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OpenGL OpenGL and Visual C++ (not a rehash)

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I know there are a lot of posts that are related to this issue, however I just can't figure it out. I tried learning OpenGL this last summer and dropped it, not because I didn't understand the content, but because I just couldn't get the libraries set up right.

I'm giving OpenGL another shot, because I'm trying to develop GUI for a data analysis program that I am writing and it seems like the best option for what I am trying to do. After this project, I want to move on to programming more fun applications, not for work smile.png I am trying to set up OpenGL with Microsoft Visual C++ 2010. But again, I just can't get it right.

I have followed the online tutorials to set it up and I don't understand what I'm doing wrong. With my questions I'm going to start at square one so I don't mess anything up. I re-installed my Visual C++ IDE fresh as well to make sure that everything is downloaded correctly. I am working on a Studio Laptop with Windows 7 and a 64-bit Operating System (that may be repetitive).

Here are my specific questions:

-Where should I get my OpenGL library?
-Which libraries should I get (GLUT,GLU, GLAUX,etc...)?
-Where should I put my library on my computer in order to reference it (w/ #include ...)?

More general questions:

-Can you think of anything that I am missing?
-Is there something that I need to do within Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 outside of the actual text of the code to include the OpenGL correctly?

Thank you in advance for taking time to answer my questions. I appreciate any help you can provide!

Please don't dismiss me as a programming illiterate. I don't know where I fall as a C++ programmer. And, I don't think I am terribly advanced. However, I understand the language well enough to write sequence analysis programs for my research. I have a good grasp of all the fundamentals of programming in C++. However, I have very little experience working with GUI libraries. This is something that I want to learn, and something that I am willing to put the time into learning. I just can't seem to get off the ground and I need some help.

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1) Where should I get my OpenGL library?
2) Which libraries should I get (GLUT,GLU, GLAUX,etc...)?
3) Where should I put my library on my computer in order to reference it (w/ #include ...)?

1) You do not need to get anything (dll comes with every windows out of the box, relevant lib/h is included in VC)
2) GLUT is dead (might want to use freeGLUT instead), GLAUX was already dead when i first heard about Gl. GLU you might find useful, but is not strictly needed. As you are new, i would suggest GLEW as otherwise you will be stuck in ancient OpenGl (It is an extension loader).
3) It is up to you. I use a per project folder so i can choose per project which exact version i use of any given library.

Usage is very simple: http://glew.sourceforge.net/basic.html

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Thought i give one possible setup example:

#define GLEW_STATIC
// adding the libs in source for convenience.
#pragma comment(lib,"opengl32.lib") // already present in VC
#pragma comment(lib,"glew_lib_file.lib") // lib needs to be in standard lib folders (32bit one in ".../VC/lib" and 64bit one in "../VC/lib/amd64").
// or use this trick: __FILE__ "/../../../etc/path_to_somewhere_else/my_project_specific_copy_of_glew.lib"
#include "wherever_you_put_them/glew.h"
#include "wherever_you_put_them/wglew.h"
// or "#indluce <glew.h>" etc, if you drop them in "../VC/include"
bool initializeGLEW() {
GLenum err = glewInit();
return err == GLEW_OK;
}

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1) You do not need to get anything (dll comes with every windows out of the box, relevant lib/h is included in VC)
2) GLUT is dead (might want to use freeGLUT instead), GLAUX was already dead when i first heard about Gl. GLU you might find useful, but is not strictly needed. As you are new, i would suggest GLEW as otherwise you will be stuck in ancient OpenGl (It is an extension loader).
3) It is up to you. I use a per project folder so i can choose per project which exact version i use of any given library.

Usage is very simple: http://glew.sourceforge.net/basic.html


Wow, shows how much I know. I didn't know GLUT was dead. How do you suggest that I now go about learning GLEW? Do you recommend any tutorials?
Thank you for the quick and informative answer.

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1) I didn't know GLUT was dead.
2) How do you suggest that I now go about learning GLEW? Do you recommend any tutorials?
Thank you for the quick and informative answer.

1) Went to refresh my memory when it last saw an update - surprisingly difficult to track down x_x. Definitely ~12 years ago tho, which given how much Gl has advanced since ... yeah, pretty dead (this does not mean that it does not work - it does work). freeGLUT is made to work very similarly afaik, so that should help on tutorial front. I have never used neither of thous - opting to create a gl context etc myself (probably not recommended as it creates a fairly major learning curve speed-pump at the very start).

Doing some OGL stuff goes roughly like this:
* get a window with a device context capable of accelerated opengl => freeGLUT helps you out there.
* initGlew() - to get the gl* function pointers to actually point to their implementations, if supported.
* create some message loop for the window in which you call your redraw function => freeGLUT helps you out there.
* in redraw function: do what you want biggrin.png.
And that is pretty much it.

2) GLEW just loads all the extensions (The OpenGl version in Windows is locked down to 1.1 [1.2? can not remember exactly]] - so, pretty much everything needs to be loaded, including all the core functionality). GLEW does that all for you. It also provides boolean flags to check for non-core extensions (OGL 3.3 is powerful enough that you probably never even need any) - and if they return true then you can also use all of thous functions.

There really is nothing to learn there. It is needed just so that you could actually call the majority of the gl* functions.

A great tutorial for graphics in general (ie, not stuck in OGL 1.* mindset like the NeHe series), based on up to date (the internet tends to be riddled with horribly ancient stuff) opengl, is: http://www.arcsynthesis.org/gltut/
It also introduces the GLM library which is quite recommended.

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A great tutorial for graphics in general (ie, not stuck in OGL 1.* mindset like the NeHe series), based on up to date (the internet tends to be riddled with horribly ancient stuff) opengl, is: http://www.arcsynthesis.org/gltut/
It also introduces the GLM library which is quite recommended.


Thank you again for being so helpful! This is great! I have started going through the tutorial and I have already run into problems with premake4. Would it be alright if I P.M. you so I don't keep bumping this thread?

EDIT: Problem solved, only to run into a new problem. The "frameworkD.lib" file is not supported ["Unable to start program 'C:\...\framework\lib\frameworkD.lib'. The specified file is an unrecognized or unsupported binary format."] That doesn't make sense to me. Any ideas?

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    • By DiligentDev
      This article uses material originally posted on Diligent Graphics web site.
      Introduction
      Graphics APIs have come a long way from small set of basic commands allowing limited control of configurable stages of early 3D accelerators to very low-level programming interfaces exposing almost every aspect of the underlying graphics hardware. Next-generation APIs, Direct3D12 by Microsoft and Vulkan by Khronos are relatively new and have only started getting widespread adoption and support from hardware vendors, while Direct3D11 and OpenGL are still considered industry standard. New APIs can provide substantial performance and functional improvements, but may not be supported by older hardware. An application targeting wide range of platforms needs to support Direct3D11 and OpenGL. New APIs will not give any advantage when used with old paradigms. It is totally possible to add Direct3D12 support to an existing renderer by implementing Direct3D11 interface through Direct3D12, but this will give zero benefits. Instead, new approaches and rendering architectures that leverage flexibility provided by the next-generation APIs are expected to be developed.
      There are at least four APIs (Direct3D11, Direct3D12, OpenGL/GLES, Vulkan, plus Apple's Metal for iOS and osX platforms) that a cross-platform 3D application may need to support. Writing separate code paths for all APIs is clearly not an option for any real-world application and the need for a cross-platform graphics abstraction layer is evident. The following is the list of requirements that I believe such layer needs to satisfy:
      Lightweight abstractions: the API should be as close to the underlying native APIs as possible to allow an application leverage all available low-level functionality. In many cases this requirement is difficult to achieve because specific features exposed by different APIs may vary considerably. Low performance overhead: the abstraction layer needs to be efficient from performance point of view. If it introduces considerable amount of overhead, there is no point in using it. Convenience: the API needs to be convenient to use. It needs to assist developers in achieving their goals not limiting their control of the graphics hardware. Multithreading: ability to efficiently parallelize work is in the core of Direct3D12 and Vulkan and one of the main selling points of the new APIs. Support for multithreading in a cross-platform layer is a must. Extensibility: no matter how well the API is designed, it still introduces some level of abstraction. In some cases the most efficient way to implement certain functionality is to directly use native API. The abstraction layer needs to provide seamless interoperability with the underlying native APIs to provide a way for the app to add features that may be missing. Diligent Engine is designed to solve these problems. Its main goal is to take advantages of the next-generation APIs such as Direct3D12 and Vulkan, but at the same time provide support for older platforms via Direct3D11, OpenGL and OpenGLES. Diligent Engine exposes common C++ front-end for all supported platforms and provides interoperability with underlying native APIs. It also supports integration with Unity and is designed to be used as graphics subsystem in a standalone game engine, Unity native plugin or any other 3D application. Full source code is available for download at GitHub and is free to use.
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      Diligent Engine API takes some features from Direct3D11 and Direct3D12 as well as introduces new concepts to hide certain platform-specific details and make the system easy to use. It contains the following main components:
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      Creating Shaders
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      When sampling a texture in a shader, the texture sampler was traditionally specified as separate object that was bound to the pipeline at run time or set as part of the texture object itself. However, in most cases it is known beforehand what kind of sampler will be used in the shader. Next-generation APIs expose new type of sampler called static sampler that can be initialized directly in the pipeline state. Diligent Engine exposes this functionality: when creating a shader, textures can be assigned static samplers. If static sampler is assigned, it will always be used instead of the one initialized in the texture shader resource view. To initialize static samplers, prepare an array of StaticSamplerDesc structures and initialize StaticSamplers and NumStaticSamplers members. Static samplers are more efficient and it is highly recommended to use them whenever possible. On older APIs, static samplers are emulated via generic sampler objects.
      The following is an example of shader initialization:
      ShaderCreationAttribs Attrs; Attrs.Desc.Name = "MyPixelShader"; Attrs.FilePath = "MyShaderFile.fx"; Attrs.SearchDirectories = "shaders;shaders\\inc;"; Attrs.EntryPoint = "MyPixelShader"; Attrs.Desc.ShaderType = SHADER_TYPE_PIXEL; Attrs.SourceLanguage = SHADER_SOURCE_LANGUAGE_HLSL; BasicShaderSourceStreamFactory BasicSSSFactory(Attrs.SearchDirectories); Attrs.pShaderSourceStreamFactory = &BasicSSSFactory; ShaderVariableDesc ShaderVars[] = {     {"g_StaticTexture", SHADER_VARIABLE_TYPE_STATIC},     {"g_MutableTexture", SHADER_VARIABLE_TYPE_MUTABLE},     {"g_DynamicTexture", SHADER_VARIABLE_TYPE_DYNAMIC} }; Attrs.Desc.VariableDesc = ShaderVars; Attrs.Desc.NumVariables = _countof(ShaderVars); Attrs.Desc.DefaultVariableType = SHADER_VARIABLE_TYPE_STATIC; StaticSamplerDesc StaticSampler; StaticSampler.Desc.MinFilter = FILTER_TYPE_LINEAR; StaticSampler.Desc.MagFilter = FILTER_TYPE_LINEAR; StaticSampler.Desc.MipFilter = FILTER_TYPE_LINEAR; StaticSampler.TextureName = "g_MutableTexture"; Attrs.Desc.NumStaticSamplers = 1; Attrs.Desc.StaticSamplers = &StaticSampler; ShaderMacroHelper Macros; Macros.AddShaderMacro("USE_SHADOWS", 1); Macros.AddShaderMacro("NUM_SHADOW_SAMPLES", 4); Macros.Finalize(); Attrs.Macros = Macros; RefCntAutoPtr<IShader> pShader; m_pDevice->CreateShader( Attrs, &pShader );
      Creating the Pipeline State Object
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      PipelineStateDesc PSODesc; RasterizerStateDesc &RasterizerDesc = PSODesc.GraphicsPipeline.RasterizerDesc; RasterizerDesc.FillMode = FILL_MODE_SOLID; RasterizerDesc.CullMode = CULL_MODE_NONE; RasterizerDesc.FrontCounterClockwise = True; RasterizerDesc.ScissorEnable = True; RasterizerDesc.AntialiasedLineEnable = False; Depth-stencil and blend states are defined in a similar fashion.
      Another important thing that pipeline state object encompasses is the input layout description that defines how inputs to the vertex shader, which is the very first shader stage, should be read from the memory. Input layout may define several vertex streams that contain values of different formats and sizes:
      // Define input layout InputLayoutDesc &Layout = PSODesc.GraphicsPipeline.InputLayout; LayoutElement TextLayoutElems[] = {     LayoutElement( 0, 0, 3, VT_FLOAT32, False ),     LayoutElement( 1, 0, 4, VT_UINT8, True ),     LayoutElement( 2, 0, 2, VT_FLOAT32, False ), }; Layout.LayoutElements = TextLayoutElems; Layout.NumElements = _countof( TextLayoutElems ); Finally, pipeline state defines primitive topology type. When all required members are initialized, a pipeline state object can be created by IRenderDevice::CreatePipelineState() method:
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      Binding Shader Resources
      Direct3D11 and OpenGL utilize fine-grain resource binding models, where an application binds individual buffers and textures to certain shader or program resource binding slots. Direct3D12 uses a very different approach, where resource descriptors are grouped into tables, and an application can bind all resources in the table at once by setting the table in the command list. Resource binding model in Diligent Engine is designed to leverage this new method. It introduces a new object called shader resource binding that encapsulates all resource bindings required for all shaders in a certain pipeline state. It also introduces the classification of shader variables based on the frequency of expected change that helps the engine group them into tables under the hood:
      Static variables (SHADER_VARIABLE_TYPE_STATIC) are variables that are expected to be set only once. They may not be changed once a resource is bound to the variable. Such variables are intended to hold global constants such as camera attributes or global light attributes constant buffers. Mutable variables (SHADER_VARIABLE_TYPE_MUTABLE) define resources that are expected to change on a per-material frequency. Examples may include diffuse textures, normal maps etc. Dynamic variables (SHADER_VARIABLE_TYPE_DYNAMIC) are expected to change frequently and randomly. Shader variable type must be specified during shader creation by populating an array of ShaderVariableDesc structures and initializing ShaderCreationAttribs::Desc::VariableDesc and ShaderCreationAttribs::Desc::NumVariables members (see example of shader creation above).
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      m_pSRB->GetVariable(SHADER_TYPE_VERTEX, "cbRandomAttribs")->Set(pRandomAttrsCB); Under the hood, the engine pre-allocates descriptor tables for static and mutable resources when an SRB objcet is created. Space for dynamic resources is dynamically allocated at run time. Static and mutable resources are thus more efficient and should be used whenever possible.
      As you can see, Diligent Engine does not expose low-level details of how resources are bound to shader variables. One reason for this is that these details are very different for various APIs. The other reason is that using low-level binding methods is extremely error-prone: it is very easy to forget to bind some resource, or bind incorrect resource such as bind a buffer to the variable that is in fact a texture, especially during shader development when everything changes fast. Diligent Engine instead relies on shader reflection system to automatically query the list of all shader variables. Grouping variables based on three types mentioned above allows the engine to create optimized layout and take heavy lifting of matching resources to API-specific resource location, register or descriptor in the table.
      This post gives more details about the resource binding model in Diligent Engine.
      Setting the Pipeline State and Committing Shader Resources
      Before any draw or compute command can be invoked, the pipeline state needs to be bound to the context:
      m_pContext->SetPipelineState(m_pPSO); Under the hood, the engine sets the internal PSO object in the command list or calls all the required native API functions to properly configure all pipeline stages.
      The next step is to bind all required shader resources to the GPU pipeline, which is accomplished by IDeviceContext::CommitShaderResources() method:
      m_pContext->CommitShaderResources(m_pSRB, COMMIT_SHADER_RESOURCES_FLAG_TRANSITION_RESOURCES); The method takes a pointer to the shader resource binding object and makes all resources the object holds available for the shaders. In the case of D3D12, this only requires setting appropriate descriptor tables in the command list. For older APIs, this typically requires setting all resources individually.
      Next-generation APIs require the application to track the state of every resource and explicitly inform the system about all state transitions. For instance, if a texture was used as render target before, while the next draw command is going to use it as shader resource, a transition barrier needs to be executed. Diligent Engine does the heavy lifting of state tracking.  When CommitShaderResources() method is called with COMMIT_SHADER_RESOURCES_FLAG_TRANSITION_RESOURCES flag, the engine commits and transitions resources to correct states at the same time. Note that transitioning resources does introduce some overhead. The engine tracks state of every resource and it will not issue the barrier if the state is already correct. But checking resource state is an overhead that can sometimes be avoided. The engine provides IDeviceContext::TransitionShaderResources() method that only transitions resources:
      m_pContext->TransitionShaderResources(m_pPSO, m_pSRB); In some scenarios it is more efficient to transition resources once and then only commit them.
      Invoking Draw Command
      The final step is to set states that are not part of the PSO, such as render targets, vertex and index buffers. Diligent Engine uses Direct3D11-syle API that is translated to other native API calls under the hood:
      ITextureView *pRTVs[] = {m_pRTV}; m_pContext->SetRenderTargets(_countof( pRTVs ), pRTVs, m_pDSV); // Clear render target and depth buffer const float zero[4] = {0, 0, 0, 0}; m_pContext->ClearRenderTarget(nullptr, zero); m_pContext->ClearDepthStencil(nullptr, CLEAR_DEPTH_FLAG, 1.f); // Set vertex and index buffers IBuffer *buffer[] = {m_pVertexBuffer}; Uint32 offsets[] = {0}; Uint32 strides[] = {sizeof(MyVertex)}; m_pContext->SetVertexBuffers(0, 1, buffer, strides, offsets, SET_VERTEX_BUFFERS_FLAG_RESET); m_pContext->SetIndexBuffer(m_pIndexBuffer, 0); Different native APIs use various set of function to execute draw commands depending on command details (if the command is indexed, instanced or both, what offsets in the source buffers are used etc.). For instance, there are 5 draw commands in Direct3D11 and more than 9 commands in OpenGL with something like glDrawElementsInstancedBaseVertexBaseInstance not uncommon. Diligent Engine hides all details with single IDeviceContext::Draw() method that takes takes DrawAttribs structure as an argument. The structure members define all attributes required to perform the command (primitive topology, number of vertices or indices, if draw call is indexed or not, if draw call is instanced or not, if draw call is indirect or not, etc.). For example:
      DrawAttribs attrs; attrs.IsIndexed = true; attrs.IndexType = VT_UINT16; attrs.NumIndices = 36; attrs.Topology = PRIMITIVE_TOPOLOGY_TRIANGLE_LIST; pContext->Draw(attrs); For compute commands, there is IDeviceContext::DispatchCompute() method that takes DispatchComputeAttribs structure that defines compute grid dimension.
      Source Code
      Full engine source code is available on GitHub and is free to use. The repository contains tutorials, sample applications, asteroids performance benchmark and an example Unity project that uses Diligent Engine in native plugin.
      Atmospheric scattering sample demonstrates how Diligent Engine can be used to implement various rendering tasks: loading textures from files, using complex shaders, rendering to multiple render targets, using compute shaders and unordered access views, etc.

      Asteroids performance benchmark is based on this demo developed by Intel. It renders 50,000 unique textured asteroids and allows comparing performance of Direct3D11 and Direct3D12 implementations. Every asteroid is a combination of one of 1000 unique meshes and one of 10 unique textures.

      Finally, there is an example project that shows how Diligent Engine can be integrated with Unity.

      Future Work
      The engine is under active development. It currently supports Windows desktop, Universal Windows, Linux, Android, MacOS, and iOS platforms. Direct3D11, Direct3D12, OpenGL/GLES backends are now feature complete. Vulkan backend is coming next, and Metal backend is in the plan.
    • By LifeArtist
      Good Evening,
      I want to make a 2D game which involves displaying some debug information. Especially for collision, enemy sights and so on ...
      First of I was thinking about all those shapes which I need will need for debugging purposes: circles, rectangles, lines, polygons.
      I am really stucked right now because of the fundamental question:
      Where do I store my vertices positions for each line (object)? Currently I am not using a model matrix because I am using orthographic projection and set the final position within the VBO. That means that if I add a new line I would have to expand the "points" array and re-upload (recall glBufferData) it every time. The other method would be to use a model matrix and a fixed vbo for a line but it would be also messy to exactly create a line from (0,0) to (100,20) calculating the rotation and scale to make it fit.
      If I proceed with option 1 "updating the array each frame" I was thinking of having 4 draw calls every frame for the lines vao, polygons vao and so on. 
      In addition to that I am planning to use some sort of ECS based architecture. So the other question would be:
      Should I treat those debug objects as entities/components?
      For me it would make sense to treat them as entities but that's creates a new issue with the previous array approach because it would have for example a transform and render component. A special render component for debug objects (no texture etc) ... For me the transform component is also just a matrix but how would I then define a line?
      Treating them as components would'nt be a good idea in my eyes because then I would always need an entity. Well entity is just an id !? So maybe its a component?
      Regards,
      LifeArtist
    • By QQemka
      Hello. I am coding a small thingy in my spare time. All i want to achieve is to load a heightmap (as the lowest possible walking terrain), some static meshes (elements of the environment) and a dynamic character (meaning i can move, collide with heightmap/static meshes and hold a varying item in a hand ). Got a bunch of questions, or rather problems i can't find solution to myself. Nearly all are deal with graphics/gpu, not the coding part. My c++ is on high enough level.
      Let's go:
      Heightmap - i obviously want it to be textured, size is hardcoded to 256x256 squares. I can't have one huge texture stretched over entire terrain cause every pixel would be enormous. Thats why i decided to use 2 specified textures. First will be a tileset consisting of 16 square tiles (u v range from 0 to 0.25 for first tile and so on) and second a 256x256 buffer with 0-15 value representing index of the tile from tileset for every heigtmap square. Problem is, how do i blend the edges nicely and make some computationally cheap changes so its not obvious there are only 16 tiles? Is it possible to generate such terrain with some existing program?
      Collisions - i want to use bounding sphere and aabb. But should i store them for a model or entity instance? Meaning i have 20 same trees spawned using the same tree model, but every entity got its own transformation (position, scale etc). Storing collision component per instance grats faster access + is precalculated and transformed (takes additional memory, but who cares?), so i stick with this, right? What should i do if object is dynamically rotated? The aabb is no longer aligned and calculating per vertex min/max everytime object rotates/scales is pretty expensive, right?
      Drawing aabb - problem similar to above (storing aabb data per instance or model). This time in my opinion per model is enough since every instance also does not have own vertex buffer but uses the shared one (so 20 trees share reference to one tree model). So rendering aabb is about taking the model's aabb, transforming with instance matrix and voila. What about aabb vertex buffer (this is more of a cosmetic question, just curious, bumped onto it in time of writing this). Is it better to make it as 8 points and index buffer (12 lines), or only 2 vertices with min/max x/y/z and having the shaders dynamically generate 6 other vertices and draw the box? Or maybe there should be just ONE 1x1x1 cube box template moved/scaled per entity?
      What if one model got a diffuse texture and a normal map, and other has only diffuse? Should i pass some bool flag to shader with that info, or just assume that my game supports only diffuse maps without fancy stuff?
      There were several more but i forgot/solved them at time of writing
      Thanks in advance
    • By RenanRR
      Hi All,
      I'm reading the tutorials from learnOpengl site (nice site) and I'm having a question on the camera (https://learnopengl.com/Getting-started/Camera).
      I always saw the camera being manipulated with the lookat, but in tutorial I saw the camera being changed through the MVP arrays, which do not seem to be camera, but rather the scene that changes:
      Vertex Shader:
      #version 330 core layout (location = 0) in vec3 aPos; layout (location = 1) in vec2 aTexCoord; out vec2 TexCoord; uniform mat4 model; uniform mat4 view; uniform mat4 projection; void main() { gl_Position = projection * view * model * vec4(aPos, 1.0f); TexCoord = vec2(aTexCoord.x, aTexCoord.y); } then, the matrix manipulated:
      ..... glm::mat4 projection = glm::perspective(glm::radians(fov), (float)SCR_WIDTH / (float)SCR_HEIGHT, 0.1f, 100.0f); ourShader.setMat4("projection", projection); .... glm::mat4 view = glm::lookAt(cameraPos, cameraPos + cameraFront, cameraUp); ourShader.setMat4("view", view); .... model = glm::rotate(model, glm::radians(angle), glm::vec3(1.0f, 0.3f, 0.5f)); ourShader.setMat4("model", model);  
      So, some doubts:
      - Why use it like that?
      - Is it okay to manipulate the camera that way?
      -in this way, are not the vertex's positions that changes instead of the camera?
      - I need to pass MVP to all shaders of object in my scenes ?
       
      What it seems, is that the camera stands still and the scenery that changes...
      it's right?
       
       
      Thank you
       
    • By dpadam450
      Sampling a floating point texture where the alpha channel holds 4-bytes of packed data into the float. I don't know how to cast the raw memory to treat it as an integer so I can perform bit-shifting operations.

      int rgbValue = int(textureSample.w);//4 bytes of data packed as color
      // algorithm might not be correct and endianness might need switching.
      vec3 extractedData = vec3(  rgbValue & 0xFF000000,  (rgbValue << 8) & 0xFF000000, (rgbValue << 16) & 0xFF000000);
      extractedData /= 255.0f;
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