Display lists were an OpenGL feature that could, in theory, accelerate any part of the API by storing a group of commands for later use. In my understanding, this makes a lot of sense with regards to the current effort to reduce the driver overhead.

Display lists were deprecated in version 3.1 though. What is the modern API equivalent and does DirectX expose a similar feature? If there is no such functionality anymore, what is the rationale?


1 Answer 1


Nvidia has an extension for creating command buffers in modern GL.

The reason for the lack of similar functionality is that there is a lot of state involved regarding how to render and the display list be affected by a lot of different state. For example changing the blend state requires patching the fragment shader on some hardware.

NVidia solved it by capturing all state and reseting to the state after a dispatch:

1) What motivates the design?

The primary goal is to be able to reuse pre-validated command buffers. Other APIs and proposals have addressed this with various incarnations of command lists or state objects, but a recurring problem is that interactions between various stages of the pipeline prevent this prevalidation and reuse. These interactions are often hardware-specific (and differ from vendor to vendor or even generation to generation) and new interactions are introduced by new features that were not imagined when the prevalidation scheme was proposed.

We attempt to address this by having a monolithic state object that encompasses (almost) the entire state of the pipeline. This should provide enough information for all implementations to do any needed cross- validation. We try to create these in a way that minimizes the new API footprint - since we want ALL state (including any added in the future), we just capture it from the current state of the context.


23) In what condition is the state left, that is modified by tokens, after the dispatch call?

RESOLVED: state is reset.

(from the extension text linked above)

However the true successor is the command buffer functionality in DX12 and vulkan. Those will also capture all render state into a single object to use when creating and filling the command buffer. The NVidia extension is based on that architecture as a result of NVidia's involvement in the Vulkan design.


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