- Hardcover: 670 pages
- Publisher: Charles River Media; 1 edition (16 July 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1584502940
- ISBN-13: 978-1584502944
- Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 19.3 x 4.2 cm
Amazon Bestsellers Rank:
6,571,366 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #2876 in Books > Computers & Internet > Computer Science > Programming > Games
- #7792 in Books > Computers & Internet > Computer Science > Programming > Graphics & Multimedia
- #8692 in Books > Computers & Internet > Computer Science > Programming > Software Design, Testing & Engineering > Software Architecture
- See Complete Table of Contents
The OpenGL Extensions Guide (Charles River Media Graphics) Hardcover – 16 Jul 2003
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About the Author
Eric Lengyel (Sunnyvale, CA), best-selling author of Mathematics for 3D Game Programming and Computer Graphics, is the Chief Technology Officer for the game engine development studio Terathon Software. He holds an M.S. in Mathematics from Virginia Tech and has written several articles for gamasutra.com and the Game Programming Gems series (Charles River Media).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
For all its strengths, this book does have some flaws. First, the book is useful only if you already know, in general terms, what a particular extension does and you have a specific need for that functionality in your program. The book does not really give a general overview of the extensions, nor does it provide typical usage scenarios and sample code in all cases. In other words, the book is strictly a reference, since it provides very little introductory or tutorial material.
Second, the book is already getting out-of-date. There are a number of extensions that, in early 2005, are becoming widely used. These include:
Multiple Render Targets: The GL_ARB_draw_buffers and GL_ATI_draw_buffers extensions provide the ability to write color output to multiple buffers in a single rendering pass from a fragment program.
Non-power-of-two textures: The GL_ARB_non_power_of_two extension relaxes the requirement that OpenGL textures have power-of-two dimensions. It also provides more reasonable behavior in terms of texture coordinates and coordinate wrap modes than the GL_NV_texture_rectangle extension, which is discussed. Also, GL_NV_texture_rectangle has been supplanted by GL_EXT_texture_rectangle, which is not discussed.
OpenGL shading language: This is the wave of the future. OpenGL 2.0 provides a high-level programming language for writing vertex and fragment programs, and its functionality is exposed through several extensions. Of course, this wasn't available in 2003.
Vertex and pixel buffer objects: The GL_ARB_vertex_buffer_object and GL_ARB_pixel_buffer_object extensions allow the programmer to create vertex and pixel buffers in high-performance video memory (managed by the driver) and do things like copy a pixel buffer into a vertex buffer. This allows you to do things like render new vertex positions into a pixel buffer, and then use the pixel values as the vertex input in a subsequent rendering pass.
The verdict: The OpenGL Extensions Guide provides comprehensive material about a wide range of extensions in use in 2003. It has virtually no tutorial material and several of the extension covered in this book are becoming obsolete. Also, several important new extensions are not covered. Hopefully a new edition will cover more relevant material, although this is obviously a moving target.
So when I heard about this book, I was really looking forward to it. Given the high quality of the author's other works, I expected it to immediately take a place on my desk.
This book is essentially an expansion of the information contained in the extension registry. It's considerably more user-friendly, the explanations are more detailed, and it conveniently groups the extensions by their functional area. However, it really doesn't discuss how or why you would use each extension in a game or graphics application. Nor does it include any demos, or even sample code. These factors keep the book from being as useful as it could have been.
Overall, this is a good book, and it provides a great reference for the extensions it covers, but it could have gone farther with showing you how to use them.
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