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OpenGL (Open Graphics Library) is a free and open source standard specification defining a cross-language, cross-platform API for writing applications that produce 2D and 3D computer graphics. The interface consists of over 250 different function calls which can be used to draw complex three-dimensional scenes from simple primitives. OpenGL was originally developed by Silicon Graphics in 1992 and is widely used in CAD, virtual reality, scientific visualization, information visualization, and flight simulation. It is also used in video games, where it competes with DirectX on Microsoft Windows platforms.

Release History

VersionRelease DateRelease Notes
OpenGL 1.0January, 1992Initial releasee
OpenGL 1.1January, 1997
OpenGL 1.2March 16, 1998
OpnGL 1.2.1October 14, 1999Multi-texturing added
OpenGL 1.3August 14, 2001
OpenGL 1.4July 24, 2002
OpenGL 1.5July 29, 2003
OpenGL 2.0September 7, 2004Added support for GPU assembly language call ARB
OpenGL 2.1July 2, 2006
OpenGL 3.0July 11, 2008Support added for frame buffer objects and hardware instancing
OpenGL 3.1March 24, 2009
OpenGL 3.2August 3, 2009
OpenGL 3.3March 11, 2010Simultaneous release with version 4.0
OpenGL 4.0March 11, 2010

Games that use OpenGL

Despite the dominance of DirectX within the PC gaming industry, OpenGL is used in a variety of commercial games. For instance, OpenGL is used in the Call of Duty, Quake and Unreal Tournament franchises. For games like Half Life 2, the Left for Dead and Portal series, and World of Warcraft, OpenGL is used for the OSX release only, while DirectX is used for the PC, XBox and Xbox 360 releases.


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