The Open GL Architecture Review Board has released specifications for version
2.0 of OpenGL, a major update designed to add some razzle-dazzle to computer
games. While the hardware makers, including graphics chips rivals NVIDIA and
ATI, support both technologies, PC game makers have to make a choice.
Enhancements in the new version of OpenGL include the addition of programmable
shading functions that allow artists to add sophisticated lighting effects to
their creations, an area of increasing emphasis for graphics chipmakers.
Exploitation of the new OpenGL capabilities will depend first on support from
graphics chip makers, followed by game publishers and other software makers.

The Open GL Architecture Review Board has released specifications for version
2.0 of OpenGL, a major update designed to add some razzle-dazzle to computer
games. While the hardware makers, including graphics chips rivals NVIDIA and
ATI, support both technologies, PC game makers have to make a choice.
Enhancements in the new version of OpenGL include the addition of programmable
shading functions that allow artists to add sophisticated lighting effects to
their creations, an area of increasing emphasis for graphics chipmakers.
Exploitation of the new OpenGL capabilities will depend first on support from
graphics chip makers, followed by game publishers and other software makers.

New features of OpenGL 2.0 include:

  • Programmable shading – With the new release, both OpenGL Shading Language
    and its APIs are now core features of OpenGL. New functionality includes the
    ability to create shader and program objects; and the ability to write vertex
    and fragment shaders in OpenGL Shading Language.
  • Multiple render targets that enable programmable shaders to write
    different values to multiple output buffers in a single pass.
  • Non-power-of-two textures for all texture targets, thereby supporting
    rectangular textures and reducing memory consumption.
  • Two-sided stencil with the ability 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 which replace point texture coordinates with texture
    coordinates interpolated across the point. This allows drawing points as
    customized textures, useful for particle systems.