Panfrost Open-Source Driver Gets Initial OpenGL ES 3.0 Support

Panfrost OpenGL ES 3.0

Collabora announced today that the Panfrost free and open-source graphics driver for Mali GPUs just received initial OpenGL ES 3.0 support in the upstream Mesa graphics stack.

This comes as great news for Linux users, especially gamers. While many 3D apps and games have basic OpenGL ES 2.0 support, for advanced rendering tasks the newer OpenGL ES 3.0 is required, and Panfrost now supports it.

As expected, OpenGL ES 3.0 is by far more powerful than its predecessor, adding new features like 3D textures, instanced rendering, multiple render targets on Mali T760 GPUs and higher, primitive restart, as well as uniform buffer objects.

All these goodies enable faster and more realistic rendering, said Collabora. Developers can use features like instanced rendering and primitive restart to code faster graphics apps and more efficiently render complex scenes.

On the other hand, developers can use 3D texture and uniform buffer objects to create efficient graphics shaders for more complex and fast applications, and multiple render target allows them to use modern rendering techniques, such as deferred shading.

“By adding these features and more to Panfrost, games like SuperTuxKart now work with their preferred modern renderers, for instance using instancing for particle systems and new texturing operations to add shadows. SuperTuxKart’s ES 3.0 non-deferred renderer now works with Panfrost, so grab the latest code and give it a play,” said Collabora.

While Panfrost’s OpenGL ES 3.0 support is experimental, developers and users are invited to give it a try right now by compiling the latest Mesa 20.0 graphics stack and setting the PAN_MESA_DEBUG=gles3 environment variable. It also supports the mainline Linux kernel.

Image: Collabora

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