Absolute Beginner

My first time here, but this looks like a great resource.

I am an absolute newbie to OpenGL and to graphics programming entire. I have a firm grasp of C, but not a clue where to start learning and what software packages and resources to get a hold on to begin learning OpenGL.

If anyone has the time to take a trip back in time when you all knew little more about OpenGL other than its name, I’d really appreciate it if you could point me in the right direction.

I.e. What do I need to install to be able to compile my code? What resources are available to someone in my position? What exactly is GLUT? What environment do OpenGL programmers generally program in, command line? Within a visual programming platform such as Borland?

Obviously I am a clean slate… but I have a great deal of interest. Any help would be appreciated!


First, you need nothing more to compile OpenGL code than to compile C code, granted that your are not using an antique DOS compiler. Every decent c/c++ compiler has the libs and headers of OpenGL (even not so decent compilers have this too (yes, I was thinking about VC++))

Where to start? I don’t know The question is : what do you want to do? I first learnt about graphics when I decided to write a Winamp visual plugin. That was my goal. During my programming experience, I realized that I was able to overcome almost any technical difficulty as long as I knew precisely what I wanted to do. So it’s up to you to find a good project (even if it is simple) that motivates you.

About resources :
a fantastic place to start. It has many tutorials that will take you from the very begining of OpenGL programming to semi-advanced topics.
Books : I bought these two
OpenGL Programming Guide (aka the Red Book)
OpenGL Superbible
I must admit that I hardly opened the Superbible. The Red Book is very clear, even though it assumes you have some background about computer graphics. If you have this book and the Internet, then you’re ready

GLUT is a library that wraps messy OS dependent code for window creation and message handling (it probably does more things, but I don’t use it, so…)

[This message has been edited by kehziah (edited 10-12-2001).]

Thanks for the help… it was great.