What is OpenGL used for? Is it a game engine? If I were to program a game would I need to use Open GL with a game engine?

Also does OpenGL do animation? I am kinda of confused on what exactly OpenGL is. I know it's an Application Programming Interface. That's about it.

Is C++ used in OpenGL? For what exactly is C++ used for in OpenGL?


2 Answers 2


OpenGL is a graphics library. You can use it to draw shapes like triangles, quads etc.

OpenGL is not a game engine. It can be used as a part of a game engine.

If you were to program a game, you could use OpenGL to draw the sprites or 3D meshes.

OpenGL does not do animation by itself, but you can implement animation by modifying vertex positions etc.

OpenGL is a C API, so you can use it with languages that provide bindings for it, like C++ and many others.


In software you need a way to talk to hardware. That's called an interface. OpenGL is an interface to 3d graphics hardware.

A Game Engine includes, among other things, a graphics engine. The graphics engine needs to talk to the 3d graphics hardware (aka graphics card), and can use OpenGL to do that.

OpenGL is an interface and like most interfaces it can be used from several languages, altough C++ is one of the more popular languages for using OpenGL.

OpenGL, being an interface, doesn't "do" animation. Interfaces allow one side to talk with the other. As such you can write software that uses OpenGL to tell the 3d graphics hardware to display something that looks like an animation.


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