What is OpenGL?

OpenGL, developed by Silicon Graphics, is an advanced graphical development method originally used on powerful workstations. Now, with faster and more powerful pc's, OpenGL makes its way onto the Windows95 and WindowsNT platform for all users, not just developers. There is even OpenGL support in Linux. And with the announcement between Microsoft and Silicon Graphics, the future of OpenGL appears to have a future for pc users.

As pc applications with OpenGL support begin to appear to the public, there has been a twisted side of OpenGL for nearly a year, the 3d action game. With the release of GLQuake, pc gamers got their first taste of outstanding 3d graphics that run at exceptional framerates. And with the release of Quake2 by Id Software, OpenGL now proves itself as an exceptional graphical API for 3d action games.

Straight out of the box, Quake2 supports nearly every video board that is capable of running some various form of OpenGL. The current renderers are:

Default OpenGL - The rendering mode for video boards that have full OpenGL support in the operating system. An example of this would be a Windows 95 system using a fully compatible OpenGL board.

3Dfx OpenGL - OpenGL support for boards with the 3Dfx chipset. 3Dfx currently has two chipsets which run 3Dfx OpenGL, the Voodoo and Voodoo Rush chipsets. 3Dfx OpenGL is done by using the Glide Runtime drivers. By far this is the most popular chipset used in GLQuake and GLQuake2. Performance in this mode is also exceptional.

PowerVR OpenGL - The PowerVR PCX2 chipset is a fairly new chipset, yet it has gained the support for a seperate OpenGL renderer in Quake2. PowerVR boards are internal cards that use the existing installed graphics adapter, but no daisy-chained monitor hookups are needed like the 3Dfx Voodoo cards. PowerVR is cheaper, slower, yet it is still capable of generating the same (or near) quality as that of the 3Dfx boards.

Verite OpenGL - Verite OpenGL did not ship with Quake2, but support is now available for the Rendition V1000 and V2x00 chipsets. While OpenGL performance is anything but stellar on the V1000 boards, the V2100 and V2200 chipsets perform at a satisfactory level.

GLQuake2 Eye Candy

Colored Lighting Colored Lighting
By far the most talked about effect in GLQuake2 is colored lighting. Instead of basic white lighting as that of GLQuake, GLQuake2 is capable of different hues of light: red, blue, green, white, purple, and yellow. This effect gives the player a more realistic visualization of "being there". When you walk into a deep cavern full of water, the area gives off a blue shimmer, adding to the overall realism. A room with lava in it has a reddish-yellow tint to the walls, making the 3d world come alive. The room actually looks hot, reminding the player it might not be a good idea to proceed further towards the lava. Weapons like the rocket launcher which travel a distance before hitting their target give off glorious tints of a yellowish-white light while they fly, lighting up dark corridors as they scream to their destination target.

Transparency Transparency
Transparent surfaces also create a more stunning world. Even though transparent water and windows are available to non-OpenGL users, the overall effect is magnified when running in an OpenGL mode. Looking into the water and seeing the fish swim below the surface and looking through windows and seeing enemies or players on the other side is a dramatic enhancement to the game. These effects once again let the player interact with his/her environment.

clean, crisp graphics without the big blocky pixels

The visual quality of GLQuake2 is what brings the player into the action. The most noticible thing you will see in GLQuake2 is lack of pixels. Sure, pixels are there, but you dont see the big blocky, chunky looking pixels. You see smooth, clean, filtered out pixels. In some ways, GLQuake2 can be called a super-violent version of Mario64 with colored lighting. :)