OpenGL - Web 2. 0 Style

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Monday, December 3. 2007 • Category: OpenGL
Today I stumbled over a new-to-me project on OpenGL.org: An OpenGL canvas plugin for Mozilla Firefox! The plugin called Canvas 3D only works in the new Firefix 3 line and provides an OpenGL context to Javascript.

In my eyes this opens the doors to many new exciting Web applications (if Javascript turns out to be fast enough), ranging from simple Model Viewers to some advanced online-editors. I wish I could find some time to explore some of the possibilities!

Finally: New Magnum Developer Release

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Thursday, December 7. 2006 • Category: OpenGL
As I already promised in this blog and in some emails to various people, I prepared a new developer release 0.4 of my framework "Magnum". It already contains a lot of changes and supports SCons for building it.

I also packed another archieve containing all data sets that are used for the demos - unfortunately you really need it in order to build the framework and all examples using the build scripts.

Among the changes are:
  • SCons as build system.

  • A much better directory structure.

  • Much more pure virtual interface classes.

  • XML parser and DOM-like document model.

  • HTTP Server functionality.

  • The skeleton of a meta-compiler for reflection and more.

  • Lots of other changes that even are not documented in the changelog

I am also thinking about publishing a copy of my subversion repository online, so you can follow the development and access the most current version - but I am not sure about that and I currently don't have enough time to set up a replication mechanism.

VBOs or Display Lists

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Tuesday, April 11. 2006 • Category: OpenGL
Today, there was the question if VBOs are really as fast as display lists in OpenGL. Normally one would expect that VBOs should be at least as good as the old methods, but it seems that depending on the batch size and on the number of batches, the opposite might be true. I found a page with a small tool for measuring performance. At least on NVidia cards, VBOs do not seem to be the ideal solution for static geometry, whereas on ATI ther performance of VBOs should be almost equal to display lists.

So maybe I have to include another render path in Magnum using display lists...

A new Direction for OpenGL

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Friday, March 24. 2006 • Category: OpenGL
Today i found a very interesting article about the future of OpenGL on OpenGL.org. The article describes ATI and NVidia thinking about the direction that OpenGL should take in its next releases (they also talk about the new features in OpenGL 2.1, but the proposed direction is far more interesting).

Their idea resembles the original goals of OpenGL 2.0 which propsed a new and clean approach offering backward compatibility only with an additional software layer. Unfortunately this idea was dropped in favor of backward compatibility. Now ATI and NVidia come up with essentially the same idea, the main difference is that they now call it OpenGL 3.0.

Among the features is a new object model (no integer handles any more that placed some special burden upon the drivers - they claim that up to 5% of driver processing time was spent for look-ups), programmable raster operations (stencil, depth and blendmodes will be shaders then), new state objects which will replace the glPush and glPop semantics and the removal of many obsolete features (including display lists wich should be replaced by VBOs).

But I guess we won't see OpenGL 3.0 very soon, if ever at all.

New OpenGL Extensions

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Monday, January 30. 2006 • Category: OpenGL
Silently, without a headline on OpenGL.org, five new extensions have been completed and added to the OpenGL Extension Registry:

  • EXT_framebuffer_blit. This extensions allows to copy a region from one framebuffer object into another framebuffer object ("blitting"). It is especially useful with the next extension, which in turn would be useless without this one.

  • EXT_framebuffer_multisample. This extension finally allows to create multisampled frame buffer objects. As a direct usage of the frame buffer objects as textures or backbuffers is not possible, it heavily depends on the previous extension.

  • WGL_3DL_stereo_control. Some stuff for controlling 3d stereographic shutter glasses.

  • EXT_stencil_clear_tag. This seems to be a rather esoteric extension for saving bandwidth on the low end generation of PCIe cards that use main memory as a gaphics card resource.

  • EXT_texture_sRGB. This extension adds a new texture format for representing the non-linear sRGB colour space. Maybe this extension is useful for hardware accelerated image processing - I really don't know much about its usage.


As you can see, the two probably most valuable extensions (at least for high quality realtime 3d graphics) are EXT_framebuffer_blit and EXT_framebuffer_multisample.

New release of Magnum

Posted by Kaya Kupferschmidt • Friday, January 27. 2006 • Category: OpenGL
A new version of Magnum has been finished and is available for download. Currently only the new framework has been published, but the newly created small 3d model viewer will follow soon.

This release of Magnum contains the following changes:

  • A totally reworked media module which allows streaming and playpack of ogg vorbis files.

  • A simple HTTP client.

  • A simple 3d model viewer.

  • A new PhongShader class.

  • Lots of bugfixes, especially concerning memory managment.


And some more good news: Since I made a release-script for Magnum today, a release is much simpler yet, thus you can expect faster updates from now on (of course if I have enough new features and/or bugfixes worth a release).

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