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rXpSwiss

Unity Learn OpenGL or DirectX ?

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Hello,

I want to really start programming games but from the ground up (C++). So I don't want to use UE3 or Unity or Source Engine, etc.
I found a book on the basics of DirectX (a lot of 2d and a bit of 3d) and a book on the OpenGL (but with no code, only algorithms).
I would like to know which of the two I should learn, which of the two is more "useful". And what tutorial or book (up to date) I should read to learn.
I'm sure it is easy to find books up-to-date on DirectX but for OpenGL I really can't find something recent and that explains how to use OpenGL from the beginning (creating the project on visual studio etc.).

I hope you will be able to guide me.

Best regards,

rXp>!<

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Ultimately you should learn both, and knowledge of one won't prevent you from learning the other. The API-level differences are a very small part of a bigger picture here.

As for which one first, go with the one that you can more easily find resources on and that feels most comfortable to you.

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DirectX and OpenGL both have it's pros and cons. If your not sure which one you should focus on then see what each one has to offer and compare that with what your trying to achieve.

Example: If, in the future, you want to develop multi-platform video games then you should focus on OpenGL.

However, before digging down that hole, you should expand your knowledge of C++ (If you haven't already).

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Meh, both are fine -- though I'm dyed in the wool Direct3D myself. The trouble is that although current OpenGL is passable, finding documentation and tutorials on current OpenGL is next to impossible. So instead you end up following shoddy old OpenGL tutorials that were a bad idea in 2002, and have to spend months undoing the damage piecewise. It doesn't help that the bad versions are waaay easier for beginners to code. D3D 11 is a bit trying as a newbie, but at least the correct path is drawn clearly.

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I'd recommend DirectX10 - 11. The DirectX API has been completely redesigned for the newer versions and I find its much simpler to understand as a result. There is a little more code required to render your first triangle but its mostly initialization code.

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I would go with DirectX. OpenGL has many driver bugs that vary between platforms and graphics card manufacturers, so even if advertised as a cross-platform graphics API, results will vary widely and it may not even run at all on some machines while working fine on others, both supporting the same OpenGL version.
It does have the advantage of OpenGL ES, which is necessary for iOS development and support there is much more standardized; if it works on one device it works on them all (“all” being devices of the same capabilities or better).

In the case of DirectX, what works on one really does work on all without any hassle. Since it uses classes it is easier to use (in general) and lets you think more intuitively about the interactions between objects.
While both API’s are complex and simple in their own ways, I consider that OpenGL just has more of those “little annoyances”. Little things that add up, such as trying to set the format for a texture. It takes 3 parameters instead of 1, and when starting out you may find yourself struggling to actually identify valid combinations of those 3, since many are not.

Documentation is the final nail. Since the community has been responsible for making tutorials and useful documentation for OpenGL, searching Google is a wildcard. You will find old, new, and deprecated ways of doing things and never be sure which tutorials you can trust, etc. Not the case with DirectX or OpenGL ES. OpenGL ES may succumb to this in the future but for now it is new enough and limited enough in device support that not much of it has become outdated/deprecated. DirectX comes with many samples of all levels and very thorough documentation.

Overall, it should be easier for someone to start with DirectX.


L. Spiro

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