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5. June 2017

Khronos Group, the consortium behind the OpenGL/Vulkan series of SDKS have just released the 2.0 specification for glTF.  glTF is an attempt to create a runtime friendly data format for 3D models with modern feature support.  Intended to replace such formats as COLLADA or FBX with a file format with modern features but streamlined for realtime usage.  It is a mix of JSON descriptor coupled with a binary format and various supported textures.  The 2.0 version aims to modernize the format, adding support for PBR (Physically Based Rendering) textures.

From the release announcement:

The release of glTF 2.0 delivers a significant upgrade to glTF 1.0, an extensible, runtime neutral, open standard format for real-time delivery of 3D assets, which describes full scenes with compact transmission and fast load time. In response to major functionality requests from the developer community using glTF 1.0, the release of glTF 2.0 adds Physically Based Rendering (PBR) for portable, consistent description of materials. In glTF 1.0, a material was defined with a GLSL shader, which suited WebGL, but was problematic when importing a glTF model into a Direct3D or Metal application. Through using PBR, visually arresting glTF 2.0 models are now consistently portable to any rendering API. A PBR material is defined by a few concise parameters that can be used to generate shaders for any rendering API. glTF 2.0 defines a simple to implement, but powerful, PBR model that provides high-quality materials, and yet, is scalable to suit the capabilities of different classes of platform and device.

For Blender users, there is a glTF exporter in the works available here.

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