NeHe's OpenGL Tutorials

Christopoulos Dimitrios, Molofee Jeff, Stanis Tom, Brits Lionel, Bosco, Aliotta Christopher, D'Agata Giuseppe, Schmick GB, Schneider Jens, Cieslak Piotr, Cosmin Banu, Porter Brett, Nikdel David, Löffler Andreas, Fletcher Rob, Pipho Evan, Humphrey Ben, Corno Dario, Hamlaoui Sami

Lesson 01

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Welcome to my OpenGL tutorials. I am an average guy with a passion for OpenGL! The first time I heard about OpenGL was back when 3Dfx released their Hardware accelerated OpenGL driver for the Voodoo 1 card. Immediately I knew OpenGL was something I had to learn. Unfortunately, it was very hard to find any information about OpenGL in books or on the net. I spent hours trying to make code work and even more time begging people for help in email and on IRC. I found that those people that understood OpenGL considered themselves elite, and had no interest in sharing their knowledge. VERY frustrating!

I created this web site so that people interested in learning OpenGL would have a place to come if they needed help. In each of my tutorials I try to explain, in as much detail as humanly possible, what each line of code is doing. I try to keep my code simple (no MFC code to learn)! An absolute newbie to both Visual C++ and OpenGL should be able to go through the code, and have a pretty good idea of what's going on. My site is just one of many sites offering OpenGL tutorials. If you're a hardcore OpenGL programmer, my site may be too simplistic, but if you're just starting out, I feel my site has a lot to offer!

This tutorial was completely rewritten January 2000. This tutorial will teach you how to set up an OpenGL window. The window can be windowed or fullscreen, any size you want, any resolution you want, and any color depth you want. The code is very flexible and can be used for all your OpenGL projects. All my tutorials will be based on this code! I wrote the code to be flexible, and powerful at the same time. All errors are reported. There should be no memory leaks, and the code is easy to read and easy to modify. Thanks to Fredric Echols for his modifications to the code!

I'll start this tutorial by jumping right into the code. The first thing you will have to do is build a project in Visual C++. If you don't know how to do that, you should not be learning OpenGL, you should be learning Visual C++. The downloadable code is Visual C++ 6.0 code. Some versions of VC++ require that bool is changed to BOOL, true is changed to TRUE, and false is changed to FALSE. By making the changes mentioned, I have been able to compile the code on Visual C++ 4.0 and 5.0 with no other problems.

After you have created a new Win32 Application (NOT a console application) in Visual C++, you will need to link the OpenGL libraries. In Visual C++ go to Project, Settings, and then click on the LINK tab. Under "Object/Library Modules" at the beginning of the line (before kernel32.lib) add OpenGL32.lib GLu32.lib and GLaux.lib. Once you've done this click on OK. You're now ready to write an OpenGL Windows program.

The first 4 lines include the header files for each library we are using. The lines look like this:

#include // Header File For Windows

#include // Header File For The OpenGL32 Library

#include // Header File For The GLu32 Library

#include // Header File For The GLaux Library

Next you need to set up all the variables you plan to use in your program. This program will create a blank OpenGL window, so we won't need to set up a lot of variables just yet. The few variables that we do set up are very important, and will be used in just about every OpenGL program you write using this code.

The first line sets up a Rendering Context. Every OpenGL program is linked to a Rendering Context. A Rendering Context is what links OpenGL calls to the Device Context. The OpenGL Rendering Context is defined as hRC. In order for your program to draw to a Window you need to create a Device Context, this is done in the second line. The Windows Device Context is defined as hDC. The DC connects the Window to the GDI (Graphics Device Interface). The RC connects OpenGL to the DC.

In the third line the variable hWnd will hold the handle assigned to our window by Windows, and finally, the fourth line creates an Instance (occurrence) for our program.

HGLRC hRC=NULL; // Permanent Rendering Context

HDC hDC=NULL; // Private GDI Device Context

HWND hWnd=NULL; // Holds Our Window Handle

HINSTANCE hInstance; // Holds The Instance Of The Application

The first line below sets up an array that we will use to monitor key presses on the keyboard. There are many ways to watch for key presses on the keyboard, but this is the way I do it. It's reliable, and it can handle more than one key being pressed at a time.

The active variable will be used to tell our program whether or not our Window has been minimized to the taskbar or not. If the Window has been minimized we can do anything from suspend the code to exit the program. I like to suspend the program. That way it won't keep running in the background when it's minimized.

The variable fullscreen is fairly obvious. If our program is running in fullscreen mode, fullscreen will be TRUE, if our program is



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