Slim, but packed with 3D power, the iPad is now capable of being a sketchpad for 3D shaders and graphics programmability. We saw as much when we saw this tool last month (it’s destined for other platforms, too, in case you’re jealous):

More Coding Fun on iPad, Android, Beyond: Play with GLSL’s Magical OpenGL Goodness

Well, that tool keeps getting more functionality. American Developer Ben Hopkins, aka kode80, tells us this new release adds some much-desired new functionality: think 3D model importing and code completion. (Only an independent developer would call significant additions like that “1.02,” but we love it!)

Full feature list below.

There’s also a new video so you can see this in action, and see what fun it can be.

Also notable, GLSL Studio touts in its press release that it’s aimed as much at novices as code experts. Perhaps it’s the psychological hurdle of fiddling with this on a tablet, or maybe it’s just that the streamlined coding features make it more accessible, but I like that idea. After all, sophisticated graphics programming used to be part of grade-school education. Not all of us are going to be great programmers (believe me, I speak from experience), or even digital artists – at least in the sense of our generative coding prowess. But that’s no reason to stop anyone from fiddling with math, being able to expand what’s possible in expressing their own imagination, and better understanding how the ubiquitous computing machines in our lives work.

And as something to “play around with,” this is one hell of a serious tool:

* Create ES 2.0 vertex & fragment shaders
* Compiler debug output
* Native code editor & syntax highlighting
* As-you-type GLSL code completion
* Light & dark syntax highlighting themes
* Custom keyboard with arrows & shortcuts
* Automatic code indentation
* Various 2D/3D example programs included

Generate vertex data in-app:
* Primitives: Grid, Cube, Sphere, Torus
* Texture Coords: LinearX/Y/Z, Sphere
* Normals: Flat/Smooth

Import 3D Meshes via iTunes File Sharing:
* .obj .ply .md2 .dae .blend

Manage textures in-app:
* Use 8 unique textures per program
* Stream camera to texture
* Customize texture parameters

* Manage Attributes, Varyings & Uniforms
* Bindings (multi-touch, motion & more)
* Orthographic & perspective projection
* Retina enabled
* Optional framerate & triangle counter
* Export via email attachment
* Export via iTunes File Sharing
* Export vertex data as .h (static arrays)
* Universal, buy once run on iPod/iPhone/iPad
* OpenGL ES 2.0 widely supported inc. WebGL

Device Requirements:
* Requires iPhone 3GS, iPod touch 4th Gen, iPad or later
* Requires iOS 4.0 or later
* 11.2 MB

(check out the awesomeness that is the game 1-bit Ninja, too!)