Open GL

I’ve not had much time to work with Open GL under groovy as I planned but that will change today. I made a commitment to do two things:

  • Figure out what the heck Open GL is
  • Write my first hello world Open GL app with Groovy

Now some people would wonder why write Open GL from a scripting language? Aren’t scripting languages inherently slow and isn’t Open GL all about performance? (Isn’t it? I don’t know I’m guessing here.) Groovy is more than a scripting language. It has been defined as a dynamic language for the JVM. As I see it Groovy is an alternative syntax to Java since it too can be compiled to bytecode. What that amounts to is the ability to do anything Java can do but with a looser syntax. So it makes perfect sense, given these parameters, to write Open GL or anything else you would write in Java using Groovy.

Since we’re talking about Open GL I thought I’d mention my experimenting with the notorious Korrora Linux distribution. It’s notorious for being one of the only Linux Live CD distros to bundle proprietary video drivers and as such violates the licenses of the Linux kernel itself. (My personal opinion on the license to the kernel is that such restrictions become senseless barriers when you wish to roll your own distro. Maybe they should be rethought a little?) Korrora is a very visually appealing distro at first glance when booting from the live disk. It includes not only the official NVidia driver but the XGL and Compiz combination that allows for all the really slick visual effects like 3D desktop switching, true transparency, and window distortion. (I like the distortion feature where dragging a window results in a inertia effect causing the window to strecth and wobble.) All of this is made possible by the XGL graphics system which uses Open GL for rendering. I wouldn’t consider installing Korrora though, because it’s Gentoo based and from my understanding Gentoo is one of the more complicated distros better suited for Linux pros and gurus. Also KDE, my choice desktop environment, is not well integrated with the newer XGL and Compiz stuff. Until that issue gets fleshed out I’m staying away from both Kororra and XGL.

Back to the point. I’m heading into Open GL today. Look out for the blow by blow as I move along. So far I’ve managed to download the stuff, run some example code and get an exception. Not very interesting but the fun is yet to come. Hollaback…

2 thoughts on “Open GL

  1. May I suggest you read some books on OpenGL? The OpenGL SuperBible, published by SAMS, is quite good. The OpenGL Red Book (the old version is available free of charge, google-it!), is a classic, and will teach you most of what you need to learn.
    Find yourself a simple OpenGL project to work on afterwards. I did a really fun one: I re-wrote Pacman in 3D using the Java bindings for OpenGL (JOGL). Lots of fun!
    Read up on the PlasmaFractal algorithm (or mid-point displacement algorithm), generate some stuff, and render it. It’s fantastic for learning, and with some minimal programming you’ll come up with some really cool looking stuff!!
    Good luck with it!

  2. I started dow nthis path and I feel I may have bitten off more than I can chew. To be fair the books I started reading were above entry level. I need more of a Open GL for dummies manual. (Well maybe not that basic but pretty close.) I’m changing step slightly as I’ve started on the Space Invaders tutorial trail. I’m following the tutorial writing all code in Groovy. My next blog entry will be about my experiences. I want to include a Maven2 build system as well just because…

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