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OGL Library/Engine I should use

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Here's where I'm at:
-I've graduated from college (BS in Computer Science)
-Found a decent job
-Have some experience building various games/engines from books
-Have done some shaders etc...
-Am thusly *quite* familiar with C++, but also use Ruby, Python, Java, and have no qualms with learning languages.

So, I'm attempting to hobbyist my way through building a nice 3d map-maker/editor, but I'm having a *very* difficult time deciding on what to use with OpenGL, or finding good tuts. I'm fine with using a library or building my own mini-engine (for basic input handling, loading, rendering, etc.) but there's no real reason to. I imagine a decent library also already batches textures and such.

I'm also unsure where HLSL works it's way into OpenGL (because the books I've gone through either ignore it entirely or are in DirectX.)

What I really need is good direction to a stable, fast, **hopefully os independent platform that has reasonable tutorials so I can get moving on what I really want to do for now.

My plans are to build a map-maker/editor using (probably) Qt and OpenGL (since a map maker requires a nice UI and is less intense with graphics.) However, recommendations here are quite welcome! As for what to build a game in (under OpenGL) I have no idea. The


So I guess my question is:
-What library/engine should I use? (for both or suggest one for each.)
-Do you know of good tuts that involve what you've suggested
-Do these allow you a lot of freedom to really customize what you're doing? (or maybe if that's too ambiguous, what limits are they placing on my freedoms in the code?)
-Is HLSL any different for OGL?

Thank you for any assistence in finding my way! I originally started programming with games in mind so being able to do so in my off time would be glorious and allow my inner-creative coder to be unleashed.

**If not independent, either a library that deals with the windowing issues (from what I understand this is the biggest dependence in OpenGL) or

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You could look into freely available rendering engines which support OpenGL. Libraries like irrlicht or OGRE (among others) would do the trick.
Tutorials for these libraries are available on their respective sites.

As for limitations, you can do pretty much anything you can do in native OGL in these libraries. I must admit that it's been a while since I worked with either library, or since I've been active in the irrlicht community so I really can't speak for their current state, but I don't believe you will find any problems there.

And to conclude, yes there is a different shading language for OpenGL. HLSL is DirectX only, OpenGL uses GLSL. These languages are quite similar in a lot of aspects though, porting shaders from one language to the other is mostly a matter of syntax adjustments. There's also the option of Cg which is an HLSL-like shading language created by Nvidia which supports both OpenGL and DirectX.

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For a good and up-to-date platform independent tutorial, I recommend [url="http://www.arcsynthesis.org/gltut/"]Learning Modern 3D Graphics Programming[/url]. Make sure you avoid tutorials based on legacy OpenGL (immediate mode, based on glBegin/glEnd).

For the question of what engine to use, there are several possible ways to go. Either use a big engine which have "it all", or use a list of minimal libraries that together give what you want.

The last alternative may be better for you. A big engine, with everything, usually gives you much more than you want, and adds a lot of overhead. There may also be problems to combine Qt with a graphics engine. For platform independent support libraries I would recommend (the ones I am using):

[url="http://glm.g-truc.net/"]glm[/url]: Math library specialized for OpenGL.
[url="http://glew.sourceforge.net/"]glew[/url]: Name mangler so you don't need to read out the OpenGL function adresses on your own.
[url="http://www.glfw.org/"]glfw[/url]: Create window, establish OpenGL context, manage input and output. If you use Qt, you don't need this one.

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