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This question has probably been asked quite a few times, or something similar to it, but I'd like to get some better information on OGRE, since I felt that any descriptions I found weren't very comprehensive as to what it truly does.

I've been dabbling in OpenGL for a while now, and am currently doing my best to tackle shaders, with varying levels of success. Now the reason I'm learning OpenGL is ultimately to be able to develop a game, of course, but I was wondering if I could get started faster if I began using OGRE instead of programming the graphics engine from scratch.

So I looked into it, but nothing really seemed to inform me what kind of development the engine is actually good for. The game I have in mind will have a large open world, partially using procedural terrain generation, so I'm wondering how feasible is something like that in OGRE? Can it be used effectively to generate vertices in real time? Or am I better off skipping OGRE and building from scratch...

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I've heard good and bad things about going both ways. I'd say go straight for OpenGL. The majority of what I've heard concerning Ogre is meh to negative... Though that's not from my experience. –  ultifinitus Oct 21 '11 at 16:40
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but I was wondering if I could get started faster if I began using OGRE instead of programming the graphics engine from scratch.

You will definitely get something up and running faster using an existing framework that works like OGRE. It's open source, so you can change things to suit your needs as they come up.

Everything I've heard about OGRE is that it's just a 3D graphics framework. It isn't really a game engine. So there (probably) isn't a lot of baggage that would make it not particular suited to one game or another.

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OGRE is an abstraction layer on top of some popular graphic APIs, including OpenGL. Since the underlying API is exchangeable, you'll gain portability (same code will run on Direct3D and OpenGL ES with no or only minor changes).

On top of that, OGRE adds quite a lot of features that are useful in the daily life of graphics programming. A scene-graph, scene-managers, mesh- and animation loaders, material scripts, shaders etc. Here's an extensive list of features.

Implementing all these features alone means a ton of work. If you're interested in writing a graphics engine, then OGRE is not for you, since OGRE is a graphics-engine. If you want to write a game and need a robust 3D engine with lots of features, then you're definitely going to have an easier time with using OGRE instead of writing OpenGL calls.

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Few months ago, I was in the exact same situation you are right now.

I was learning OpenGL and shaders etc. in order to create my own engine from scratch... And it was working very nice. But each time I needed something more for my project, I had to change a lot of stuff in the engine, because I haven't anticipated this "new" function.

Finally, I decided to use Ogre3D to create a complete game project, so I can see what functions are really important, how they are organized in the engine, or what is missing (from my own point of view) etc. And when the project will be done, I will then have the choice to keep Ogre3D as main 3D engine, or to try replacing it with my own engine using all the experience earned while using Ogre3D and all the stuffs learned before using it.

That's the reason why I recommend you to try Ogre3D or any other well established 3D engine. (I'm also considering to give a try to Irrlicht 3D to get another point of view before restarting my own engine)


Let's talk about Ogre3D now.

  • It is not difficult to use,
  • the performances are not bad,
  • there is a lot of "plugins" to fits your needs...

You should take a look at the Scene Manager and particularly the Terrains to answer you questions about the terrain generation.

My main reproach about Ogre3D, is that there is tons of old examples, tons of old documentations, and tons of informations not up-to-date... but the engine itself is good and the main documentation relatively clean.

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