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Carmack backs OpenGL in shader wars

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The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

Game god John Carmack has given OpenGL his blessing in the ever-thickening shader wars. Carmack says that given the 3Dlabs P10 card, he opted to use the OpenGL 2.0 extensions for the shader path, even though the Nvidia Cg extensions offered "the most expedient choice". And the port went so well, he writes in the latest addition to his .plan file, he's committed to using OpenGL as the back end for all implementations of Doom 3.0.

It isn't so much a shader war (not our term) as a language war, and Carmack sees such higher level languages as Nvidia's Cg as inevitable for graphics developers.

"It won't be too long before all real work is done in one of these, and developers that stick with the lower level interfaces will be regarded like people that write all-assembly PC applications today," he writes.

Nvidia has garnered much industry support for its Cg language, but this could help swing critical opinion behind a vendor neutral approach. Carmack has enthused about the quality of NVidia's OpenGL drivers in the past.

Carmack's comments are received with great interest in the community, particularly because he chooses his words so carefully. He's no rambling blogger; Carmack had made just three updates to his .plan file this year. You can read his comments here and while we're on the subject, here's a gratuitous link to our favorite Carmack interview. ®

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