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I am a beginner-intermediate C++/Java programmer and my long term goal is to be a game programmer.

I have decided to start off with 2D and work my way towards 3D.

I would like to use SDL to start off with, but I am wondering if it is maybe not such a great idea.

Given the fact that I am working towards 3D, would it be advisable to use SDL or jump into OpenGL without the Z axis?

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Just use SDL. You can use OpenGL with the SDL when you want to transition over.

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OpenGL is used quite a lot for 2D games. We used it in Teeworlds for example. Using it as a pure 2D language is ok, it might give you some quirks when setting up camera and especially if you want stuff pixel perfect. But you will learn a lot by doing it.

You can use OpenGL with SDL, it's very common. Most people doing it that way only uses GL though, and skips most (all?) of SDL:s drawing functions.

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