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Krankles

Is OpenGL Programming Guide 8th Edition Version 4.3 a good book to learn from?

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Hi, I have a fairly good understanding of C++ and I made a couple of small little games in SFML. I decided to move onto OpenGL now and I was wondering whether I should pickup and get the OpenGL Programming Guide 8th Edition Version 4.3? I want your feedback on the book whether it's suitable for someone who's trying to learn OpenGL because I don't want to buy it, then find out that it's horrible and that I wasted my cash on it.

 

If this book is bad, then what are your suggestions to learning modern opengl? I dislike NeHe tutorials since they're old and deprecated. Also, if there's any other books that you suggest I should get then please leave a comment below or even a website to check out.

 

Thanks.

Edited by Krankles
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Hey there.

 

I would recommend the [url=http://www.amazon.com/OpenGL-SuperBible-Comprehensive-Tutorial-Reference/dp/0321712617]OpenGL SuperBible[/url] as a great learning resource for modern OpenGL programming.

 

Having learned OpenGL 2.1 with an older edition of the OpenGL programming guide, I found it difficult to understand which features

were deprecated in newer OpenGL versions and how new features like FBOs are used correctly. Lots of outdated OpenGL tutorials

on the internet contribute to this confusion.

 

The OpenGL SuperBible teaches you modern shader-driven OpenGL programming and omits deprecated but yet supported

stuff like glBegin()/glEnd(). You will learn how to use FBOs, VAOs and geometry shaders, for example.

 

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I wouldn't recommend any book (or other source material) focussing on 4.3 right now precisely because AMD don't have full GL 4.3 drivers available yet (neither do Intel).  The contents of the book may very well be useless for you on account of this, and even if they're not, they will be useless for a significant proportion of the people you distribute your program to.  There's also the small (or maybe not so small) matter of Apple not supporting any GL_VERSION higher than 3.2.

 

Of course, if neither of these conditions apply then by all means go for 4.3, but otherwise sticking with 3.2 is going to be a safer and more compatible option.

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Thanks, but just a quick question (probably a stupid one), how do you learn from these tutorials/books (for example, arcsynthesis) if they don't give you a small snippet of code and explain it? I'm looking at arcsynthesis and basically he just wants you to read the whole source code, which also has a framework in place, which I then need to scavenge for and read about how his framework works.

 

I'm sort of used to tutorials teaching things step by step and explaining snippets of code (coming from Flash). Also, I looked at the superbible and it teaches you their opengl wrapper instead of opengl until later into the chapters.

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I wouldn't recommend any book (or other source material) focussing on 4.3 right now precisely because AMD don't have full GL 4.3 drivers available yet (neither do Intel)

 

Actually, AMD have recently added support for 4.3 http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalyst13-4WINReleaseNotes.aspx

 

 

Thanks, but just a quick question (probably a stupid one), how do you learn from these tutorials/books (for example, arcsynthesis) if they don't give you a small snippet of code and explain it? I'm looking at arcsynthesis and basically he just wants you to read the whole source code, which also has a framework in place, which I then need to scavenge for and read about how his framework works.

 

I'm sort of used to tutorials teaching things step by step and explaining snippets of code (coming from Flash). Also, I looked at the superbible and it teaches you their opengl wrapper instead of opengl until later into the chapters.

 

I haven't tried the downloaded version, but the online version of arcsynthesis does have small snippets that are fully explained. Atleast, I did find it easy enough to understand, even when using it with OpenTK.

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My path started with some tutorials (one of them was NeHe). Then some books to enhance knowledge.

Now, I have ended with official Khronos Reference and some books on graphic effects and numerical methods.

OpenGL itself is tool, and real work is to use it well - e.g.. writting good shaders.

So, I recommend everybody to start fast and when you learn how to setup OpenGL,

how to write simple shader and run it, then spend your money on books which show you direction

to go to obtain a certain imagined end effect. After the "first start" you will just know what you need.

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My path started with some tutorials (one of them was NeHe). Then some books to enhance knowledge.

Now, I have ended with official Khronos Reference and some books on graphic effects and numerical methods.

OpenGL itself is tool, and real work is to use it well - e.g.. writting good shaders.

So, I recommend everybody to start fast and when you learn how to setup OpenGL,

how to write simple shader and run it, then spend your money on books which show you direction

to go to obtain a certain imagined end effect. After the "first start" you will just know what you need.

 

I see, so start a bit of OpenGL from a web tutorial or something and learn the basics, then go for example, read OpenGL Programming Guide 8th Edition Version 4.3? I also read that this book also basically teaches 3.3 with little code having to be changed.

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I own both the 7th and 8th edition of the Red Book, and can only recommend not to waste money on it. The online resources linked to above are free and much better.

 

The "Red Books" are the best "learning OpenGL" books you can buy, but only because there are only 2 or 3 books alltogether, and the other ones are still worse. Sadly. I wouldn't mind paying $$$ for a good book.

 

In their defense, the 8th edition (OpenGL 4.3) is not as abysmal as the 7th edition, which despite its name does not at all refer to "OpenGL versions 3.0 and 3.1", but is rather an "OpenGL 1.x" book that had a few words added on some new 3.0/3.1 features -- but without any diligence onto the modern programming models or deprecation, and with hardly a way for the reader to figure it out (if you don't know already, you're lost). At least this has been fixed in the 8th edition, this edition really addresses OpenGL 4.x as promised.

 

The books are full with errors (spelling, logic, subtle, and not so subtle ones) which gives the impression the authors didn't even bother to proof read (they probably did, but it doesn't look the like). I stopped counting after scanning over the first 20-30 pages.

The code samples are in "C with some C++" or whatever the authors call it, and I sometimes find them needlessly obscure in some places, but alas... that may as well be a matter of taste.

 

Still, I find the online resources such as the one by Arcsynthesis more comprehensive, more useful, and well... they're even free.

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I own both the 7th and 8th edition of the Red Book, and can only recommend not to waste money on it. The online resources linked to above are free and much better.

 

The "Red Books" are the best "learning OpenGL" books you can buy, but only because there are only 2 or 3 books alltogether, and the other ones are still worse. Sadly. I wouldn't mind paying $$$ for a good book.

 

In their defense, the 8th edition (OpenGL 4.3) is not as abysmal as the 7th edition, which despite its name does not at all refer to "OpenGL versions 3.0 and 3.1", but is rather an "OpenGL 1.x" book that had a few words added on some new 3.0/3.1 features -- but without any diligence onto the modern programming models or deprecation, and with hardly a way for the reader to figure it out (if you don't know already, you're lost). At least this has been fixed in the 8th edition, this edition really addresses OpenGL 4.x as promised.

 

The books are full with errors (spelling, logic, subtle, and not so subtle ones) which gives the impression the authors didn't even bother to proof read (they probably did, but it doesn't look the like). I stopped counting after scanning over the first 20-30 pages.

The code samples are in "C with some C++" or whatever the authors call it, and I sometimes find them needlessly obscure in some places, but alas... that may as well be a matter of taste.

 

Still, I find the online resources such as the one by Arcsynthesis more comprehensive, more useful, and well... they're even free.

 

I see. I'm curious, how did you learn modern opengl? How did you approach the arcsynthesis tutorials (if you did learn it from arcsynthesis)? Did you read it and then tested the source code? Or did you read and try to make your own demo?

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The best way for me to learn OpenGL was/is to get examples from somewhere and cross reference them with the specification and reference pages. That is also why I wrote a bunch of examples myself (see my signature) that i regularly consult and copy from as a starting point.

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Also, I looked at the superbible and it teaches you their opengl wrapper instead of opengl until later into the chapters.

 

The SuperBible isn't teaching the wrapper. The author is using the wrapper to teach the basic concepts of 3D programming with OpenGL. The book is targeting a wide audience, including people who have never done any 3D programming. His decision to postpone the gory details of the modern programmable pipeline until later is a sound one, IMO. If you know all there is to know about coordinate systems, matrices & vectors, when & why to load shaders and such, you can jump straight to chapter 6 (IIRC) and get busy with the shader API.  

Edited by Aldacron
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Which is what I found so infuriating about most OpenGL resources... They claim to teach OpenGL in their name but in reality try to teach Graphics Programming while wierdly working around the math and just happen to use OpenGL for that. But that is apparently the main audience I guess angry.png . So if you don't need someone to simplify the math for you and have some idea about how computer graphics work you are better off diving into the specs.

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Which is what I found so infuriating about most OpenGL resources... They claim to teach OpenGL in their name but in reality try to teach Graphics Programming while wierdly working around the math and just happen to use OpenGL for that. But that is apparently the main audience I guess angry.png . So if you don't need someone to simplify the math for you and have some idea about how computer graphics work you are better off diving into the specs.

Maybe you'll find what you're looking for here?

http://www.opengl.org/documentation/books/

Edited by lightxbulb
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I see. I'm curious, how did you learn modern opengl?

With time and pain, a lot of pain. Reading the publicly available "What's new in OpenGL 3.0/3.1" presentations from IVHs and some university courses as they became available, then digging through the specs and the online man pages, and... trying and failing, trying again and failing again, and trying. Unluckily, no such thing as the Arcsynthesis site existed at that time (I only read it about 8-10 months after GL 3.3 came out).

Going to version 3.3 and later 4.0 was a breeze (nothing in 4.1/4.2 that I'm much interested in, except what's supported as ARB extension for 3.x already anyway).

 

I bought the Red Book (7th ed) after having gone the hard way, as "holiday reading" with a mindset "All nice and well, but not good enough. Let's learn this thing properly, from the bottom up". That didn't happen.

 

When the 8th edition came out, I figured "Well, this one really has to be better, because you can't pull the same thing for a 4.x book again". With version 3.x, one might still find kind of an excuse insofar as deprecated functionality was not stricly disallowed, but for versions 4.x that approach won't work.

And indeed, the 8th edition turned out being much better (more honest) insofar as inside the book you really get what the cover promises.

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OpenGL Programming Guide uses GLUT (which you'd never use in a real game).  Other than that, it's a decent book to learn from.  It's arranged more logically than the Superbible, and I haven't found any better beginner books on OpenGL.  Beginning OpenGL Game Programming is also extremely easy to learn from and doesn't use external libraries for initialization.

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OpenGL Programming Guide uses GLUT (which you'd never use in a real game).  Other than that, it's a decent book to learn from.  It's arranged more logically than the Superbible, and I haven't found any better beginner books on OpenGL.  Beginning OpenGL Game Programming is also extremely easy to learn from and doesn't use external libraries for initialization.

 

Yeah I've started a little bit on OpenGL and used GLFW to create the window, context and listen for events. Also, what edition would you recommend me for Beginning OpenGL Game Programming?

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I see. I'm curious, how did you learn modern opengl? How did you approach the arcsynthesis tutorials (if you did learn it from arcsynthesis)? Did you read it and then tested the source code? Or did you read and try to make your own demo?

 

By referring to the OpenGL reference pages on opengl.org, and cross referencing those pages with the interfaces found in Direct3D.

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Actually, AMD have recently added support for 4.3 http://support.amd.com/us/kbarticles/Pages/AMDCatalyst13-4WINReleaseNotes.aspx

 

They still don't have a full implementation; what 13.4 has done is add some new GL4.3 features but they're still only ~50% of the way there (counting extensions they have implemented but which tested with driver bugs); see http://www.g-truc.net/post-0566.html#menu

 

Still missing in AMD as of 13.4 are:

 

    GL_KHR_debug
    GL_ARB_framebuffer_no_attachments
    GL_ARB_copy_image
    GL_ARB_texture_view
    GL_ARB_vertex_attrib_binding

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