id Software's Carmack calls for OpenGL watchdog
Time to get those drivers fixed, says Quake developer
Developer of the Quake family of games and 3D gaming guru John Carmack has called for the development of an independent OpenGL "conformance nazi". Essentially, Carmack feels there's not enough testing of OpenGL drivers going on, largely because most of it's being done by software developers in their spare time. More to the point, driver development tends to focus on getting the maximum performance on key features rather than properly supporting the wider OpenGL feature set. "I would rather improve quality and coverage instead of kicking a few more fps out of Quake III," he notes. What's needed, he writes in his latest .plan file, is a "vendor-neutral OpenGL watchdog, or even a small group, especially in the Linux space" who can "really exercise different implementations through all corners of the OpenGL specification". "Some of the windows IHVs have good testing procedures and high quality drivers," he adds, "but even there, it would be nice to have someone hounding them about things beyond how well Quake-related games run. "The same goes for Apple, especially now that there is both ATI and 3dfx support." His concern the "Linux space" centres on the fear that driver writers are tending to be more interesting in getting better benchmark stats that those produced by Windows drivers. Understandable, says Carmack, but not the right approach: "Sure, it is nice to beat windows drivers on some benchmarks, but I wouldn't let pursuit of that goal introduce dumb things into the code." ® Related Story MS and OpenGL: supporting it to death?
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