makes it seem like OpenGL is FINALLY being released and is no longer vapor.

Me got cornfused....

To my understanding... (4, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 10 years ago | (#8816639)

Direct3d has a few advantages over OpenGL that can't really be addressed by OpenGL.

For one, direct3d is integrated into the direct api which handles a multitude of things, multimedia and game input devices among others, that game developers are almost naturally drawn to by the appeal that so much work has already been done for them

OpenGL can't and really shouldn't have to address all these requirements, but it's just part of why there's been this ongoing struggle. SDL is a reasonable answer to portability while still accomplishing the integration that MS has achieved, but SDL isn't really as mainstream as OpenGL is.

I've seen soap opera plots that were less convoluted than this mess.

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