What do I need to use OpenGL?

I will be buying a book on OpenGL 2.1 and I want to know what I’ll need to do to use it before I buy it. What compiler will I need? What hardware will I have to set up on my computer, if any? What software?

I just want to make sure so I don’t get it and realize I can’t even use it. I bought an Iphone game development book and realized that I had to have a Mac to use it…

well you will need a computer, bought within the last 4 years or so.
A graphics card, preferably a nvidia 6800 or above or ATI 9600 and above i think.
But anything made within a few years will do by these two manufacturers.

Next you will need a compiler, if you have windows you can download the Visual studio express edition or use basically anything reasonably new.

GL runs on basically anything, so don’t worry.

I’m reading on the wiki that I may have to install wglext.h so OpenGL 2.1 is supported, or something like that. I have a Windows XP, will I need to do that?

yea, basically microsoft only provides for openGL 1.1 so to get the rest you have to download glext.h, glxext.h and wglext.h from here http://www.opengl.org/registry/.
It’s no biggie, just download them and put them where your gl.h file is


if you don’t like microsoft ( and visual studio ) you can use the free oldfashioned devcpp IDE.
There exists still some OpenGL Packages, which are easy to install.

If you are more familiar with java, I would recommend jogl or lwjgl.


Devcpp was actually the first IDE I used when beginning to explore with C++.

So I found 2 folders that contain a gl.h,

Program Files/Microsoft SDKS/Windows/v6.0A and v7.0A. Which one do I put the files into?

Also, I am attempting to download the files from your location however when I click on it I am only taken to the code within the header file, with no way for me to download the files. I searched around the internet and couldn’t find a link for the files. I appreciate the link but how do I download the files?

Hey never mind about the downloading the files. I found out I only had to do “save page as…” but thank you for your help.

Although do you know which file I put the extensions in

If you go to your SDK 7 start menu folder you’ll see ‘Visual Studio Registration’. This allows you to set which SDK header files you’re using, which you can change at any time.

So, to be safe, put the gl headers into both SDK folders.

I am very angry right now. My computer was infected with a virus where I could not do anything, so I am now using a different computer. I’m trying to get openGL to work on this computer now (still windows xp) and I am unsuccessful. Here is what files I’ve added. I am very angry that because of a virus I didn’t expect I cannot use OpenGL, and don’t forget losing all my bookmarks on the subject. Note that this time I couldn’t find a 6.0A folder.

glut32.lib - added to the

	7.0a Microsoft Visual Studio lib directory 
	C:\Program Files\Microsoft Visual Studio 10.0\VC\lib 

glext.h, glxext.h, wglext.h - added to

	Microsoft SDKs folder 

glut32.dll - added to system32

glut.h - added to 7.0A gl folder

Based on what I have already done, can you direct me on what I need to do in order to have OpenGL supported on my computer? Another difference is that I am now using Visual C++ 2010 Beta 2 instead of Visual Studio Professional 2010 Beta 2.

You can also always use Linux for it :slight_smile:

Download a standard easy distro, say, Ubuntu, use the package manager to download the OpenGL libs. Write code using whatever editor you like and compile it using gcc…

Just download one of the (great) NEHE samples and try to compile ^^
The compiler tells you what is missing. :slight_smile:

Thanks guys but I got it. After a while of searching I came across a video which explained that I needed to download the Microsoft Platform SDK. Apparently my older computer had it but this newer one did not. Go figure.