Home > Android, Games Programming, Graphics, OpenGL > OpenGL ES 2 for Android: A Quick-Start Guide

OpenGL ES 2 for Android: A Quick-Start Guide

So you want to make your first Android game or want to make a live wallpaper or just a simple 3D scene?
On Android, games use OpenGL ES 2 for rendering, which means you’ll have to learn it, even if you want to use a game engine it’s always good to know how stuff works on a low level.

By learning OpenGL ES2, you’ll be also learning WebGL since they both use the same set of functions.

OpenGL ES2 is cross-platform which means once you learn the API on a specific platform you will only need to know some platform-specific details to get your game to the other platforms.

While learning OpenGL ES 2, you will face challenges even if you have a good background in computer graphics! This is where books like OpenGL ES 2 for Android: A Quick-Start Guide shine.

Book cover

Learning OpenGL ES2 starts with a mountain that you have to climb even if you just want to render a single dot in a 3D world, it gets easier after that đŸ™‚ .

The book has a unique approach which makes it easier to understand the process. before rushing into the 3D world it starts with a simple 2D game (avoiding 3D stuff like projection matrices) to let you understand how OpenGL ES2 operates, and then gradually builds on that.

What should I know before reading the book?

Just simple Java programming skills and simple knowledge of Android programming, even if you’re new to Android  you can still manage keeping up with the book.

Things I liked about the book:

1- The book doesn’t use any out of the box code or any external frameworks, this way you can learn and build your own code. I hate it when books use frameworks, it takes away your freedom. This book builds it’s own framework from scratch. After all, it’s impractical (nearly impossible?) to write a game without wrapping OpenGL ES2 in some sort.

2- In many games you’ll need to be able to touch and interact with the 3D objects in the scene (Picking), this is well covered in the book so that you don’t have to search for it later when you need it.

3- Terrain, Particle system and Skybox are must know techniques in computer graphics, the book explains them in detail with good looking results.

4- In OpenGL ES2 there are many details that might slip away and ruin your code or make it less portable. While your Android device might manage to run your game others might fail because of such details. The book explains many of those and how to do them the right way so your game will run everywhere.

5- Focusing solely on Android makes it easier for you to get the code working. Usually books trying to explain everything in a cross-platform manner make it harder for the reader to get the code working on their platform.

Anyone reading the book will notice the effort put in it, A book I wish it was there when I started learning OpenGL ES2 :).

You can find it at:

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