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OpenGL Requesting list of useful extensions

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I'm still learning my way around inside OpenGL, and trying to distill down the big list of extensions. Right now, I'm working with a 6800GT, affording me about 71 potential extensions (only counting ARB and EXT) in OpenGL 2.0.3. Can everyone make a list of extensions you find useful, or use a lot of the time? Also, could you give a brief description of what each does? On a side note, does anyone know which ones have been depreciated? For example, I'd heard GL_ARB_non_power_of_two is no longer needed since it's part of the core, but I'm not sure. Thanks for any help you can provide. ;)

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im only using one extension VBO ( at the most the number of extensions yould typically need u could count on your hand )
youll find if u use opengl2.0 (with glsl) a lot of the old extensions arent needed

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Some useful extensions:

Vertex Buffer Objects
Extension: GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object
This was promoted to core in OpenGL 1.5.
This extension allows you to store your data (e.g. vertices, normals, texture coordinates) in a fast memory that is directly accessible to the GPU. This basically means that you can render much faster than you would be able to if the data was stored in system memory.
This is preferred method of storing data to be rendered nowadays. I haven't seen code which does not use VBO (except for very simple examples) in quite a while.

GLSL Shading Language
Extension: GL_ARB_shading_language_100
Promoted to core in Gl 2.0.
Presence of this extension determines if your hardware supports GLSL.

Extension: GL_ARB_shader_objects
Promoted to core in OpenGL 2.0.
This extension defines all entry points you need when working with GLSL shaders. It allows you to create, manage and use GLSL shaders.

Floating-Point Textures
Extension: GL_ARB_texture_float
As the name suggests, this allows you to create and use textures with floating-point data format (colour componetes can be 16 or 32 bit floats). This can be used when working with a lot of modern techniques like HDR, deferred rendering etc.
When using fp textures you will probably need GL_ARB_color_buffer_float which adds various pixel format options that control clamping of the colour components.

Rectangular and non-power-of-two textures
Extensions:
GL_ARB_texture_rectangle
GL_ARB_texture_non_power_of_two
These extensions alow you to use non-power-of-two textures that do not have to be square. NPOT extension was promoted to core in GL 2.0.

Multiple render targets
Extension: GL_ARB_draw_buffers
This was promoted to core in GL 2.0.
This extensions allows you to write output from your shaders to multiple outputs at once. For example, you can write colour of the pixel to one output and normal to another. Very useful for many advanced techniques.

Multitexturing
Extension: GL_ARB_multitexture
Promoted to core in OpenGL 1.3 (old :). This allows you to use multiple textures simultaneously (d'oh).

WGL Extensions List
Extension: WGL_ARB_extensions_string
Windows only. This extension allows you to query list of WGL extensions supported by your drivers and hardware. If you are using some sort of extension loader (e.g. GLEW), you will not need it.

Pixel Buffer Objects
Extension: WGL_ARB_pbuffer
Windows extension only. This allows you to create offscreen buffer to which you can output your rendering calls. Pixel buffer is basically an "invisible" equivalent of the window.

Render to texture
Extension: WGL_ARB_render_texture
Windows extension only. As the name suggests, this allows you to "redirect" your output to a texture. This texture can later be used just as any normal texture.

===========

Of course, this list is not exhaustive. All ARB extensions can be found in official extension registry. Newer extensions defined by NVIDIA can be found on a special page here. Similar page for ATI extensions can be found here.

Extensions that have been promoted to the core can be found at the end of the OpenGL specification. Newest specs can be found on this page.

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Thanks for the suggestions so far. I plan to use GL_EXT_frame_buffer_object because of all the good things I'd heard about it, and all the bad things I'd heard about pixel buffers.

One little question. If you have NPOT (particularly in GL2.0) then why do you need texture rectangle?

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Quote:
Original post by b2b3
Pixel Buffer Objects
Extension: WGL_ARB_pbuffer
Windows extension only. This allows you to create offscreen buffer to which you can output your rendering calls. Pixel buffer is basically an "invisible" equivalent of the window.


No, wrong.

WGL_ARB_pBuffer is for a pbuffer, this is NOT the same as a PBO or pixel buffer object.

PBOs are a method of performing Async transfers from the GPU and buffer to buffer copies on the GPU (such as textures to vertex buffers).

And frankly, unless you need a seperate context, you won't want to be using pbuffers, instead you want Frame Buffer Objects (FBO), which are the newer and much improved method of rendering to a texture.

There is also a short series of articles on FBOs written by some really top guy [grin]

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Okay, a couple more questions:
1.) What is sRGB, and why is it significant to OpenGL?

2.) PBOs. What is the most common use of them? Is there a place with a decent explanation? Are they to textures what VBOs are to geometry?

3.) How well supported is GL_EXT_texture_compression_s3tc across GPUs?

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I should probably look at sRGB at some point, however to answer the others;

2) PBOs are used for async copies of data to and from the graphics card (and from one buffer type to another). Textures already exist in video ram, PBOs just help with the uploading (so that the various functions don't block CPU execution).

3) The texture compression extensions have been supported for many generations now, I think even the orignal GeForce cards had support for it.

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Quote:

What is sRGB, and why is it significant to OpenGL?

sRGB is an ISO standarized non-linear colour space. In a normal RGB8 image, the colour distribution is completely linear. Each of the possible 255 increments is exactly the same over the entire dark to white range: 1/255.

However, the colour response of a display device (often being the final target for all OpenGL rendered content) is not linear. This is why usually gamma correction is applied on the final rendering.

A linear colour space such as RGB8 thus wastes a lot of values for brightness ranges the human eye cannot even distinguish due to the non-linearity of the screen, while lacking precision in other ranges. The solution would be to go to RGB16 or RGB16F, but this comes with a significant memory overhead.

The new sRGB formats try to find a middle ground. They distribute the dynamic ranges of the image in a way that matches the response curve of a screen more closely than plain RGB8. The net result is a higher quality of smooth gradients (ie. less banding) while the memory consumption stays the same.


[Edited by - Yann L on March 21, 2007 5:52:02 PM]

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Quote:
Original post by phantom
Quote:
Original post by b2b3
Pixel Buffer Objects
Extension: WGL_ARB_pbuffer
Windows extension only. This allows you to create offscreen buffer to which you can output your rendering calls. Pixel buffer is basically an "invisible" equivalent of the window.


No, wrong.

WGL_ARB_pBuffer is for a pbuffer, this is NOT the same as a PBO or pixel buffer object.

PBOs are a method of performing Async transfers from the GPU and buffer to buffer copies on the GPU (such as textures to vertex buffers).

And frankly, unless you need a seperate context, you won't want to be using pbuffers, instead you want Frame Buffer Objects (FBO), which are the newer and much improved method of rendering to a texture.

There is also a short series of articles on FBOs written by some really top guy [grin]


You are right, I got them mixed up [embarrass].

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