Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Graphics Software

The State of OpenGL 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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

The State of OpenGL

Comments Filter:
  • Damn them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @11:36AM (#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.
  • by Stiletto ( 12066 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @11:37AM (#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:Pixlet (Score:-1, Insightful)

    by BWJones ( 18351 ) * on Friday April 09, 2004 @11:47AM (#8816015) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • by BigBuckHunter ( 722855 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @11:47AM (#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:Damn them (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @11:50AM (#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 (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @11:56AM (#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:article text (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Funk_dat69 ( 215898 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @11:59AM (#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.
  • by arbitrary nickname ( 325162 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @12:01PM (#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.
  • Re:Damn them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by HeghmoH ( 13204 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @12:12PM (#8816285) Homepage Journal
    So buy a phone with a black-and-white screen and long battery life. Nothing's stopping you.
  • Re:Damn them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Azghoul ( 25786 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @12:15PM (#8816322) Homepage
    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 (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sbaker ( 47485 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @12:17PM (#8816346) Homepage
    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.
  • by metalmario ( 717434 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @12:21PM (#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...
  • Re:Damn them (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stienman ( 51024 ) <[moc.scisabu] [ta] [sivada]> on Friday April 09, 2004 @12:32PM (#8816509) Homepage Journal
    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.

  • by mark-t ( 151149 ) <markt@NoSPaM.nerdflat.com> on Friday April 09, 2004 @12:44PM (#8816639) Journal
    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.

  • Thank you so much! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MachineShedFred ( 621896 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @12:53PM (#8816743) Journal
    I really love it when shills post things like this. Can we please see some documented facts to back any of this up?

    Innovative? They didn't do jack with 3D until OpenGL came along and showed them how. They had to buy it from SGI. This has been documented.

    Resilient? Dictionary.com defines this as "Marked by the ability to recover readily, as from misfortune." This is actually true, as they were behind, and had to play catch-up. 10 years later, they have caught up with (and arguably surpassed) a technology that has changed very little. Until now.

    If this is what defines one who "rules," I'd rather that MSFT "rules" while other companies and organizations just make better stuff.
  • Cell Phones? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by muonzoo ( 106581 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @01:03PM (#8816876) Homepage
    " Khronos is now in charge of further extending OpenGL to cellphones and ..."

    Why oh why, for the love of a higher reasoning! Doesn't any one make a Simple, Small, Functional mobile phone?!

    I don't WANT fancy crap in my phone. I want it to WORK. Good RF, Bluetooth, Multi-band radio (global GSM), EDGE, long battery life and iSync support.
    Where is _my_ phone?
  • Re:Damn them (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Puff Daddy ( 678869 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @01:15PM (#8817008)
    Parents who want their kids to have a useful device instead of a glorified leash might want to get them a "glorified gameboy phone."

    Next time my car breaks down and I have to call for help I'll remember how stupid my parents were for getting me a phone instead of a pager.
  • Re:I hope so (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ScrewMaster ( 602015 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @01:26PM (#8817140)
    They've all missed the point. Duke 3D was impressive because you could BREAK THINGS. The environment wasn't just there for show, you could interact with it in pleasantly destructive ways. Quake I disliked because, while it was beautiful to look at, you really couldn't do much but open doors and use elevators. I LIKED the way I could be in the middle of a network gunfight in Duke, run up to the second floor of a building, KICK out the window with my foot (with glass shards falling around me) and blaze away. After an intense battle on a dance floor, we would have shot out the mirror behind the bar, blasted all the liquor bottles into particles, and shattered vases, flowerpots and ashtrays all over the place with appropriate sound effects. That was very cool, and really enhanced the overall immersivity of the game. When it was over we would just look around at all the destruction and cheer.

    Duke's overall game percentaging was very well-thought-out. The impact of various munitions was adjusted such that you didn't die too quickly, but still the relative damage levels incurred appeared realistic. And again, when a pipe bomb or a laser trip bomb went off, it would destroy any nearby breakable objects or windows, as you would expect it to do. In games like Half Life or Quake, everything around you is pretty much explosion and/or bulletproof, and that isn't particularly realistic.

    Playability is the key to a game with staying power, and playability is, unfortunately, not something that has achieved much focus in recent games. It also is not intrinsically bound up with the graphic quality of the visual environment. The majority of development effort has been expended in creating gorgeous 3-D environments, not good games. A game is supposed to be entertaining, and once the "oooh!" and "ahhhh!" wears off, if the product isn't truly playable you'll find yourself not playing it no matter how pretty the pictures are. At that point you've just wasted your money.
  • Re:Cell Phones? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 09, 2004 @01:34PM (#8817238)
    Your phone is where the money isn't.
  • by Anubis333 ( 103791 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @01:50PM (#8817416) Homepage
    As TD who works in the computer graphics field, let me state that the technology required to render a Pixar film in 'Real Time' is far off and ridiculous. Just because OpenGL looks better does not mean that it can support the shader functions that Renderman utilizes, not to mention the Fur and cloth APIs. Also, the majority of shots in movies aren't even single comp shots they involve many rendered elements, which you still have to comp together. I'd be all for the guy talking about how OpenGL 2.0 will benefit the artists by allowing them to get more feedback about the quality of the shot they're working on without preview renders, but thinking that OGL could replace final renders any time soon is wrong. Perhaps we are geting to a place where we could render the original Toy Story realtime and a general viewing audience might not know the difference. Perhaps. But I remember some really great PRman shaders from the film that wouldn't be posible in the real time version.
  • by WilyCoder ( 736280 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @01:56PM (#8817491)
    Who says you can't write the graphics engine in OpenGL, and all the other modules(music,netcode,etc) with DirectX ???
  • by be-fan ( 61476 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @02:27PM (#8817907)
    1) Its Apple's implementation of GL that's less than perfectly optimized. On Windows and Linux, OpenGL is as fast as D3D.

    2) OpenGL has numerous releases in the last few years. 1.3, 1.4, and 1.5 were all released in quick succession. What rock have you been hiding under?
  • by Handpaper ( 566373 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @02:43PM (#8818161)
    Am I the only person who thought that:
    "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," Trevett says enthusiastically.
    was the most interesting part of the article?
    SETI@home [berkeley.edu], Finite Element Analysis [hks.com], video recoding [exit1.org] are all areas which could benefit from vector processing , matrix calculation and/or huge register sizes provided by GPUs.

  • by cr0sh ( 43134 ) on Friday April 09, 2004 @04:41PM (#8819841) Homepage
    Interesting - is this REYES micropolygon algorithm in any way related to the old (late 80's?) computer graphic entitled "Road to Point Reyes" (I think that is right)?

    I remember seeing an image of that in an old computer graphics "coffee table"-type book back in high school - and you mentioning that popped it in my head...

  • Re:Damn them (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Decaff ( 42676 ) on Saturday April 10, 2004 @02:20PM (#8825686)
    Ah! Usual /. anti-Java dogma.

    As virtually all new phones come with Java built-in, its kind of moronic not to use it.

    Of course, if you prefer wasting your time hard-coding OpenGL calls and re-compiling for each make of phone, that is up to you, but as a business model its suicide.

Thus spake the master programmer: "Time for you to leave." -- Geoffrey James, "The Tao of Programming"