The Khronos Group today announced the immediate release of the OpenGL 4.2 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 4.2 integrates developer feedback and continues the rapid evolution of this royalty-free specification while maintaining full backwards compatibility - enabling applications to incrementally use new features, while portably accessing state-of-the-art graphics processing unit (GPU) functionality across diverse operating systems and platforms.
The OpenGL 4.2 specification has been defined by the OpenGL ARB (Architecture Review Board) working group at Khronos, and includes the GLSL 4.20 update to the OpenGL Shading Language. The OpenGL 4.2 specification contains new features that extend functionality available to developers and enables increased application performance. The full specification is available for immediate download here.
New functionality in the OpenGL 4.2 specification includes:
enabling shaders with atomic counters and load/store/atomic read-modify-write operations to a single level of a texture. These capabilities can be combined, for example, to maintain a counter at each pixel in a buffer object for single-rendering-pass order-independent transparency;
capturing GPU-tessellated geometry and drawing multiple instances of the result of a transform feedback to enable complex objects to be efficiently repositioned and replicated;
modifying an arbitrary subset of a compressed texture, without having to re-download the whole texture to the GPU for significant performance improvements;
packing multiple 8 and 16 bit values into a single 32-bit value for efficient shader processing with significantly reduced memory storage and bandwidth, especially useful when transferring data between shader stages.
OpenGL 4.2 has integrated feedback from developers that are shipping significant OpenGL-based applications and games, making for a faster, more capable API which will continue to evolve to meet market needs," said Barthold Lichtenbelt, working group chair of the OpenGL ARB and director of Tegra graphics at NVIDIA. "As with previous OpenGL releases NVIDIA is committed to ship productized implementations as rapidly as possible after specification release. In fact, NVIDIA released production OpenGL 4.2 drivers today, enabling developers to immediately leverage this new functionality on NVIDIA GPUs." (Note: for more information, please visit this page).
"AMD plans to release our OpenGL 4.2 beta drivers with the publication of the OpenGL 4.2 specification," said Ben Bar-Haim, corporate vice president, AMD Software Development. "AMD strongly supports industry standards and congratulates the Khronos Group on their success in the rapid evolution of OpenGL and its other open standards that enable brilliant computing experiences."