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Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL?
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Haoshiro



Joined: 17 Apr 2003
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 8:50 pm    Post subject: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

I'm just curious as to why you and many other developers chose/choose Direct3D over OpenGL?

Obviously most gamers run Windows and DX, but if OpenGL will run on many more platforms, why not?

My assumption is that in many cases it's because the developers are simply more familiar with DirectX and would rather not learn something new. Either that or their bosses make them. Smile

OpenGL, SDL, and OpenAL seem like perfectly suitable alternatives to DirectX and are more widely supported. Also, they are all open.

Naturally my interest in this topic has piqued thanks to my recent switch from PC to Mac, but I have been curious about the reasoning for quite some time.

~Hao
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Lurker



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PostPosted: Wed Jan 25, 2006 9:15 pm    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

I believe they started with OpenGL, but changed to Direct 3D because it looked a lot better (at the time)
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:29 am    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Quote:
I believe they started with OpenGL, but changed to Direct 3D because it looked a lot better (at the time)


yup.
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X-BoT



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:24 am    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Ghoul is right. Back then OpenGL 2.0 wasn't done yet, so OpenGL was lagging behind when it came to technology. Now, however, I don't there is much of a reason to pick one over the other besides the developer's personal preference/experience.
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GravOriKlein



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:08 am    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

OpenGL is portable.
DX is unportable.
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Dirtbag



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 7:30 am    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Quote:
OpenGL is portable.
DX is unportable.


mr obvious to the rescue Smile

db
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GravOriKlein



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:00 am    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

That's captain obvious for you. :biggrin2:
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Rob Elam



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 1:05 pm    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Quote:
I'm just curious as to why you and many other developers chose/choose Direct3D over OpenGL?

Well, 3 or so years ago when the switch was made, IMO D3D was clearly ahead. OpenGL had not only made few advances, but suffered from a moderate fragmentation between ATI and NVidia extensions. At the same time, MS had finally gotten their act together with D3D and it was a competent system, with unified support (no platform specific extensions you had to deal with), good documentation and samples, decent debugging tools, and solid vendor support. D3D was clearly the winner if you were developing for the PC, IMO.
Quote:
Obviously most gamers run Windows and DX, but if OpenGL will run on many more platforms, why not?

After switching to the superior D3D the question is no longer ďwhy not?Ē but ďwhy?Ē (the "why not?" is always answered with "because it's more work"). The OpenGL code that was used in earlier versions of the game was simply a mess, and trying to support, much less extend it to use newer technology, would have been a nightmare. So to support OpenGL Iíd have to write it from scratch, and thereís not nearly enough reasons to do that. The climate may change in the future, but for now getting an open-ended renderer so I can produce software for other platforms doesn't interest me, there's frankly no other platform that is practical even disregarding the renderer.
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Haoshiro



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 4:00 pm    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Part of the climate we have is due to developer support, though, is it not? I know many people that would gladly switch OSes if the games they wanted to play were getting released on them.

I would think there is something to be said about nichť markets as well. Games on other OSes do not get drowned quite as fast as in the PC world as I've noticed. Of course, when the port comes out 3-4 years later that doesn't say much. Very Happy

I understand not wanting to manage messy code but if it was such a mess didn't it need to be cleaned up anyway? I mean, if that had of been DX code, you'd have cleaned the mess up. I'm only suggesting that if you could scrap OpenGL entirely and write *new* DX code, you could also have scrapped the messy OGL code and wrote *new* OGL code, no?

Although that is really neither here nor there, I believe you answered my question with 'Because, at the time, D3D was a better solution and cross-platform development was not, and still is not, something I am interested in.'

And such an answer works for me.

I can understand not wanting to port an engine or develop a new engine when you feel there are no valid reasons to do so.

3D renderer aside, have you any interest in dedicated game server performance? In tests friends of mine have done server performance is vastly superior on *nix OSes. The breakdown went something like BSD > Linux > Windows. With BSD being about 100X faster then Windows and Linux being 10X as fast. This would simply be raw LPS performance and the test was done by professional (and enthusiest) Windows C/C++ developers.

Ashame I don't have the test code now since anyone can make such things up without proof to back it up! But I was just wondering if you had looked into that or even had interest in it from a purely dedicated server standpoint where such performance is most important.
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Rob Elam



Joined: 18 Sep 1998
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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 5:56 pm    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Quote:
Part of the climate we have is due to developer support, though, is it not?

Sure, but itís really academic at this point, MS has won, getting comparable support for another OS will take FAR more than just a great OS, and I just donít see any contenders (essentially, youíd have to buy the market away from MS, and itís a war not worth waging). When I do, perhaps Iíll get on board with OpenGL and other cross platform standards.
Quote:
I understand not wanting to manage messy code but if it was such a mess didn't it need to be cleaned up anyway?

Nope. At a certain point, if an implementation is poor enough you abandon it. Itís likely more accurate to say I abandoned the OpenGL code-base, not OpenGL. I just chose D3D because it was the best choice (when "starting over"), I wouldnít have switched away from OpenGL simply because of the differences between OpenGL and D3D.
Quote:
Although that is really neither here nor there, I believe you answered my question with 'Because, at the time, D3D was a better solution and cross-platform development was not, and still is not, something I am interested in.'

Yep, thatís basically it.
Quote:
3D renderer aside, have you any interest in dedicated game server performance?

No, not really. My future plans donít include multiplayer as a focus, since to succeed with a MP game you really have to buy your way in, and I donít think itís really worth it right now.

Academically speaking, however, Iím quite sure the performance benefit for running a dedicated server on another platform wouldnít be that great (I considered doing it some time ago, but for compatibility, not performance reasons). The tests youíre talking about assuredly were using a simple sample, and therefore much of the bottleneck was likely in the OS. With OMF:BG, most of the time was being spent in the scripts, so unless the compilers were considerably better, itís doubtful that thereíd be that kind of boost.
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GravOriKlein



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PostPosted: Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:13 pm    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Quote:
At a certain point, if an implementation is poor enough you abandon it.


The nightmare of recoding the engine from scratch to fit a superiorly designed stracture...*shudder*
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 3:54 am    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

From scratch? As I understand it, the renderer is just a module in the engine.
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GravOriKlein



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PostPosted: Fri Jan 27, 2006 10:01 am    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Was taking the quote at the generic, out of context, level.
What he said is true far beyond mere rendering, as in this case.
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Wayne Frazee



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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2006 10:17 pm    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Id like to toss in two points on this. I will preference this with two caveats from the get-go:

1) Im not a developer. Need something written for automation or scripting of any kind? Sure, im all over it, but I know little more than you guys when it comes to the guts of the engine because programming just isnt my forte.

2) These are my opinion observations based on my limited point of view working with the team. I do not speak for DE, for rob, or anyone else.

That having been said....

Quote:
From scratch? As I understand it, the renderer is just a module in the engine.


Yes... but a huge one. The engine is componetized (as has been public knowledge for a long time) so that all the I/O functions are in modules. But saying that its just a module is a rather simplistic view of things. The renderer is probably one of the largest parts of the game because everything (almost) traces back to it. Animations, player movement, game world, practically everything passes through the render because (stating the obvious) video is the primary medium for a video game.

As I have previously stated, I am not a programmer by trade but I know enough about programming conceptually and both C++ and Java to be able to read the code and I have seen the rendering code, even if only while talking with rob about other things while he worked, and looking at scripting abstractions for effects production. I can tell you that just from what I have seen, its not a job I would want to re-do that stuff. Its why so many companies these days just license someone elses engine. The mechanics, the video, the physics, let someone else write the sticky stuff, and then just customize it and build scripting on top of it to modify it for your game.

Re-writing "just" the renderer for OpenGL might as well go back into development for who-knows-how-long because it would be like rewriting most of the game.

The second thing I wanted to touch on was cross platform compatability. Its something that Rob and I discussed several times because I was responsible for the function and hosting of game servers. Frankly, if we had a Linux compatible dedicated server it would have been much cheaper and easier to host servers. The level of effort involved was frankly something that made the idea a non-starter. Right now, thats the only real impetus that I can see for bringing games to the Linux platform.

And just to throw one of my own controvercial observations into the mix... who's to say that if it were ported over people would pay for it anyway? The whole basis for linux in the enthusiast consumer space is predicated on free and open source, is it not?
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GodzukiTest



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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2006 1:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Rob/Devs: Why not OpenGL? Reply with quote

Quote:
Quote:
OpenGL is portable.
DX is unportable.


mr obvious to the rescue Smile

db


um...that wasnt very obvious to me...
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