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# OpenGL OpenGL Lighting problems

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Can somebody tell me how to specify the normal for each vertex? The book I have tells me how to get just the one normal (giving me flat shaded polygons. :<) Also, anybody know how to gourand shade polygons using materials? Please keep in mind that I''m real new to OpenGL... Thanks.

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Specifing a normal for each vertex is easy - just call glNormalxxx() before each glVertexxxx(). Later, when you get better with using OpenGL, you''ll start using vertex arrays, but for learning purposes, you''ll probably eventually wrap every vertex with:
glNormal();
glTexCoords();
glVertex();

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Uhh, I''m not trying to be ungrateful but...

How do I "get" the normal for each vertex...that OpenGL book I got only shows how to get the one normal and then it cheats on the rest of the examples and uses aux functions and therefor not telling me how to get them...

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Well, you calculate it based on the object you''re trying to render.

If it''s a sphere, the normal is a vector pointing directly away from the center of the sphere.

If it''s a terrain or flatish polygonal model, people generally average the face normals of all the faces which share the vertex.

If you''re drawing some kind of mathematically defined surface, you can figure out the normal based on the derivative of the surface''s equation.

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It accepts one of 2 parameters:

At initialization, gl has glShadeModel set to GL_SMOOTH, so as long as you didn't call glShadeMode(), specifying a normal per vertex will give you smooth shading, so long as each normal is the normal to the surface, and not the polygon. Here is an example of the difference between a normal to the surface and the normals to the polygons apporximating the surface.

Edited by - succinct on November 2, 2001 3:15:28 PM

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A sphere is definitely the easiest, because, as cheesegrater said, the normal for any point on a sphere is the line from the line from the center of the sphere to the point, normalized.

For an arbitrary mesh of polygons, you keep track of what polygons use what vertices and for each vertex computer the average of all the polygon normals that use that vertex. The necessary data structures for figuring this out are somewhat tricky, because each polygon must reference it's composing vertices, and each vertex must reference all of the polygons that reference it. It becomes a "chicken or the egg" type of problem, but you can solve it.

And, to my knowledge, the only other type of surface is a mathematically defined one. If you can define a surface parametrically, such that it is in terms of two variables, usually u and v, you can find the normal using a little calculus. For a given ( u,v ) on the surface, the surface normal is the unit tangent of the u curve crossed with the unit tangent of the v curve.

Basically, seperate the equation into it's f( u ) and g( v ) parts, expressed as vector functions. Find f'( u ) and g'( v ). Normalize them. Cross them. This is your unit normal vector.

Here is a visual explanation for the normals for a parametric torus.

The torus is just a circle (g(v)) swept around another curve (f(u)). The normal at any given point is the unit gradient of the sweeping curve crossed by the unit gradient of the swept curve.

For a circle defined as
x = r*cos( t )
y = r*sin( t )

x' = r*-sin( t )
y' = r*cos( t )

just like you learn in highschool (and hopefully you've been to highschool and have had calculus!)

For further explanation, the picture generated used the following function.

  void gl::RenderTorus( int Majors, // number of major subdivisions (along the greater circle) int Minors, // number of minor subdivisions (along the lesser circle) float MrX, // major x radius float MrY, // major y radius float mrX, // minor x radius float mrZ, // minor z radius float Msa, // major start angle float Mea, // major end angle float msa, // minor start angle float mea, // minor end angle bool InvertNormals){ // the vector class uses the operator ^ as a cross product // the member function .Unit() normalizes the vector. int NumMajorVertices = Majors + 1; int NumMinorVertices = Minors + 1; if( NumMajorVertices <= 2 ) NumMajorVertices = 3; if( NumMinorVertices <= 2 ) NumMinorVertices = 3; // calc angle deltas float MajorAngleDelta = (Mea - Msa)*M_PI/(180*(NumMajorVertices - 1)); float MinorAngleDelta = (mea - msa)*M_PI/(180*(NumMinorVertices - 1)); float MajorAngle1 = Msa*M_PI/180; float MajorAngle2 = MajorAngle1 + MajorAngleDelta; for( int i = 0; i < NumMajorVertices - 1; ++i ) { // calc major coordinates and normals float uS1x = cos( MajorAngle1 ); float uS1y = sin( MajorAngle1 ); float uS2x = cos( MajorAngle2 ); float uS2y = sin( MajorAngle2 ); Vector uS1 = Vector( MrX*uS1x,MrY*uS1y,0 ); Vector uN1 = Vector( -MrX*uS1y,MrY*uS1x,0 ).Unit() ^ Vector( 0,0,1 ); Vector uS2 = Vector( MrX*uS2x,MrY*uS2y,0 ); Vector uN2 = Vector( -MrX*uS2y,MrY*uS2x,0 ).Unit() ^ Vector( 0,0,1 ); // calc rotation angles for minor ellipse (so it lines up with major normal) float RotationAngle1 = acos( uN1.x ); if( ((-M_PI < MajorAngle1) && (MajorAngle1 < 0 )) || ((2*M_PI > MajorAngle1) && (MajorAngle1 > M_PI)) ) RotationAngle1 = -RotationAngle1; float RotationAngle2 = acos( uN2.x ); if( ((-M_PI < MajorAngle2) && (MajorAngle2 < 0 )) || ((2*M_PI > MajorAngle2) && (MajorAngle2 > M_PI)) ) RotationAngle2 = -RotationAngle2; // cache rotation coefficients float ct1 = cos( RotationAngle1 ); float st1 = sin( RotationAngle1 ); float ct2 = cos( RotationAngle2 ); float st2 = sin( RotationAngle2 ); glBegin( GL_QUAD_STRIP ); float MinorAngle = msa*M_PI/180; for( int j = 0; j < NumMinorVertices; ++j ) { // v == minor param float vSx = cos( MinorAngle ); float vSz = sin( MinorAngle ); // rotate minor ellipse so it is aligned with the normal of the major ellipse at this point Vector vS = Vector( mrX* vSx,0,mrZ*vSz ); Vector vT = Vector( mrX*-vSz,0,mrZ*vSx ); Vector vS1r = Vector( ct1*vS.x,st1*vS.x,vS.z ); Vector vT1r = Vector( ct1*vT.x,st1*vT.x,vT.z ); Vector vS2r = Vector( ct2*vS.x,st2*vS.x,vS.z ); Vector vT2r = Vector( ct2*vT.x,st2*vT.x,vT.z ); Vector vN1 = ((vT1r ^ vS1r).Unit() ^ vT1r).Unit(); Vector vN2 = ((vT2r ^ vS2r).Unit() ^ vT2r).Unit(); if( InvertNormals ) { vN1 = -vN1; vN2 = -vN2; } glNormal3fv( vN1 ); glVertex3fv( uS1 + vS1r ); glNormal3fv( vN2 ); glVertex3fv( uS2 + vS2r ); MinorAngle += MinorAngleDelta; } glEnd(); MajorAngle1 += MajorAngleDelta; MajorAngle2 += MajorAngleDelta; }}

I hope that helps,
-- Succinct

Edited by - succinct on November 2, 2001 5:14:11 PM

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Uhh, hmm.

Ok, you guys are really being nice and putting lots of time into this but, all this info is really confusing...how do I "smooth shade" a cube? I thought you had to give a "normal" for each vertex...

>just like you learn in highschool (and hopefully you''ve been to >highschool and have had calculus!)
Hmm, uhh... In highschool.

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If you have the object in a .3ds file you can use
a software named 3DExploration (search with www.google.com)
and this software give you a file (see "Save as..") with
all information about texturing normals vertex position...
as .cpp file for OpenGL.
That''s all

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Hi,

When you have already the normal for a polygon it is
not difficult to find the vertex-normals.
take a vertex, go through your polygons, take the Face(polygon)-Normal from all the polygons who share that vertex,
add them and normalize it, so can get the vertex-normals.

Try a Cube, becaue a cube only has eight corners, vertices

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Etwinox:

After you figure out the vertex issues, to gourand shade a polygon you can do the following:

//----------------------------------------

//define light and material properties
float ambientLight[] = {0.5f,0.5f,0.5f,1.0f}; // ambient light
float specularLight[]= {1.0f,1.0f,1.0f,1.0f }; //specular light

//material reacting to ambient light
float matAmbient[] = {1.0f, 1.0f, 1.0f, 1.0f};

glEnable (GL_LIGHTING); // Enable lighting
glEnable (GL_COLOR_MATERIAL); //enable materials
glColorMaterial(GL_FRONT, GL_AMBIENT_AND_DIFFUSE);

//Set the lighting materials
glMaterialfv(GL_FRONT, GL_AMBIENT, matAmbient);
glMaterialfv(GL_FRONT, GL_SPECULAR, specularLight);
glMateriali (GL_FRONT, GL_SHININESS, 128); //strong shiny effect

//Setup LIGHT0
glLightfv(GL_LIGHT0, GL_AMBIENT, ambientLight); //ambient light
glLightfv(GL_LIGHT0, GL_SPECULAR, specularLight);//specular light
glLightfv(GL_LIGHT0, GL_POSITION, lightPosition);//light position

glEnable (GL_LIGHT0); //enable light0

/---------------------------------/

Hope it helps

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quote:
Original post by Etwinox
Uhh, hmm.

Ok, you guys are really being nice and putting lots of time into this but, all this info is really confusing...how do I "smooth shade" a cube? I thought you had to give a "normal" for each vertex...

Smooth shading works fine with face normals. With a cube, specify the same normal for each vertex in a face. The ''smoothness'' of smooth shading will come from the changing angle to the light source at the different vertexes (which is computed by openGL for you) rather than from differing normals.

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Why would you smooth shade a cube? All of the normals on a particular face share the same normal. Even worse, if you''re only using 8 vertices for the cube, because each vertex is used more than once (4 vertices per face, each vertex shares 3 faces), there is not a particular "vertex normal" or "surface normal" that relates to each vertex in a 1 to 1 manner. Each vertex will use 3 different normals, one for each face it''s rendering. This is because each vertex lies on a sharp edge.

If you were to use a single "surface" normal for each vertex, the cube would not look like a cube, but like a sphere that is very under tesselated, like it doesn''t use enough polygons to approximate the surface of the sphere.

Now, if you were talking about using more than 8 vertices, like having vertices internal to a particular plane (face), then each vertex on a particular face shares the same normal.

If you''re looking to explore smooth shading, try a different primitive that doesn''t have sharp edges, such as a sphere, cone, or cylinder. I learned how to describe these shapes in 11th grade trig class - it''s all sines and cosines.

If you''re interested in some code for them post here about it and I can send you some or post some here. My advice, though, is to "borrow" some of the math books you use in high school trig and calculus, and get your hands on some college level texts, if you can. I still have my high school trig book, two different high school calc books, and all of my college math books. Every once in a while, I still have to go and double check something from that high school trig book!

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Aww...
I didn''t think of it that way. I thought you "had" to smooth shade an object...how do games get a "spotlight" effect then if
the surface consists of only one normal? I didn''t think it would
work considering the lighting is only a brightness level when its one normal (or so it seems).

Course, now I know why my attempts at smooth shading a cube were
not exactly correct looking.

P.S.
Thank god, I thought I would of been stuck on chapter five of that book forever. ^_^

Oh, almost forgot, I would be happy to see that source code you were talking about if you have the free time, but its upto you.

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By a ''spotlight'' effect I''m going to assume that you''re talking about a specular reflection. (The white patch you see when looking at an apple or a shiny ball.)

The specular reflection occurs when the vector of light ''mirroring'' off of the object happens to line up well with the vector to the eye. Think of the light bouncing off of the surface at the same angle it hit. If the bounce points right at your eye or camera, you get a specular hightlight. This happens at some points of a flat surface but not others, since the reflected light rays won''t match up when reflected from various points, even if they are reflected at nearly the same angle.

OpenGL''s shading model (gourand shading) won''t do specular highlighting within a face. To get this you need to tesselate your flat surfaces into larger groups of triangles. However, with a flat surface these tesselated faces will still all have the same normal.

If you want this to happen on one big quad, you need phong shading, which isn''t built into OpenGL.

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If you want a normal for a triangle, this is the code:

struct GLVECTOR
{
float x,y,z;
}

GLVECTOR triangle[3];
glVECTOR normal;
GLVECTOR temp[2];

//move the triangle temporarily to the origin.
temp[0] = triangle[1] - triangle[0];
temp[1] = triangle[2] - triangle[0];
//No real code, i know, but you know how to do that.

normal.x = triangle[1].y*triangle[2].z - triangle[2].y*triangle[1].z;
normal.y = triangle[1].z*triangle[2].x - triangle[2].z*triangle[1].x;
normal.z = triangle[1].x*triangle[2].y - triangle[2].x*triangle[1].y;

Now you got a good normal. (Needs to be normalized, though, but you can use glEnable(GL_NORMALIZE), i think..)

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• 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.
Overview
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:
Render device (IRenderDevice  interface) is responsible for creating all other objects (textures, buffers, shaders, pipeline states, etc.).
Device context (IDeviceContext interface) is the main interface for recording rendering commands. Similar to Direct3D11, there are immediate context and deferred contexts (which in Direct3D11 implementation map directly to the corresponding context types). Immediate context combines command queue and command list recording functionality. It records commands and submits the command list for execution when it contains sufficient number of commands. Deferred contexts are designed to only record command lists that can be submitted for execution through the immediate context.
An alternative way to design the API would be to expose command queue and command lists directly. This approach however does not map well to Direct3D11 and OpenGL. Besides, some functionality (such as dynamic descriptor allocation) can be much more efficiently implemented when it is known that a command list is recorded by a certain deferred context from some thread.
The approach taken in the engine does not limit scalability as the application is expected to create one deferred context per thread, and internally every deferred context records a command list in lock-free fashion. At the same time this approach maps well to older APIs.
In current implementation, only one immediate context that uses default graphics command queue is created. To support multiple GPUs or multiple command queue types (compute, copy, etc.), it is natural to have one immediate contexts per queue. Cross-context synchronization utilities will be necessary.
Swap Chain (ISwapChain interface). Swap chain interface represents a chain of back buffers and is responsible for showing the final rendered image on the screen.
Render device, device contexts and swap chain are created during the engine initialization.
Resources (ITexture and IBuffer interfaces). There are two types of resources - textures and buffers. There are many different texture types (2D textures, 3D textures, texture array, cubmepas, etc.) that can all be represented by ITexture interface.
Resources Views (ITextureView and IBufferView interfaces). While textures and buffers are mere data containers, texture views and buffer views describe how the data should be interpreted. For instance, a 2D texture can be used as a render target for rendering commands or as a shader resource.
Pipeline State (IPipelineState interface). GPU pipeline contains many configurable stages (depth-stencil, rasterizer and blend states, different shader stage, etc.). Direct3D11 uses coarse-grain objects to set all stage parameters at once (for instance, a rasterizer object encompasses all rasterizer attributes), while OpenGL contains myriad functions to fine-grain control every individual attribute of every stage. Both methods do not map very well to modern graphics hardware that combines all states into one monolithic state under the hood. Direct3D12 directly exposes pipeline state object in the API, and Diligent Engine uses the same approach.
Shader Resource Binding (IShaderResourceBinding interface). Shaders are programs that run on the GPU. Shaders may access various resources (textures and buffers), and setting correspondence between shader variables and actual resources is called resource binding. Resource binding implementation varies considerably between different API. Diligent Engine introduces a new object called shader resource binding that encompasses all resources needed by all shaders in a certain pipeline state.
API Basics
Creating Resources
Device resources are created by the render device. The two main resource types are buffers, which represent linear memory, and textures, which use memory layouts optimized for fast filtering. Graphics APIs usually have a native object that represents linear buffer. Diligent Engine uses IBuffer interface as an abstraction for a native buffer. To create a buffer, one needs to populate BufferDesc structure and call IRenderDevice::CreateBuffer() method as in the following example:
BufferDesc BuffDesc; BufferDesc.Name = "Uniform buffer"; BuffDesc.BindFlags = BIND_UNIFORM_BUFFER; BuffDesc.Usage = USAGE_DYNAMIC; BuffDesc.uiSizeInBytes = sizeof(ShaderConstants); BuffDesc.CPUAccessFlags = CPU_ACCESS_WRITE; m_pDevice->CreateBuffer( BuffDesc, BufferData(), &m_pConstantBuffer ); While there is usually just one buffer object, different APIs use very different approaches to represent textures. For instance, in Direct3D11, there are ID3D11Texture1D, ID3D11Texture2D, and ID3D11Texture3D objects. In OpenGL, there is individual object for every texture dimension (1D, 2D, 3D, Cube), which may be a texture array, which may also be multisampled (i.e. GL_TEXTURE_2D_MULTISAMPLE_ARRAY). As a result there are nine different GL texture types that Diligent Engine may create under the hood. In Direct3D12, there is only one resource interface. Diligent Engine hides all these details in ITexture interface. There is only one  IRenderDevice::CreateTexture() method that is capable of creating all texture types. Dimension, format, array size and all other parameters are specified by the members of the TextureDesc structure:
TextureDesc TexDesc; TexDesc.Name = "My texture 2D"; TexDesc.Type = TEXTURE_TYPE_2D; TexDesc.Width = 1024; TexDesc.Height = 1024; TexDesc.Format = TEX_FORMAT_RGBA8_UNORM; TexDesc.Usage = USAGE_DEFAULT; TexDesc.BindFlags = BIND_SHADER_RESOURCE | BIND_RENDER_TARGET | BIND_UNORDERED_ACCESS; TexDesc.Name = "Sample 2D Texture"; m_pRenderDevice->CreateTexture( TexDesc, TextureData(), &m_pTestTex ); If native API supports multithreaded resource creation, textures and buffers can be created by multiple threads simultaneously.
Interoperability with native API provides access to the native buffer/texture objects and also allows creating Diligent Engine objects from native handles. It allows applications seamlessly integrate native API-specific code with Diligent Engine.
Next-generation APIs allow fine level-control over how resources are allocated. Diligent Engine does not currently expose this functionality, but it can be added by implementing IResourceAllocator interface that encapsulates specifics of resource allocation and providing this interface to CreateBuffer() or CreateTexture() methods. If null is provided, default allocator should be used.
Initializing the Pipeline State
As it was mentioned earlier, Diligent Engine follows next-gen APIs to configure the graphics/compute pipeline. One big Pipelines State Object (PSO) encompasses all required states (all shader stages, input layout description, depth stencil, rasterizer and blend state descriptions etc.). This approach maps directly to Direct3D12/Vulkan, but is also beneficial for older APIs as it eliminates pipeline misconfiguration errors. With many individual calls tweaking various GPU pipeline settings it is very easy to forget to set one of the states or assume the stage is already properly configured when in fact it is not. Using pipeline state object helps avoid these problems as all stages are configured at once.
While in earlier APIs shaders were bound separately, in the next-generation APIs as well as in Diligent Engine shaders are part of the pipeline state object. The biggest challenge when authoring shaders is that Direct3D and OpenGL/Vulkan use different shader languages (while Apple uses yet another language in their Metal API). Maintaining two versions of every shader is not an option for real applications and Diligent Engine implements shader source code converter that allows shaders authored in HLSL to be translated to GLSL. To create a shader, one needs to populate ShaderCreationAttribs structure. SourceLanguage member of this structure tells the system which language the shader is authored in:
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:
Creating the Pipeline State Object
After all required shaders are created, the rest of the fields of the PipelineStateDesc structure provide depth-stencil, rasterizer, and blend state descriptions, the number and format of render targets, input layout format, etc. For instance, rasterizer state can be described as follows:
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:
// Define shader and primitive topology PSODesc.GraphicsPipeline.PrimitiveTopologyType = PRIMITIVE_TOPOLOGY_TYPE_TRIANGLE; PSODesc.GraphicsPipeline.pVS = pVertexShader; PSODesc.GraphicsPipeline.pPS = pPixelShader; PSODesc.Name = "My pipeline state"; m_pDev->CreatePipelineState(PSODesc, &m_pPSO); When PSO object is bound to the pipeline, the engine invokes all API-specific commands to set all states specified by the object. In case of Direct3D12 this maps directly to setting the D3D12 PSO object. In case of Direct3D11, this involves setting individual state objects (such as rasterizer and blend states), shaders, input layout etc. In case of OpenGL, this requires a number of fine-grain state tweaking calls. Diligent Engine keeps track of currently bound states and only calls functions to update these states that have actually changed.
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).
Static variables cannot be changed once a resource is bound to the variable. They are bound directly to the shader object. For instance, a shadow map texture is not expected to change after it is created, so it can be bound directly to the shader:
m_pPSO->CreateShaderResourceBinding(&m_pSRB); Note that an SRB is only compatible with the pipeline state it was created from. SRB object inherits all static bindings from shaders in the pipeline, but is not allowed to change them.
Mutable resources can only be set once for every instance of a shader resource binding. Such resources are intended to define specific material properties. For instance, a diffuse texture for a specific material is not expected to change once the material is defined and can be set right after the SRB object has been created:
m_pSRB->GetVariable(SHADER_TYPE_PIXEL, "tex2DDiffuse")->Set(pDiffuseTexSRV); In some cases it is necessary to bind a new resource to a variable every time a draw command is invoked. Such variables should be labeled as dynamic, which will allow setting them multiple times through the same SRB object:
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 two samples, asteroids performance benchmark and example Unity project that uses Diligent Engine in native plugin.
AntTweakBar sample is Diligent Engine’s “Hello World” example.

Atmospheric scattering sample is a more advanced example. It 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 and Android platforms. Direct3D11, Direct3D12, OpenGL/GLES backends are now feature complete. Vulkan backend is coming next, and support for more platforms is planned.

• I've started building a small library, that can render pie menu GUI in legacy opengl, planning to add some traditional elements of course.
It's interface is similar to something you'd see in IMGUI. It's written in C.
Early version of the library
I'd really love to hear anyone's thoughts on this, any suggestions on what features you'd want to see in a library like this?