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eben

General question...

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Ive only recently started learning about graphics and rendering, I was just generally wondering how you specifically utilize graphics hardware.

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Well, it depends on what platform you're on. On almost any platform, you can use OpenGL, but you can also you DirectX, which is Windows only (although, I think they have a slightly different version of it for the XBox).

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To make use of graphics hardware, you use what's called an API, or Application Programming Interface. The API is basically a layer of abstration between you and the hardware - you learn the APIs methods and functions rather than learning to deal with every individual piece of hardware.

Some commonly used APIs include DirectX (Used only on Windows and XBox platforms, supports more than just graphics), OpenGL (Cross-platform), SDL (Simple DirectMedia Layer - better for beginners, provides 2d functionality), Allegro (also good for beginners), and ClanLib (which I don't know much about).

If you've only just started looking into graphics, I'd suggest you start off with 2d to get the basics down, and use a simpler library such as SDL or Allegro for now (depending of course on what language you're using).

Hope that helps you a bit. [smile]

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