Khronos releases OpenGL ES 3.0 for mobile 3D graphics

August 07, 2012 // By Nick Flaherty
Graphics standards group Khronos has launched its OpenGL ES 3.0 specification, bringing significant functionality and portability enhancements to the industry-leading, royalty-free 3D graphics API that is used on the majority of the world’s smartphones and tablets.

OpenGL ES 3.0 provides access to state-of-the-art graphics processing unit (GPU) functionality with portability across diverse mobile and embedded operating systems and platforms. It is backwards compatible with OpenGL ES 2.0, enabling applications to incrementally add new visual features to applications.
“OpenGL ES 3.0 draws on proven functionality from OpenGL 3.3 and 4.2 and carefully balances the introduction of leading-edge technology with addressing the real-world needs of developers,” said Tom Olson, chairman of the OpenGL ES Working Group and director of graphics research at ARM.
New functionality in the OpenGL ES 3.0 specification includes multiple enhancements to the rendering pipeline to enable acceleration of advanced visual effects including: occlusion queries, transform feedback, instanced rendering and support for four or more rendering targets as well as high quality ETC2 / EAC texture compression as a standard feature, eliminating the need for a different set of textures for each platform. There is alsoa new version of the GLSL ES shading language with full support for integer and 32-bit floating point operations and  enhanced texturing functions including guaranteed support for floating point textures, 3D textures, depth textures, vertex textures, NPOT textures, R/RG textures, immutable textures, 2D array textures, swizzles, LOD and mip level clamps, seamless cube maps and sampler objects. Specifyiing a set of required, explicitly sized texture and render-buffer formats aims to reduce implementation variability and make it much easier to write portable applications.
“The advanced features of Khronos’ OpenGL ES 3.0 constitute another significant step forward for mobile and embedded graphics, further blurring the boundaries between mobile and traditional high end graphics platforms and ushering in the next wave of feature-rich high performance GPUs for low power mobile and embedded markets,” saidTony King-Smith, vice president marketing at Imagination Technologies. “Thanks to our close involvement throughout the development of the standard, all our PowerVR Series6 ‘Rogue’ GPU cores have been designed to support fully all features of OpenGL ES 3.0, and we