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JustChris

OpenGL Instancing in OpenGL and other questions

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I started 3D graphics on OpenGL but that was long ago and recently I've been doing more work on DirectX and gotten rusty with OpenGL. The only book I have is about the red book when the latest version of the API was 1.4, so I only know the older concepts on using it. With that said, does OpenGL support any sort of instancing? Does this approach have any big performance benefits on OpenGL or could I just use vertex arrays and display lists and work just as fine? I've heard of vertex buffer objects but that doesn't seem to be standard (at least on the 1.4 spec my book talks about). Also is it recommended to use OpenGL these days without any extensions at all?

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1.4 is pretty old.

2.1 would be pretty standard these days (kind-of-DX9-level).

If you want to go DX10-kind-of-level, you can go with 3.1.

VBOs are definitely the kind of feature you'd want to be using (assuming you're targeting GL2). They work almost exactly the same as vertex-arrays, so there isn't much change required to switch over to them. Everything in GL is an extension (almost :P), so you almost have to use them. Just stick to using the standard ones (i.e. ARB_*) instead of NVidia/ATI/etc-specific ones.

DX-style instancing wasn't added until 3.0 IIRC. It's not as important in GL, because GL's draw calls aren't as slow as DX's. In older versions of GL, there's an alternative trick called pseudo instancing.

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