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Why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX

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  • Why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX

    Often, when we meet other game developers and say that we use OpenGL for our game Overgrowth, we're met with stares of disbelief -- why would anyone use OpenGL? DirectX is the future. When we tell graphics card representatives that we use OpenGL, the temperature of the room drops by ten degrees...
    http://blog.wolfire.com/2010/01/Why-...nd-not-DirectX

    Rambles on a bit and lots of nerd rage, but good read nonetheless.

  • #2
    I don't know enough to comment on the validity of it, but I enjoyed the article.

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    • #3
      Wow there sure are a lot of hostile comments on that article.

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      • #4
        ...and in other OpenGL related news, Epic Games just joined the Khronos group.
        http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/video/d...nos_Group.html

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Zhick View Post
          Wow there sure are a lot of hostile comments on that article.
          Indeed there was- and it was mostly people that don't get it or should know better. Even a person I know from working with them online on a past porting project.
          Last edited by Svartalf; 01-09-2010, 08:31 PM.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by whizse View Post
            ...and in other OpenGL related news, Epic Games just joined the Khronos group.
            http://www.xbitlabs.com/news/video/d...nos_Group.html
            Doesn't mean they are going to embrace it, it could just mean they are looking to sabotage it. Think about the row over the "ISO process" with OOXML.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by RobbieAB View Post
              Doesn't mean they are going to embrace it, it could just mean they are looking to sabotage it. Think about the row over the "ISO process" with OOXML.
              MS did have a lot of puppets with them in the OOXML ISO process, but what reason is there to think Epic Games isn't genuine? Maybe they're just interested in the Playstation 3, Wii, PSP, NDS, iPhone/iPod touch, and other non-DirectX gaming platforms.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Svartalf View Post
                Indeed there was- and it was mostly people that don't get it or should know better. Even a person I know from working with them online on a past porting project.
                Hi Frank, I ran across this and I suspect you were talking about my comments. I'm not sure what I said there that I should "know better" about. I thought my comments were pretty restrained given the number of poorly-backed assertions in the article.

                Reading over them again, I see myself pointing out that console platforms don't use OpenGL in the commercial world, which is true. Playstation 3 can use OpenGL for shipping games, but it is not very common as there are a number of challenges to face when using the implementation provided by Sony.

                The author's point was that OpenGL is "write once, use anywhere", which may be true in a theoretical sense, but in reality I found that a lot of code is written more than once for different hardware on the SAME platform. Extending that same code to a number of highly different hardware configurations such as Wii, PS3, PSP, and Nintendo DS and expecting it to work flawlessly is just a ridiculous idea.

                There are unquestionable benefits to using OpenGL... namely that it opens up the Mac and Linux platforms. I believe that most independent game developers should be strongly considering these two platforms to maximize their profits. But the article was doomed from the start when the title included "... and not DirectX". I don't really work on PC platforms, but the number of reputable PC developers posting in that thread should tell you something. Either that they're all brainwashed by Microsoft's propaganda, or that they have a better understanding of the relative merits of the two APIs and their current level of driver support than the author based on years of experience. If you think it's the former... well, you should know better.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by theoddone33 View Post
                  Hi Frank, I ran across this and I suspect you were talking about my comments. I'm not sure what I said there that I should "know better" about. I thought my comments were pretty restrained given the number of poorly-backed assertions in the article.
                  Actually, Dan, I wasn't talking about you with that remark, but okay...
                  Especially if it got you to join in on discussions in a rational manner.

                  Reading over them again, I see myself pointing out that console platforms don't use OpenGL in the commercial world, which is true. Playstation 3 can use OpenGL for shipping games, but it is not very common as there are a number of challenges to face when using the implementation provided by Sony.
                  Ouch... Is it more because they use Cg, or is it because of something flawed within the ES implementation they've done? I've heard mixed reviews with that target, to be honest with you.

                  The author's point was that OpenGL is "write once, use anywhere", which may be true in a theoretical sense, but in reality I found that a lot of code is written more than once for different hardware on the SAME platform. Extending that same code to a number of highly different hardware configurations such as Wii, PS3, PSP, and Nintendo DS and expecting it to work flawlessly is just a ridiculous idea.
                  Well... It's not so ridiculous an idea if you're coding it to a specific common level. If you're trying for max effects out of things, etc. No, it's not going to be able to "write once, use anywhere". And, I think the assertion they were making was that it'd be vastly easier to code to that and adjust to issues with the targets than to turn around and write it for OpenGL...sort-of, DirectX...sort-of, etc. I've had surprisingly few issues with ES and the stuff I've been working with- I suppose I'll get bit somewhere along the line, but doing OpenGL if you pay attention to what you're doing. Of course, that's not as easy as I'm probably making it out to be right now.

                  There are unquestionable benefits to using OpenGL... namely that it opens up the Mac and Linux platforms. I believe that most independent game developers should be strongly considering these two platforms to maximize their profits. But the article was doomed from the start when the title included "... and not DirectX". I don't really work on PC platforms, but the number of reputable PC developers posting in that thread should tell you something. Either that they're all brainwashed by Microsoft's propaganda, or that they have a better understanding of the relative merits of the two APIs and their current level of driver support than the author based on years of experience. If you think it's the former... well, you should know better.
                  No, I actually think that it's a mix, Dan. DirectX isn't really any "better" and it doesn't have any less of the issues you mention. None of them do. DirectX doesn't get rid of their problems and doesn't actually make it any easier. If you thought it did, you'd be barking up that wrong tree you're accusing me of doing.

                  The hardware is too variable. A rendering API can make it somewhat easier to deal with the hardware, but in the end, it's going to have issues with some pieces of code. How your code does on that given API is determined by how well you chose the commands to use and how well you understood the common denominator between your desired target platforms. That, by itself, makes it "fun". When your vendor's drivers are rather variable (and don't kid yourself, they ARE very much so- and that variability is where many of those issues you talk to here stem from...it doesn't get any better with DirectX...).

                  I'm going to be able to take several games over to the smartphone world because they're OpenGL and the studios picked "decent" or good API call choices in their rendering code. The same can't be said for DirectX to the best of my current knowlege.

                  Anyhow, it's good seeing you around here... Ought to do it a bit more often.

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                  • #10
                    Ugh... That reads awful. I should try to refrain from posting when I just wake up in the morning.

                    As for everything else... Dan, I think there were quite a few that were talking from just their personal experience and probably never touched one or the other API or never touched either- and should have refrained from their remarks in that thread. It is from that disappointment the remark I made here in this thread stemmed from.

                    I've had experiences with both APIs over the years, and I've had better results with OpenGL, personally. Most of the people posting comments over there were, as you quite rightly put, posting ill-informed remarks. My take is that it was coming from both sides of the debate, unfortunately- as it always tends to end up being when you discuss DirectX versus OpenGL.

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