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Thread: Why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX

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    Default Why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX

    By David Rosen on January 8th, 2010 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. This baffles us. It's common geek
    wisdom that standards-based
    websites, for instance, trounce
    Silverlight, Flash, or ActiveX.
    Cross-platform development is
    laudable and smart. No self- respecting geek enjoys dealing
    with closed-standard Word
    documents or Exchange servers.
    What kind of bizarro world is this
    where engineers are not only
    going crazy over Microsoft's latest proprietary API, but
    actively denouncing its open-
    standard competitor? Before we dive into the story of
    why we support OpenGL, let's
    start with a bit of history: What is OpenGL? OpenGL In 1982, Silicon Graphics started
    selling high-performance graphics
    terminals using a proprietary API
    called Iris GL (GL is short for
    "graphics library"). Over the
    years, Iris GL grew bloated and hard to maintain, until Silicon
    Graphics took a radical new step:
    they completely refactored Iris
    GL and made it an open standard
    . Their competitors could use the
    new Open Graphics Library (OpenGL), but in return, they
    had to help maintain it and keep
    it up to date. Today, OpenGL is managed by
    the Khronos Group -- a non-
    profit organization with
    representatives from many
    companies that are interested in
    maintaining high-quality media APIs. At a lower level, it's
    managed by the OpenGL
    Architecture Review Board (ARB)
    . OpenGL is supported on every
    gaming platform, including Mac,
    Windows, Linux, PS3 (as a GCM wrapper), Wii, iPhone, PSP, and
    DS. Well, every gaming platform
    except for the XBox -- which
    brings us to our next topic: What is DirectX? Ever since MS-DOS, Microsoft has
    understood that games play an
    important role in users' choice of
    operating systems. For this
    reason, in 1995, they created a
    proprietary set of libraries in order to encourage exclusive
    games for their new Windows 95
    operating system
    . These libraries included
    Direct3D, DirectInput and
    DirectSound, and the entire collection came to be known as
    DirectX. When Microsoft entered
    the gaming market in 2001, it
    introduced the DirectX Box, or
    XBox for short. The XBox was a
    loss leader (losing over 4 billion dollars), intended to set the
    stage to dominate the games
    market in the next generation. Looking at the games scene now,
    it's clear that this strategy is
    succeeding. Most major PC games
    now use DirectX, and run on
    both Windows and XBox 360. With
    few exceptions, they don't work on competing platforms, such as
    Playstation, Mac OS, and Wii.
    These are significant markets to
    leave out, bringing us to the big
    question: Why does everyone use
    DirectX? Everyone uses DirectX because
    API choice in game development
    is a positive feedback loop, and
    it was shifted in favor of DirectX
    in 2005. It's a positive feedback loop
    because whenever one API
    becomes more popular, it keeps
    becoming more and more popular
    due to network effects. The
    most important network effects are as follows: the more popular
    API gets better support from
    graphics card vendors, and
    graphics programmers are more
    likely to already know how to
    use it. API use was shifted in favor of
    DirectX by Microsoft's two-
    pronged DirectX campaign
    around the launch of XBox 360
    and Windows Vista, including the
    spread of FUD (fear, uncertainty and doubt) about the future of
    OpenGL, and wild exaggeration of
    the merits of DirectX. Ever since
    then, the network effects have
    amplified this discrepency until
    OpenGL has almost disappeared entirely from mainstream PC
    gaming. 1. Network effects and
    vicious cycles On Windows, it's a fact that the
    DirectX graphics drivers are
    better maintained than the
    OpenGL graphics drivers. This is
    caused by the vicious cycle of
    vendor support. As game developers are driven from
    OpenGL to DirectX by other
    factors, the graphics card
    manufacturers (vendors) get
    less bug reports for their
    OpenGL drivers, extensions and documentation. This results in
    shakier OpenGL drivers, leading
    even more game developers to
    switch from OpenGL to DirectX.
    The cycle repeats. Similarly, it's a fact that more
    gaming graphics programmers
    know how to use DirectX than
    OpenGL, so it's cheaper (less
    training required) to make a
    game using DirectX than OpenGL. This is the result of another
    vicious cycle: as more game
    projects use DirectX, more
    programmers have to learn how
    to use it. As more programmers
    learn to use it, it becomes cheaper for game projects to
    use DirectX than to use OpenGL. 2. FUD about OpenGL and
    Vista Microsoft initiated a fear,
    uncertainty, and doubt (FUD)
    campaign against OpenGL around
    the release of Windows Vista. In
    2003, Microsoft left the OpenGL
    Architecture Review Board -- showing that they no longer
    had any interest in the future of
    OpenGL. Then in 2005, they gave
    presentations at SIGGRAPH
    (special interest group for
    graphics) and WinHEC (Windows Hardware Engineering
    Conference) giving the
    impression that Windows Vista
    would remove support for
    OpenGL except to maintain back-
    compatibility with XP applications. This version of OpenGL would be
    layered on top of DirectX as
    shown here, (from the HEC
    presentation) causing a dramatic
    performance hit. This campaign
    led to panic in the OpenGL community, leading many
    professional graphics
    programmers to switch to
    DirectX. When Vista was released, it
    backpedaled on its OpenGL claims,
    allowing vendors to create fast
    installable client drivers (ICDs)
    that restore native OpenGL
    support. The OpenGL board sent out newsletters proving that
    OpenGL is still a first-class citizen,
    and that OpenGL performance on
    Vista was still at least as fast as
    Direct3D. Unfortunately for
    OpenGL, the damage had already been done -- public confidence in
    OpenGL was badly shaken. 3. Misleading marketing
    campaigns The launch strategies for
    Windows Vista and Windows 7
    were both accompanied with an
    immense marketing push by
    Microsoft for DirectX, in which
    they showed 'before' and 'after' screenshots of the different
    DirectX versions. Many gamers
    now think that switching from
    DirectX 9 to DirectX 10 magically
    transforms graphics from
    stupidly dark to normal (as in the comparison above), or from
    Halo 1 to Crysis. Game journalists
    proved that there was no
    difference between Crysis DX9
    and DX10
    , and that its "DX10" features worked fine with DX9
    by tweaking a config file.
    However, despite its obvious
    inaccuracy, the marketing has
    convinced many gamers that
    DirectX updates are the only way to access the latest
    graphics features. While many games participate in
    Microsoft's marketing charade,
    more savvy graphics
    programmers like John Carmack
    refuse to be swept up in it. He
    put it this way, "Personally, I wouldn’t jump at something like
    DX10 right now. I would let things
    settle out a little bit and wait
    until there’s a really strong
    need for it." So why do we use OpenGL? Given that OpenGL has less
    vendor support, is no longer
    used in games, is being actively
    attacked by Microsoft, and has
    no marketing momentum, why
    should we still use it? Wouldn't it be more profitable to ditch it
    and use DirectX like everyone
    else? No, because in reality,
    OpenGL is more powerful than
    DirectX, supports more
    platforms, and is essential for the future of games. 1. OpenGL is more powerful
    than DirectX It's common knowledge that
    OpenGL has faster draw calls
    than DirectX (see NVIDIA
    presentations like this one if you
    don't want to take my word for
    it), and it has first access to new GPU features via vendor
    extensions. OpenGL gives you
    direct access to all new graphics
    features on all platforms, while
    DirectX only provides occasional
    snapshots of them on their newest versions of
    Windows. The tesselation
    technology that Microsoft is
    heavily promoting for DirectX 11
    has been an OpenGL extension
    for three years . It has even been possible for
    years before that, using fast
    instancing and vertex-texture-
    . I don't know what new
    technologies will be exposed in the next couple years, I know
    they will be available first in
    OpenGL. Microsoft has worked hard on
    DirectX 10 and 11, and they're
    now about as fast as OpenGL,
    and support almost as many
    features. However, there's one
    big problem: they don't work on Windows XP! Half of PC gamers
    still use XP, so using DirectX 10
    or 11 is not really a viable
    option. If you really care about
    having the best possible
    graphics, and delivering them to as many gamers as possible,
    there's no choice but OpenGL. 2. OpenGL is cross-platform More than half of our Lugaru
    users use Mac or Linux (as
    shown in this blog post), and we
    wouldn't be surprised if the same
    will be true of our new game
    Overgrowth. When we talk to major game developers, we hear
    that supporting Mac and Linux is
    a waste of time. However, I've
    never seen any evidence for this
    claim. Blizzard always releases
    Mac versions of their games simultaneously
    , and they're one of the most
    successful game companies in the
    world! If they're doing something
    in a different way from
    everyone else, then their way is probably right. As John Carmack said when
    asked if Rage was a DirectX
    , "It’s still OpenGL, although we
    obviously use a D3D-ish API [on
    the Xbox 360], and CG on the PS3. It’s interesting how little of
    the technology cares what API
    you’re using and what
    generation of the technology
    you’re on. You’ve got a small
    handful of files that care about what API they’re on, and millions
    of lines of code that are
    agnostic to the platform that
    they’re on." If you can hit every
    platform using OpenGL, why
    shoot yourself in the foot by relying on DirectX? Even if all you care about is
    Windows, let me remind you
    again that half of Windows users
    still use Windows XP
    , and will be unable to play your
    game if you use the latest versions of DirectX. The only way
    to deliver the latest graphics to
    Windows XP gamers (the single
    biggest desktop gaming
    platform) is through OpenGL. 3. OpenGL is better for the
    future of games OpenGL is a non-profit open
    standard created to allow users
    on any platform to experience
    the highest quality graphics that
    their hardware can provide. Its
    use is being crushed by a monopolistic attack from a
    monolithic corporate giant trying
    to dominate an industry that is
    too young to protect itself. As
    Direct3D becomes the only
    gaming graphics API supported on Windows, Microsoft is gaining
    a stranglehold on PC gaming. We need competition and
    freedom to drive down prices
    and drive up quality. A Microsoft
    monopoly on gaming would be
    very bad for both gamers and
    game developers. Can OpenGL recover? Back in 1997, the situation was
    similar to how it is now. Microsoft
    was running a massive marketing
    campaign for Direct3D, and soon
    everyone "just knew" that it
    was faster and better than OpenGL. This started to change
    when Chris Hecker published his
    open letter denouncing DirectX.
    Soon after that, John Carmack
    posted his famous OpenGL rant,
    and put his money where his mouth was by implementing all of
    Id Software's games in OpenGL,
    proving once and for all that
    DirectX was unnecessary for
    high-end 3D gaming. This lesson appears to have
    been forgotten over the last
    few years. Most game
    developers have fallen under the
    spell of DirectX marketing, or
    into the whirlpool of vicious cycles and network advantages.
    It's time to throw off the veil of
    advertisements and buzzwords,
    and see what's really happening.
    If you use DirectX, you have to
    choose between using the weak, bloated DirectX 9 or sacrificing
    most of your user-base to use
    DirectX 10 or 11. On the other hand, if you use
    OpenGL, you get faster and more
    powerful graphics features than
    DirectX 11, and you get them on
    all versions of Windows, Mac and
    Linux, as well as the PS3, Wii, PSP, DS, and iPhone. You also get
    these features in the rapidly-
    developing WebGL standard
    , which may become the
    foundation for the next
    generation of browser games. If you're a game developer, all I
    ask is that you do the research
    and compare the figures, and
    decide if OpenGL is a better
    choice. Some programmers
    prefer the style of the DirectX 11 API to OpenGL, but you're
    going to be wrapping these low-
    level APIs in an abstraction layer
    anyway, so that shouldn't be a
    deciding factor. If there's
    anything about OpenGL that you don't like, then just ask the ARB
    to change it -- they exist to
    serve you! If you're a gamer who uses
    Windows XP, Mac, or Linux, I hope
    you can see that DirectX only
    exists in order to keep new
    games from reaching your
    platform, and the only way you can fight back is to support
    games that use OpenGL.

    ---------- Post added at 02:38 ---------- Previous post was at 02:36 ----------

    mobile die post format korte parlam na... eita original post...

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    Default Re: Why you should use OpenGL and not DirectX

    Really a nice post...
    Most people think time is like a river, that flows swift and sure in one direction. But I have seen the face of time, and I can tell you, they are wrong. Time is an ocean in a storm. You may wonder who I really am, and why I say this. Come, and I will tell you a tale like none you have ever heard.

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