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Confuse with OpenGL, SFML, and its library


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#1 nightrobin   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 07:43 AM

Hi guys, I am a beginning to enter the world of game development.

Lately, I researched that "OPENGL" is one of the tools to use in graphics,
then I found out about "SFML" (I think that its a library or something that uses opengl).


I am so confuse because all books/ sites said using "GLUT",
but many people/fellow developers said that I must use a more updated one like "SFML"
but sfml has few/none tutorials.


What I am trying to say is "how to create own library or something like your own glut or sfml",
and why does opengl has no source code? And how can I use the EXACT(not glut/sfml) opengl in my c++
program?

I am so confuse....

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#2 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3081

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:19 AM

Look at is as layers of an onion. At the very center you have the graphics hardware. The interface to the hardware (the hardware functions and things that make it tick... or make it go boom, in many cases) are vendor-protected trade secrets. They don't want you mucking with these, really. On top of the hardware sits a vendor-created software layer called a driver. Again, this layer is vendor-protected, but it provides an outward-facing API of sorts, by which an interested party can communicate with the hardware. On top of this layer sits OpenGL and Direct3D. They act as go-betweens in between the application and the driver interface, providing an easy to use interface that is maintained and standardized across hardware vendors so that the application developer can count on some consistency regardless of the hardware his end users are using.
On top of OpenGL and (frequently) Direct3D sit multiple third-party libraries and APIs such as Glut, GLFW, SFML, SDL, etc... The purpose of these libraries is much more varied, and their implementations can be vastly different. One state purpose of them is often to abstract away the details of the underlying API. For example, Ogre, Irrlicht, Urho3D, etc... they all provide API-specific backends upon which sits API-indifferent front-end code. You can select (whether at run-time, at compile-time, or whatever) whether to use Direct3D or OpenGL on the backend, but the front-end code remains the same due to the abstraction layer. The library developer takes care of the specifics of dealing with the different APIs so you don't have to.

Some libraries, though, like SFML deal only with the one API (OpenGL, in this case). However, its stated goals are a bit different than just abstracting away the graphics API. SFML purports to be mainly a 2D library, and so it provides various abstractions to facilitate 2D tasks. Whereas in OpenGL, there is no concrete concept of a sprite (you can do sprites, it just requires building a bit of foundation code), in SFML you can deal in Sprites and Shapes, and all the foundational stuff is done for you.

It's all about abstraction. That's pretty much what games are: layers of software sitting on top of other layers of software that abstract away lower level details, exposing a higher-level interface.

Edit:

There is OpenGL code available (of sorts). Google for Mesa3D. It is an open-source software version of OpenGL. However, the hardware versions are typically also created by the hardware vendor as a convenience for developers, or provided by the operating system. Seeing the source code of OpenGL really isn't a productive thing; it's complex, rife with hardware specifics and implementation dependencies, and just not a useful learning tool.

As far as just using OpenGL in your application (no third party libraries), this is highly dependent upon the OS, as you will need to use OS-specific functions for creating a window, initializing the message queue, obtaining an OpenGL context through OS-specific calls, etc... It's at once both a simple and a complex process, and is a task that is made vastly easier using one of the aforementioned third-party libraries. For example, with SFML you can use the library to create the window and set up OpenGL, then just use basic OpenGL calls from then on. You are not forced to use any of the other abstraction stuff.

Also, by the way, SFML has plenty of tutorials. More than enough to learn the library. Go ahead and work through the 1.6 tutorials as well, since most of that stuff is still relevant, with a few API changes.

Edited by FLeBlanc, 06 October 2012 - 08:28 AM.


#3 nightrobin   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:42 AM

overwhelming thanks.. :)

I find many knowledge in your answer.
in the other forums, one said about "Rendering Context"
What is it, and is it even platform-specific and what is the product of using rendering context?

#4 FLeBlanc   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 3081

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 08:50 AM

The rendering context in OpenGL is a chunk of data that represents the current "state" of the renderer. It maintains current texture, current buffers, blend settings and all that. Any time you call an OpenGL call, it either sets/gets values to/from the context, or it operates on data held within the context. If you bind a texture, there is a data field somewhere in the context that is set to reflect that.

#5 nightrobin   Members   -  Reputation: 127

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 09:07 AM

Now I understand (a bit),
First of all, Thanks for taking time for my questions. I find myself that I must master C++ before venturing in opengl,
thank you, hope to meet you again online when I finish my first game :)

#6 mhagain   Crossbones+   -  Reputation: 7431

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Posted 06 October 2012 - 11:08 AM

There is OpenGL code available (of sorts). Google for Mesa3D. It is an open-source software version of OpenGL. However, the hardware versions are typically also created by the hardware vendor as a convenience for developers, or provided by the operating system. Seeing the source code of OpenGL really isn't a productive thing; it's complex, rife with hardware specifics and implementation dependencies, and just not a useful learning tool.


Some clarification of a common misunderstanding needs to be added to this. The "open" in OpenGL does not stand for "open source"; it means that it's an open standard. It has a published specification which vendors implement in their drivers (or purely in software in the case of Mesa) but OpenGL itself is not software and it's quite meaningless to speak of source code for OpenGL. One can speak of source code for an OpenGL implementation, such as NVIDIA's, AMD's, Intel's or Mesa, but this source code would be vendor-specific and utterly useless outside of the vendor's own driver.

Edited by mhagain, 06 October 2012 - 11:08 AM.

It appears that the gentleman thought C++ was extremely difficult and he was overjoyed that the machine was absorbing it; he understood that good C++ is difficult but the best C++ is well-nigh unintelligible.





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