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Help learning 3d!

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I got a book that teaches 3d game programming with opengl. I'm learning a bunch of things to changes things around but nothing what I want to know about. I want to know how I would go about doing Mario like stages or even Zelda like stages not just some little terrain for people to run around on. I was thinking I'd just model the whole thing through a program and load it but I'm beginning to think there's something else. Can anyone shed light on this? Thanks in advance.

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I forgot what's then name given to what your trying to do, if you know it its easyer to search on google.

Anyway Zelda could be 3D, 2D, 2D methods for 3D illusion(3D is 2D methods for 3D illusion but much more complex in what I have inmind). To draw stuff on the screen first you must upload the image to the graphics card as a texture, and from there bind the texture and use glVertex* and glTexCoord to draw the images on the screen after you have setup the OpenGL environment.

There are many way's to create a Mario/Zelda type of game. I would use tile maps. And you would have a few layers of tiles. Here are some links for tiles:

Know this first, you probably already know it :)
Some basic Idea of tiles
I recomend to read this

The idea is there in those links but not neccesarly OpenGL code. All you need to know is how to draw in OpenGL(lighting and other stuff included) and apply the idea.

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