Schabby's Blog
Reserve Orbital Defence Commander

We shall begin.

Let me welcome you, fellow nerd! You are about to embark on a wonderful journey full of geekiness and technical awesomeness. Computer graphics, especially 3D graphics is the pinnacle of nerdcraft. It has been fascinating gamers, artists and developers since the first photon has been shot on a screen. Together with game development, 3D computer graphics belongs to the most challenging parts of computer science, as it involves a lot of math, a deep understanding of underlying hardware, meticulous and efficient programming and a sense for beauty.


This post is a brief tutorial on how to use display lists in OpenGL. An working and self-contained example is given below using LWJGL.
Display lists are an essential feature of OpenGL to improve the rendering performance of your application. You can think of them as kind of a macro for OpenGL commands that you name, record and call at some point in your game. More specifically, you assign an integer handle to a sequence of OpenGL commands and call the commands identified by that handle when you need them.


This blog post explains a common and versatile approach to OpenGL picking called "ray picking". An example in pseudo-code is given below.

Picking is the process of finding objects in your scene based on user input. Most commonly, you want to determine what object a user has clicked with his mouse. The 2D mouse coordinates serve as a reference on the view port to identify the projected objected that has been clicked. A similar scenario is a first person shooter, where the gun is basically the picking pointer. If you shoot the gun, the trajectory of the bullet is traced through the scene and collisions are detected, similar to a laser pointer shooting a ray through a scene until it hits an object and marks it with a small red dot.


This post contains the LWJGL base class that I use throughout the tutorials and examples. It basically sets up LWJGL and OpenGL which I otherwise would have to do over and over again in the individual examples. In addition, this makes the code in the tutorials and examples more readable by focusing on the important things.


This getting started-tutorial is intended for JOGL users that are mere beginners. It helps to setup a recent JOGL installation in Eclipse on Windows. There is a video-walk-through further down the post, in case you dont feel like reading.