A new evolution of OpenGL was announced at Siggraph yesterday.

Open GL 1.3 has been boosted significantly, now offering a selection of new features and functions, developed to increase graphics quality and realism. OpenGL is widely regarded as the leading cross-platform 2D and 3D graphics-application-planning interface.

Enhancements to the standard include: Cube Map Texturing, which offers better mapping and lighting support; multisampling, which promises order-independent anti-aliased rendering of points, lines and polygons; and new Texture Modes.

Texture Modes offers developers more powerful ways of applying textures to rendered objects. The Modes include: Add, Combine, and Border Filtering. There's also a Compressed Texture format, which promises higher-quality textures with lower memory requirements - regardless of file format.

OpenGL was developed by Silicon Graphics (SGI) and introduced in 1992. Paul McNamara, VP of SGI products said: "CAD applications, content creation, energy, entertainment, game development, and more, will benefit from the breadth of platform accessibility and depth and quality of functionality of the OpenGL 1.3 API."

An industry group called the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) now governs OpenGL's future. Development is focused on creating it as an open, platform-independent standard. Amomg those companies represented on the board are Apple, ATI, HP, NVidia, Sun and Microsoft.

Further details are available from OpenGL.org.