Hello Triangle: An OpenGL ES 2.0 Example | WebReference

Hello Triangle: An OpenGL ES 2.0 Example


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To introduce the basic concepts of OpenGL ES 2.0, we begin with a simple example. In this chapter, we show what is required to create an OpenGL ES 2.0 program that draws a single triangle. The program we will write is just about the most basic example of an OpenGL ES 2.0 application that draws geometry. There are number of concepts that we cover in this chapter:

  • Creating an on-screen render surface with EGL.
  • Loading vertex and fragment shaders.
  • Creating a program object, attaching vertex and fragment shaders, and linking a program object.
  • Setting the viewport.
  • Clearing the color buffer.
  • Rendering a simple primitive.
  • Making the contents of the color buffer visible in the EGL window surface.

As it turns out, there are quite a significant number of steps required before we can start drawing a triangle with OpenGL ES 2.0. This chapter goes over the basics of each of these steps. Later in the book, we fill in the details on each of these steps and further document the API. Our purpose here is to get you running your first simple example so that you get an idea of what goes into creating an application with OpenGL ES 2.0.

Code Framework

Throughout the book, we will be building up a library of utility functions that form a framework of useful functions for writing OpenGL ES 2.0 programs. In developing example programs for the book, we had several goals for this code framework:

  1. It should be simple, small, and easy to understand. We wanted to focus our examples on the relevant OpenGL ES 2.0 calls and not on a large code framework that we invented. Rather, we focused our framework on simplicity and making the example programs easy to read and understand. The goal of the framework was to allow you to focus your attention on the important OpenGL ES 2.0 API concepts in each example.
  2. It should be portable. Although we develop our example programs on Microsoft Windows, we wanted the sample programs to be easily portable to other operating systems and environments. In addition, we chose to use C as the language rather than C++ due to the differing limitations of C++ on many handheld platforms. We also avoid using global data, something that is also not allowed on many handheld platforms.

As we go through the examples in the book, we introduce any new code framework functions that we use. In addition, you can find full documentation for the code framework in Appendix D. Any functions you see in the example code that are called that begin with es (e.g., esInitialize()) are part of the code framework we wrote for the sample programs in this book.

Where to Download the Examples

You can download the examples from the book Web site. The examples are all targeted to run on Microsoft Windows XP or Microsoft Windows Vista with a desktop graphics processing unit (GPU) supporting OpenGL 2.0. The example programs are provided in source code form with Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 project solutions. The examples build and run on the AMD OpenGL ES 2.0 emulator. Several of the advanced shader examples in the book are implemented in RenderMonkey, a shader development tool from AMD. The book Web site provides links on where to download any of the required tools. The OpenGL ES 2.0 emulator and RenderMonkey are both freely available tools. Readers who do not own Visual Studio can use the free Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 Express Edition available for download.

Hello Triangle Example

Let's take a look at the full source code for our Hello Triangle example program, which is listed in Example 2-1. For those readers familiar with fixed function desktop OpenGL, you will probably think this is a lot of code just to draw a simple triangle. For those of you not familiar with desktop OpenGL, you will also probably think this is a lot of code just to draw a triangle! Remember though, OpenGL ES 2.0 is fully shader based, which means you can't draw any geometry without having the appropriate shaders loaded and bound. This means there is more setup code required to render than there was in desktop OpenGL using fixed function processing.

Building and Running the Examples

The example programs developed in this book all run on top of AMD's OpenGL ES 2.0 emulator. This emulator provides a Windows implementation of the EGL 1.3 and OpenGL ES 2.0 APIs. The standard GL2 and EGL header files provided by Khronos are used as an interface to the emulator. The emulator is a full implementation of OpenGL ES 2.0, which means that graphics code written on the emulator should port seamlessly to real devices. Note that the emulator requires that you have a desktop GPU with support for the desktop OpenGL 2.0 API.

We have designed the code framework to be portable to a variety of platforms. However, for the purposes of this book all of the examples are built using Microsoft Visual Studio 2005 with an implementation for Win32 on AMD's OpenGL ES 2.0 emulator. The OpenGL ES 2.0 examples are organized in the following directories:

Common/—Contains the OpenGL ES 2.0 Framework project, code, and the emulator.

Chapter_X/—Contains the example programs for each chapter. A Visual Studio 2005 solution file is provided for each project.

To build and run the Hello Triangle program used in this example, open Chapter_2/Hello_Triangle/Hello_Triangle.sln in Visual Studio 2005. The application can be built and run directly from the Visual Studio 2005 project. On running, you should see the image shown in Figure 2-1.

Note that in addition to providing sample programs, later in the book we provide several examples with a free shader development tool from AMD called RenderMonkey v1.80. RenderMonkey workspaces are used where we want to focus on just the shader code in an example. RenderMonkey provides a very flexible integrated development environment (IDE) for developing shader effects. The examples that have an .rfx extension can be viewed using RenderMonkey v1.80. A screenshot of the RenderMonkey IDE with an OpenGL ES 2.0 effect is shown in Color Plate 2.