With the SIGGRAPH kickoff, the Khronos group has just announced Open GL ES 3.0, an updated version of the popular graphics API (application programming interface) that is going to bring new features to mobile devices that support it. Recently, we took an early look at the Snapdragon S4 Pro which runs it. There are a lot of new features, but in a nutshell, here are the ones that I found more interesting:
- Tighter specifications to avoid incompatibilities between different devices. The goal is to help developers by preventing graphics vendors to stray too far away from the intent of the specifications.
- Depth textures that can be used to create shadow maps, a more advanced shadow technique that allows objects to cast shadows on themselves.
- Occlusion queries allow developers to use the hardware to test the visibility of objects against the Z-buffer to avoid processing objects hidden behind others.
- ETC2/EAC texture compression. Some chips still use the older S3TC texture compression. The new ETC2 compressed texture format is more space-efficient and this is particularly important given that textures have rapidly grown in size, along with screen pixel density. With better texture compression, games can go “HD” without getting much bigger in download size.