Silicon Graphics and the OpenGL Architecture Review Board (ARB) announced OpenGL 1.5 at the US computer graphics show Siggraph yesterday.

This specification introduces OpenGL Shading Language, extensions that will form part of the foundation of the forthcoming OpenGL 2.0 standard.

OpenGL Shading Language has been developed to make it possible for graphics cards from most vendor on the majority of platforms to use the same high-level shading language. Developers will be able to make a wide variety of graphics, imaging and compute applications to be accelerated by new-generation, highly parallel graphics hardware.

In a joint statement, the companies expanded on OpenGL 1.5’s uses: "Instead of taking months to create, the computer-graphics-generated scenes from any of this summer's blockbuster movies could be rendered with cinematic quality in real time.

“A car designer could model a car that's indistinguishable from a photograph, and a jet fighter training simulation could look not just pretty good, but be so exact that you couldn't distinguish the simulated scenery from the real thing."

The organizations expect OpenGL 1.5 to be supported by graphics card vendors in products that appear later this year.

Other enhancements include: the addition of Vertex Buffer Object technology, which enables higher performance 3D rendering; and Non power-of-two Textures, which uses texture memory more efficiently.

The 12 voting members of the OpenGL ARB are 3Dlabs, Apple, ATI, Dell, Evans & Sutherland, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel, Matrox, NVidia, Sun and SGI. Other participants include Discreet, Id Software, NEC, Quantum 3D, SONICblue and the University of Central Florida.