Sign in to follow this  
Optimus Prime

OpenGL Cross-platform?

Recommended Posts

Hello, I'm developing a physics simulation with OpenGL and Glut on WindowsXP using MSVC++ 2005 Express. (Although, I'm open to using other compilers.) My main concern is that I want people running linux and Mac OS X to be able to run my code as well without having to compile it themselves. What is the best way going about this. I'm guessing I'd have to use some sort of makefile. However, I've never done this. The people that I'm going to be distributing my program to aren't technically savvy when it comes to programming. At the most, I can expect them to type ./make install. But really, I'd rather have a precomiled version already there for them. Being that I only have access to Win32, what would be the best way to either compile a cross-platform binary, or to offer a make file that's cross platform. (I'm not sure I even know what I'm talking about :)) Thank you.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
One very common library is GLUT which would allow you to write portable code and have simple keyboard and mouse input. There are other libraries out there but I've only used GLUT. An alternative is to separate out your OS (non-portable) code from your OpenGL (portable) code and manually convert the OS code between systems. I suggest this only because you gain more flexibility if you need it.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
You could have separate makefiles;


You could use something like ClanLib or SDL for cross platform APIs.

You can get the GNU compiler/linker for all three platforms.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
Right on the front page there's a kjam article.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
there are three ways you can achieve your goal:

either you distribute to the users so they have to compile it themselves. while this is not the most comfortable way for the users, it is quite simple to do for you as the distributor.
to make compilation as easy as possible on unixoid platforms, for example linux and osx, the "make" tool is the most common way to go. writing the required makefiles yourself can be hell, so there are tools that make things easier.
they are called the "autotools", because their names, like "autoconf", "autoscan", "automake" and so on start with "auto". well, these are actually unix programs themselves, so you need to set up some kind of emulation to run them under windows. there is a combination of packages i would recommend:
MinGW, which contains the GCC compilers for windows
MSYS, which contains more unix tools, like "make", which is crucial for the makefile approach, and finally
MSYS DTK, the MSYS Developer Toolkit, which contains the autotools and some more programs.

there are some tutorials on the net about the gnu autotools. here is a link to gnu's webpage for autoconf with some links to the other tools involved in the build process. you could try to google for some beginner tutorials.

nevertheless, i still do not like using the make system since it so compilcated that it would be of no use for me to learn, at least at the moment. (i'd be happy to hear some recommendations on alternatives to make and the autotools)

the other approach is to compile your code to binaries for the target platforms. this is called "cross compiling". i haven't used this technique myself, so i cannot give you advice on this. nevertheless, asking google might help. if i remember correctly you can use gcc to cross compile to linux, but i'm not sure if the gcc binary included in MinGW is able to do it. maybe you need to compile gcc yourself, which may get hard since you will have some trouble with the required libraries and headers, since gcc is natively built for linux and unix.

option number three, which is only applyable to a linux target, would be to download and burn a so-called linux "live cd". this enables you to boot linux directly from cd without the danger of your harddrive or it's data being damaged. so, now you could compile the source under linux natively. nevertheless you need either some kind of network share to copy the resulting binary to or you have to write on your harddisk, which could be a problem if it is formatted with NTFS instead of FAT since the writing drivers for NTFS sometimes crash, which could lead to data loss. Knoppix is such a live cd distribution, although i do not know for sure if there is a compiler included, but i guess so. just have a look at the page, maybe it's mentioned there.

good luck, whatever you decide to do :)

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest Anonymous Poster
Check out SDL --

Very popular with commercial developers targetting linux, osx and windows. Has ports to many other platforms.

Very easy to work with, and handles crossplatform input and GL init for you.

It of course does a bunch of 2D and sound options too, but you don't have to use those if you don't want to.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites
Thanks guys.

I'm a student employee in the IT department at the university I attend. We mainly have PC's, but we have a few labs with Macs (No intel processors though :()

Also, I can go the live CD route for linux as mentioned, or I'll just install it on an older computer of mine.

I had always put off SDL because I had thought the support for 3D graphics was very limited. But I seem to be wrong. I like it's feature set and the api seems straight forward, so I'll give it a try.

So, I'll be using SDL + g++ on windows. Then, I'll talk my boss into letting me develop on one of the school macs. And getting linux setup on one of my computers isn't a problem. I just hope my code is truly portable.

Share this post

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

Sign in to follow this  

  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
    • Total Posts
  • Similar Content

    • By DelicateTreeFrog
      Hello! As an exercise for delving into modern OpenGL, I'm creating a simple .obj renderer. I want to support things like varying degrees of specularity, geometry opacity, things like that, on a per-material basis. Different materials can also have different textures. Basic .obj necessities. I've done this in old school OpenGL, but modern OpenGL has its own thing going on, and I'd like to conform as closely to the standards as possible so as to keep the program running correctly, and I'm hoping to avoid picking up bad habits this early on.
      Reading around on the OpenGL Wiki, one tip in particular really stands out to me on this page:
      For something like a renderer for .obj files, this sort of thing seems almost ideal, but according to the wiki, it's a bad idea. Interesting to note!
      So, here's what the plan is so far as far as loading goes:
      Set up a type for materials so that materials can be created and destroyed. They will contain things like diffuse color, diffuse texture, geometry opacity, and so on, for each material in the .mtl file. Since .obj files are conveniently split up by material, I can load different groups of vertices/normals/UVs and triangles into different blocks of data for different models. When it comes to the rendering, I get a bit lost. I can either:
      Between drawing triangle groups, call glUseProgram to use a different shader for that particular geometry (so a unique shader just for the material that is shared by this triangle group). or
      Between drawing triangle groups, call glUniform a few times to adjust different parameters within the "master shader", such as specularity, diffuse color, and geometry opacity. In both cases, I still have to call glBindTexture between drawing triangle groups in order to bind the diffuse texture used by the material, so there doesn't seem to be a way around having the CPU do *something* during the rendering process instead of letting the GPU do everything all at once.
      The second option here seems less cluttered, however. There are less shaders to keep up with while one "master shader" handles it all. I don't have to duplicate any code or compile multiple shaders. Arguably, I could always have the shader program for each material be embedded in the material itself, and be auto-generated upon loading the material from the .mtl file. But this still leads to constantly calling glUseProgram, much more than is probably necessary in order to properly render the .obj. There seem to be a number of differing opinions on if it's okay to use hundreds of shaders or if it's best to just use tens of shaders.
      So, ultimately, what is the "right" way to do this? Does using a "master shader" (or a few variants of one) bog down the system compared to using hundreds of shader programs each dedicated to their own corresponding materials? Keeping in mind that the "master shaders" would have to track these additional uniforms and potentially have numerous branches of ifs, it may be possible that the ifs will lead to additional and unnecessary processing. But would that more expensive than constantly calling glUseProgram to switch shaders, or storing the shaders to begin with?
      With all these angles to consider, it's difficult to come to a conclusion. Both possible methods work, and both seem rather convenient for their own reasons, but which is the most performant? Please help this beginner/dummy understand. Thank you!
    • By JJCDeveloper
      I want to make professional java 3d game with server program and database,packet handling for multiplayer and client-server communicating,maps rendering,models,and stuffs Which aspect of java can I learn and where can I learn java Lwjgl OpenGL rendering Like minecraft and world of tanks
    • By AyeRonTarpas
      A friend of mine and I are making a 2D game engine as a learning experience and to hopefully build upon the experience in the long run.

      -What I'm using:
          C++;. Since im learning this language while in college and its one of the popular language to make games with why not.     Visual Studios; Im using a windows so yea.     SDL or GLFW; was thinking about SDL since i do some research on it where it is catching my interest but i hear SDL is a huge package compared to GLFW, so i may do GLFW to start with as learning since i may get overwhelmed with SDL.  
      Knowing what we want in the engine what should our main focus be in terms of learning. File managements, with headers, functions ect. How can i properly manage files with out confusing myself and my friend when sharing code. Alternative to Visual studios: My friend has a mac and cant properly use Vis studios, is there another alternative to it?  
    • By ferreiradaselva
      Both functions are available since 3.0, and I'm currently using `glMapBuffer()`, which works fine.
      But, I was wondering if anyone has experienced advantage in using `glMapBufferRange()`, which allows to specify the range of the mapped buffer. Could this be only a safety measure or does it improve performance?
      Note: I'm not asking about glBufferSubData()/glBufferData. Those two are irrelevant in this case.
    • By xhcao
      Before using void glBindImageTexture(    GLuint unit, GLuint texture, GLint level, GLboolean layered, GLint layer, GLenum access, GLenum format), does need to make sure that texture is completeness. 
  • Popular Now