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Article Written By:
Johann Dowa

16 Killer iPhone OpenGL ES Resources


Here’s my updated list of OpenGL ES resources, this list includes tutorials, engines, blogs, and books.  I have updated it to include a couple of OpenGL ES 2.0 resources, and many other OpenGL ES 1.x resources that others have shared with me.

I have created a new version of this list at: 18 OpenGL ES Resources That You Must Know!

Math Resources

If you don’t have a basic understanding of 2D and 3D math for computer graphics your head will probably explode once you try learning OpenGL.  To prevent that from happening you should at least understand the terminology, and the reasons why this math is needed.  No need to grind through math problems like in college.. that’s what computers are for.

1. The Black Art of 3D Game Programming Chapter 10 This is a great introduction to graphics math, and pretty much crams 3 college courses I took into this chapter.  The whole book can be found here for free.  It is an old book, but the math still holds true.

2. Vector & Matrix Math Tutorial If you feel that everything in the resource above is flying above your head then you probably will want to take a look at this.  I normally wouldn’t reccomend a resource that brags about being "book sized", but it is very good.

iPhone Specific Resources

3. iPhone OpenGL ES Tutorial Series I don’t know if Maurice SImon is the smartest person alive, but this is the smartest set of OpenGL ES tutorials I’ve seen.  A terrific resource.

4.  Jeff LaMarche’s iPhone Blog Blog from one of the authors of the excellent Beginning iPhone Development book with many articles on OpenGL ES, and an ongoing OpenGL ES from The Ground Up series.

5. SIO2 Engine this is an excellent Open Source 3D OpenGL ES engine, look at the code, understand, and maybe even use the engine rather than write your own from the ground up (nothing wrong with that).

6. Oolong Engine An Open source 3D OpenGL ES Game Engine for Iphone, MIT licensed. Written by Wolfgang Engel former Rockstar Games programmer, and author of some intense DirectX books.  Great to see the libraries in here for handling memory, loading 3d models, and performing math.

7. Cocos2D Iphone This is an excellent Open Source 2D OpenGL ES Game Framework for iPhone you can learn alot from going in and looking around the code.  As far as Open Source frameworks go this extremely easy to use, well documented, and has an active community.

8. SDL for iPhone (SDL Version 1.3) The SDL library has been a popular open source library for probably over a decade, and has been used in many games. This is the iPhone port, and a great resource.

Non iPhone Resources

If you use these resources you’ll need to put in some time to get things running on the iPhone, but they are still excellent.

10. Nehe Tutorials Converted To OpenGL ES Michael Gorchak creator of the GluES library has put together this collection of tutorials converted from their original Nehe form.  In case you haven’t heard of them the Nehe tutorials were the definitive free tutorials for learning OpenGL.  Michael has done an excellent job of writing comments for these tutorials.

11. Khronos OpenGL ES Page This is the OpenGL ES "homepage" on which you will find the reference manual, and lots of examples.  Not specifically IPhone, but there are some great examples here and even a complete racing game BSD licensed.

12. Khronos OpenGL ES 1.x Step-By-Step Tutorials This page is from Imagination Technologies makers of the Iphone GPU, and it contains the Khronos tutorials converted to OpenGL ES and created for the PowerVR technology.  Good to lean from especially as to how they load Pod files.

13. Zeus CMD OpenGL ES Tutorials This site contains 25 Great OpenGL ES Tutorials and they are extremely well paced, this was a site I learned alot from.

14. Typhoon Labs OpenGL ES Tutorials Another excellent set of OpenGL ES tutorials if you’re addicted to tutorials you might want to check these out too.

OpenGL ES 2.0 Resources

These are the OpenGL ES 2.0 resources you know so far, the Khronos OpenGL ES page above also includes information on OpenGL ES 2.0.  You can see there aren’t many that i know of so if you know of some killer OpenGL ES 2.0 resources please link to them

15.  The OpenGL ES Programming Book The code from this book has been updated to run on the iPhone and can be found here.  Make sure you have a solid understanding of OpenGL (or OpenGL ES 1.x) before starting this book.   

16. The OpenGL ES Shading Language This is a free pdf book from Khronos, and actually a really good read, and will teach you what you need to know, again don’t try this until you at least have some OpenGL understanding or your head may explode. Thanks to Bill Dudney one of the authors of iPhone SDK Development for pointing this out.

This is a quick video on getting started with iPhone OpenGL ES:

That’s it, if you know of some other great resources please share them.


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