Business, Graphics, Software Programs

Valve Releases ToGL – Direct3D to OpenGL Translation Layer


As a part of Valve’s work to improve Linux gaming and move themselves towards a more OS and API agnostic approach, the company has released a bit of code that allows for Direct3D to OpenGL abstraction. This abstraction layer is called ToGL which simply explains the point of this code’s existence, to help translate DirectX-based games to OpenGL in order to port them over to Linux and MacOS. By doing so, they also enable themselves to be platform agnostic when they launch game titles because OpenGL works on multiple platforms while DirectX only works on Windows.

This also helps Valve support their SteamOS, which is a Linux-based operating system that is purely designed for gaming and is complemented by the existence of Steam Machines or Steam Boxes which can run both Windows and SteamOS. But by supporting their own Linux distro/OS they are simultaneously expanding their addressable audience to extend beyond Windows and broaden their audience. PC gaming will no longer be limited to people running Windows-based machines and PC gamers will no longer have to run on ‘PC’ hardware in order to play ‘PC’ titles.

We also asked the guys at Khronos, the publishers of the OpenGL API set and their President, Neil Trevett, stated to us, "We welcome any tool that enables developers to port to platforms that enhance their business. ToGL makes sense as OpenGL is available on many platforms and it enables D3D titles to vastly extend their reach. Modern OpenGL is a superset of – and so can support – full D3D functionality.

Interestingly this is similar to another open source project – Angle – that went the other way – creating a conformant OpenGL ES over D3D to support WebGL on Platforms without a robust native OpenGL."

Clearly this is more good news for OpenGL, which we believe will be making some major announcements at GDC 2014 next week. Likely a counter to the DirectX 12 announcement that we’ll be hearing more about at GDC 2014 in San Francisco. We’ll be following both OpenGL and Direct X very closely and will be sure to report on any major announcements we hear from both camps. This ToGL release, however, indicates that Valve is moving more than full steam ahead with their push towards Linux gaming and OpenGL support.