Review: Getting Started with OpenGL ES 3+ Programming by Hans de Ruiter

This is the second book in a series by Hans de Ruiter on getting started with OpenGL ES3. I recommend reading them in order, Modern Graphics Programming Primer is a better place to start. Getting Started with OpenGL ES 3+ Programming is a quite simple text, but that’s also the point. At 81 pages, it is not very long, but you’ll have a spinning, textured cube at the end, with basic directional lighting. It flows sort of like an online tutorial in book form, though much more concise than something like LearnOpenGL, so may be worth checking out first. Though I did not really learn any new tricks here, I think this is a fine introduction to the topic, if you’ve not done graphics programming previously (but read the first book first, cause it will make more sense).

As stated, the book is short and basically just a tutorial. The first chapter shows how to setup SDL and the development environment on Windows using Visual Studio. The steps for Mac and Linux will obviously be different, but I think that shouldn’t be hard to figure out. Next Ruiter shows how to use shaders and render a triangle. After that you learn how to apply texture mapping. Then he gets into 3D using matrix math and renders a cube. And, finally, he shows how to create a simple lighting model and make the cube animate. It’s fairly bare-bones, but that’s also kind of what you want for a first tutorial.

Overall, there is not anything ground-breaking here, but it’s a solid tutorial if you’re looking to learn OpenGL ES3 (which can still be relevant for things like mobile or web). While LearnOpenGL offers a much more comprehensive package, I can’t really find any fault here, and the Kindle version of the book was only $0.99, so it’s definitely worth the cost of entry. Of course, OpenGL is becoming less relevant every day, but it still works on many platforms and may be a good way to get introduced to graphics coding, rather than attempting to learn Vulkan first and getting overwhelmed. So I would say it’s a solid read.