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Heelp

OpenGL Should I start with fixed-function-pipeline OpenGL or the newest possible?

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    Guys, I made a few projects on SDL 1.2 and I decided to jump to 3D programming.
I found that 3D Math Primer book and I swallowed the first 200 pages.

I was bored and I decided to practice a little bit with OpenGL before reading the next chapters.

 

    I used the lazyfoo OpenGL tutorials which, by the way, are not so good (his SDL tutorials are more than perfect, though). He explained the matrix transformations in the ugliest way possible, good thing I read that math primer book first, so I got what he said. Next, he starts first with some old-pipeline OpenGL stuff, doesn't really explain how all the matrices are interacting with each other and with screen, and not everything is explained properly (or I'm just stupid).

 

    And I'm wondering, should I continue with his tutorials, although I understand 60-70% of it, or should I see some OpenGL books. And what OpenGL version should I start with, old one first, or directly jump to the newest one?. I have a basic understanding of how objects should be transformed while moving forward or backwards with a player using WASD keys, but I can write only some pseudocode using a piece of paper, can't do it in OpenGL. Until I receive an answer, I will torture myself with those lazyfoo tutorials. So better answer quickly.

Edited by Heelp

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Just to echo what the others have said, It's harder to get started using non-fixed function stuff, a lot harder. I don't know exactly how much code is required to draw just a simple triangle with fixed function compared to non-fixed function but I'm sure it's at least an order of magnitude more to use non-fixed function. Still, there are tutorials out there and you should persevere. Sometimes learning an earlier tech helps towards the newer tech (you can't run before you can walk) but for OpenGL I do not believe that to be the case any. You'll just be learning things that don't transfer and going into later versions of OpenGL with certain expectations that no longer hold true. As for what version I can't really say, 3+ and if you are interested in GLES (mobile development) then 2+. 

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Let me add my comment on the topic.
 
Although the fixed functionality is deprecated it is still very useful for an introduction to computer graphics. There are several reasons for this:
 
1. The learning curve is much steeper with new APIs. For the legacy OpenGL you should know only the API. For the modern OpenGL you should also know math and physics, while for the Vulkan you should also know operating systems and how HW works.
 
2. The number code lines increase exponentially. For the triangle drawing in the legacy OpenGL one needs a dozen lines of code, about 400 lines in modern OpenGL and about 1000 in Vulkan.
 
3. Being overwhelmed with non-graphics topics, the beginner usually misses the main concepts like transformations, lighting, texturing etc.
 
That's why I'm still teaching legacy OpenGL in the first course of Computer Graphics, while the programmable pipeline is left for the advanced course (next year, after passing the first one). So far it works well.

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    Ok guys, thanks a lot for all the answers. There is so much stuff going on in games, now I understand why all the guys in my class jump straight to the web-related stuff, lol. I can't believe that there are people out there who are game developers. That must be soooo coool!

 

    Back to the topic, I did some 5-6 tutorials with the old OpenGL, now the next best step seems to be to read "Learning Modern 3D Graphics Programming" (why do people use the word "modern" in a book, I've always wondered). Nevermind, hope I don't have problems.

 

    Aks9, I never knew there was a Computer graphics course, that teaches OpenGL. There isn't a Computer Graphics course in my university, but I see online that there are even courses for undergraduates, not only for post-grads.Which provokes my next question: Did I mess up choosing Computer Science course instead of Computer Graphics? Is it possible to do game-related stuff with Computer Science degree, or should I find some major in Computer Graphics or something? There are some articles on the internet, but are kind of outdated, that's why I ask here.

Edited by Heelp

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Is it possible to do game-related stuff with Computer Science degree, or should I find some major in Computer Graphics or something? There are some articles on the internet, but are kind of outdated, that's why I ask here.

A proper university undergraduate degree is not job training.  A degree in computer science will give you the foundation to do many things once you enter the vocational world, and remember, you are not a career, and jobs change radically faster than you realize.

 

You can devote your spare energy to doing game development and building your own portfolio without getting formal vocational training in a post-secondary institution. Once you graduate, you can then either choose specialization in grad school (which is sort of like vocational training for academia), attend a vocational school or college for formal job training in game development, or start marketing your skills and talent using your hobby portfolio.  Your computer science degree will still serve you well in 20 years while robots program all the quantum biocomputer implants we will rely on as we relax in our autonomous flying cars.

 

But I'd recommend starting with OpenGL 2 and the Red Book because first you need to learn about the graphics pipeline, basic 3D game program structure and dataflow, vertexes drawing and transforms, colour, textures, and all the basics before you open up the engine and see how the buffers and shaders work inside.  Consider what you write using OpenGL 2 as throwaway, but what you learn is not throwaway.  Your target will be to learn OpenGL 3.5 and OpenGL ES 2 and use that for writing games that are not throwway.

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Ok, thanks for info, man, really. I'm gonna hit the books hard now. Will post my demo here after 1 or 2 months, show my progress :cool: .

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    Back to the topic, I did some 5-6 tutorials with the old OpenGL, now the next best step seems to be to read "Learning Modern 3D Graphics Programming" (why do people use the word "modern" in a book, I've always wondered). Nevermind, hope I don't have problems.
 
Thats a really nice online book thingy. It teaches pure "core" OpenGL, so no deprecated stuff at all. It also nails down the math nicely. 

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