Modern OpenGL resources round up

With the fundamental shift from a fixed to a programmable pipeline, finding modern style OpenGL resources can prove a bit tricky.  Therefore I have put this page together to show a collection of useful modern GL related links, books and materials.  If I missed something you believe I should add, please let me know!


Tutorials, Wikis and eBooks

The OpenGL wiki, probably the place you should start.  Contains documentation on most of OpenGL as well as complete references for both OpenGL functions and GLSL shader programming.

Specs and documentation for OpenGL.  Loads here but a bit… stark.

A series of 40 OpenGL tutorials including lighting, shading, normal mapping, skeletal animation and more.

Actually an ebook, covers most of OpenGL

Another series of OpenGL tutorials covering a range of subjects and bordering on being an ebook.

A series of OpenGL tutorials for OpenGL 3.3 and higher.  Broken into basic, intermediate and misc categories.

Another ebook on OpenGL, some on 3.3, some on 4.0.  Makes use of freeGLUT and GLEW.

A series of GLSL tutorials.  GLSL is the shader language used with OpenGL.

An intro to modern OpenGL.

Ozone3d offer a range of tutorials on a number of OpenGL subjects ( as well as Direct3D tutorials if you are interested ).

Typhoon Labs GLSL tutorials ( PDF format ).

nVidia have a half dozen tutorials available at the above link, as well as a number of tools such as the NVIDIA PerfKit and Cg and FX Composer.

AMD’s (ATI) developer page.  No tutorials, but a number of useful applications for developers.

Using OpenGL with SFML.

Using OpenGL with SDL

LazyFoo’s OpenGL tutorials.  Some are OpenGL 2.1 era while later ones are more modern style.

A work in progress series of OpenGL 4 tutorials.  Only the tutorials with working thumbnails currently exist, but certainly one worth keeping your eye on!

Another series of tutorials for OpenGL 3.3 (and higher).  Pretty good collection of materials covered from beginner to intermediate topics.

The title says it all. Covers writing OpenGL code that can run on multiple platforms with minimal changes.

Code Samples

A series of code samples to go along with the tutorial series from  Cover setting up Xcode, Visual Studio and Linux, as well as texturing, model loading, cameras, matrices and more.

A series of well commented modern OpenGL samples that make no use of an external library.  Includes some advanced samples such as a Voxel rendering engine.  Note, these tutorials aren’t hosted on GameFromScratch, we simply provide a table of contents and description of each in one place.

OpenGL samples from the author of the GLM library mentioned below.  Website explaining what is contained is available here.





GLFW is a cross platform open source library for handling window creation and management as well as dealing with input.


GLEW stands for OpenGL Extension Wrangler and it makes working with OpenGL extensions easier.  It makes it easy to querying if a device supports a given extensions as well as calling that extension a much simpler process.


GLUT stands for OpenGL Utility KIt and it is for creating and handling Windows like GLFW as well as keyboard, mouse and joysticks in a cross platform manner.  It is not being actively developed, so other options are probably better choices.  The last release was in 1998.


Is an open sourced implementation of GLUT under more active development than GLUT.


Simple DirectMedia Layer is a 2D game programming library that can be used to create windows and handle input, as well as simplifying many 2D graphic tasks.


SFML is a 2D game programming library built over OpenGL.  Like SDL it can be used for window creation, input, audio and more along side your OpenGL library.

OpenGL Mathematics

Header file only C++ mathematics


As you may have guessed at this point, OpenGL has no facilities for creating windows or handling input, sound, networking, etc.





OpenGL Programming Guide: The Official Guide to Learning OpenGL Version 4.3 (8th Edition)  (Safari Link) OpenGL 4.3

OpenGL SuperBible: Comprehensive Tutorial and Reference (5th Edition) (Safari Link) OpenGL 3.3

OpenGL 4.0 Shading Language Cookbook (Safari Link) OpenGL 4.0



Language Bindings



OGLPlus is a C++ wrapper for OpenGL 3.x and higher.


OpenGL, OpenAL and OpenCL wrappers for .NET languages such as C# and


OpenGL, GLU, GLUT wrapper for Python.


OpenGL bindings for Java.


Lightweight Java Game Library, a Java layer over OpenGL, OpenAL, OpenCL as well as additional input support.

( There are many many many more language bindings/wrappers for OpenGL for dozens of languages.  These are some of the most common ).



See Also


OpenGL ES 2

OpenGL ES 2 is the most modern reference implementation for OpenGL on mobile or embedded devices.  It’s derived from OpenGL 2 and is very similar but varies in some ways from desktop OpenGL.


WebGL is OpenGL ES 2 for the web, it is a JavaScript based library.  WebGL support in modern browsers is getting better, but is by no means universal, nor is the performance consistent between browsers.


On open source implementation of the OpenGL standard, currently compatible with OpenGL 3.1.


OGLPlus is a C++ wrapper for OpenGL 3.x and higher.

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