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Basketball89

Where to find Open GL?

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Firstly, I think you should be aware that OpenGL is merely a standard. There are many implementations of the standard, so to "download" OpenGL you need to download the files of the implementation you need.

If you''re using Windows, you can download Microsoft''s implementation. OpenGL.org helpfully supplies a link and an explanation on their downloads page. Because of the way Microsoft''s OpenGL implementation (much like many others) is broken up, this only makes up the MCD. You also need an ICD: your video card''s drivers should supply this.

However, the problem with Microsoft''s OpenGL implementation is that it''s horribly out-of-date and only conforms to OpenGL 1.1 (currently OpenGL is at 1.4, with 1.5 and eventually 2.0 on the horizon). Microsoft has refused to update their OpenGL implementation for nearing-a-decade because of laziness, evilness, or whatever. So, you may already have the newest implementation installed. Your video card''s drivers may support newer versions, but the MCD does not.

There are better implementations of OpenGL, but they''re not really suitable for wide-spread use for most Windows applications.

To develop for OpenGL you might need some sort of headers (I''m not aware of how Visual Basic works, sorry) for the implementation you''re targetting. Luckily, they''re probably included with the development environment by default.

To learn OpenGL you do not have to buy a book (I don''t own any books on OpenGL and I''ve been using it for quite a while). It seems that at least some of NeHe''s tutorials are ported to Visual Basic, if you''d like to take a look at some of them.

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In all reality, if you have a graphics card that supports OpenGL well, then that will provide a higher version than the default Microsoft implementation. It''s perfectly fine to get GL_VERSION, and present an error dialog if version is less than 1.3, for example.

Also, the OpenGL SDK (headers and libs) are part of the base platform SDK on Windows. It comes with most compilers for Windows. Just add opengl32.lib and glu32.lib, include and be happy! Same thing on Linux, more or less.

If you want to use > 1.1 version features, you may need to get some function pointers using the extension mechanism { wglGetProcAddress() } and define some tokens yourself { #define GL_CLAMP_TO_EDGE ((GLenum)0x812F) }. This is typically boilerplate code you set up once and then don''t worry about. There are also various headers and libraries on the web to help out -- search for glext.h (warning: there are many versions, some newer than others!)

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To use OpenGL with VB, one needs to obtain a COM wrapper library so that VB can call the functions, OR call the OpenGL functions directly from VB (which isn''t at all without difficulties).
I''ve seen wrapper class libraries somewhere, google for them.

-Nik

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