gpuinfoAside from playing around with a certain new API, I’ve also been working on the web front end OpenGL and OpenGL ES hardware database.

Though I redid the visual side of both some time ago they differed too much for my taste and especially the OpenGL ES database was lacking lots compared to the OpenGL one. No live search, bad visuals (especially for the reports), lacking compare features and much more.

So I did put lots of work in getting both database up to the same standards, optimize the visual presentation and also created a landing page at, that is home to the current hardware databases (OpenGL, OpenGL ES), with at least one new database (Vulkan) coming in the near future.

The OpenGL database is now available at New features include a list of maximum supported OpenGL version by device and listing of compressed texture formats for comparing multiple reports.

The OpenGL ES database is located at Aside from the complete visual overhaul, it now offers (mostly) the same functionality as the OpenGL database. All tables now support a live search (thanks to datatables), report information is now presented in tabs and the launch page has been replaced by a report listing like the one on the OpenGL database.

Source for all the pages (including are available at my github repository, so if you find any bugs feel free to report them there.

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Vulkan from the POV of a hobby 3D developer



As there have been lots of new information on Vulkan, Khronos‘ new graphics and compute API I decided to do a little write up of the new API from a hobby 3D developer’s point of view.

Although I’ve been writing games, demos and applications with OpenGL for roughly 15 years now I still consider myself a hobby developer in terms of 3D graphics. My job is not depending on pushing pixels, maxing out draw calls or swizzling shader commands, and most of my work on 3D (primarily OpenGL) is done during my spare time (mostly late at night).


During this years SIGGRAPH and GamesCom, Khronos showed off some stuff related to Vulkan (LunarG e.g. uploaded a video of LunarXChange, the developer platform for Vulkan) and several IHVs (e.g. PowerVR) and ISVs demoed applications and implementations.

And while it’s still a way to go before Vulkan is released to the public (should be by the end of the years) I’d like to write down a few words on the new API for hobby (OpenGL) developers that may be uncertain on whether to switch or not, or even on what Vulkan actually is.



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Status update

Just as the last blog post is starting to collect dust (time flies by oO) :

I’m still doing lots of 3D development during the late hours in my spare time, still with C++ (Visual Studio rocks :) ), but most of that development is done under an NDA so that’s the main reason I haven’t been updating this blog lately.

Other than that I’ve also been working on a dungeon crawler prototype using modern C++ (C++11/14) and modern OpenGL (4.4). Not much to see yet, but the first screenshot shows the latest version with omni-directional shadow maps, randomly generated dungeons, normal mapping and 3D models (using ASSIMP). I’d also like to mention G-Truc‘s excellent glm and gli libraries that I’m both using in this (and other projects).
I’ve been playing around with randomly generated dungeons a few times in the past but never got much further than some simple tech demos, so this may never become a game but rather a playground, though it already looks pretty nice.

2015-07-07 22_46_38-Dungeon Crawler Prototype - (c) 2015 by Sascha Willems 2015-06-17 21_48_05-Dungeon Crawler Prototype - (c) 2015 by Sascha Willems 2015-06-12 23_29_57-Dungeon Crawler Prototype - (c) 2015 by Sascha Willems 2015-06-05 23_07_32-Dungeon Crawler Prototype - (c) 2015 by Sascha Willems


So right now there’s not much new stuff on OpenGL (ES) or WebGL, but you may check out my twitter account for screenshot and ramblings on my current 3D endeavors without me getting into details. Most of the stuff I post there is not worthy of a complete blog post, so for quick updates, twitter pretty much replaced my blog.


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Parallax offset mapping with WebGL


Years ago I wrote a demo showcasing different normal mapping techniques with Delphi, but never got around cleaning up the source and releasing it. While working on my WebGL dungeon crawler prototype I dug out the old code, cleaned it up and ported it over to WebGL, so you don’t need a compiler to see it in action and play around with it.

Parallax mapping uses an additional heightmap (together with a normal map) to add more depth to flat surfaces depending on the current camera angle. It’s currently lacking shadowing, but that’s something I might add in the future.

01 03

(Left : Normal mapping , right : Parallax offset mapping)

You can get the sources from my GitHub repository :


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Geometry instancing with WebGL 2

webgl-logoWebGL, based on OpenGL ES, brings hardware accelerated OpenGL to your browser, and version 2.0 is around the corner (specs). I’ve been playing around with WebGL (via JavaScript) for some time now (see my GitHub WebGL repo) and recently Google’s chrome (canary) got WebGL 2 support.

WebGL 2.0 adds some interesting new features, with geometry instancing being one of them, so I sat down and wrote a small demo that shows how to render the same instance of a single mesh with differing shader attributes using instancing and only one drawcall :

gl.bindBuffer(gl.ARRAY_BUFFER, buffer with offsets);
gl.vertexAttribPointer(offset attrib location in shader, 3, gl.FLOAT, false, 12, 0);
gl.vertexAttribDivisor(offset attrib location in shader, 1);
gl.drawArraysInstanced(gl.TRIANGLE_STRIP, 0, number of vertices to render, number of instances to render);


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glCapsViewer 1.0 beta release

I just released version 1.0 (beta) of the OpenGL hardware capability viewer (C++ port using Qt). Note that it’s a beta release and my first C++ (and Qt) application released to the public.

Release on gitHub:

Binary downloads (win32) :


If you find any bugs, please post them in the comment section or (better) open an issue at the github repository.

Right now windows only, other platforms (linux first) will follow as soon as I’ve moved the project to CMake.

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New features and url for the OpenGL hardware database

opengl-logoIn preparation for the release of the next glCapsViewer version (C++), the OpenGL hardware database has been completely overhauled and also got a new url for easier access.

After releasing the sources to the php front end of the database, I decided to clean up the sources for all pages, throw out old (bad) code and add in new features using external libraries like DataTables.

The OpenGL hardware database was my first php based web project, so much of the code wasn’t very pretty, and almost all search and filter functions were hard coded and not available everywhere and for all table columns. Not only did that make it hard to add new stuff, but it also gave a very inconsistent end-user experience.

The new version of the database now uses DataTables on all pages, including a live search, so that you can now easily search for data on every page among every column. Same goes for sorting, as all columns are now sortable, instead of just a few that were hard coded in the old version.

In addition to the new search functionality, the visuals are now based on jQueryUI and BootStrap, giving an easier look on the eye and also adding some convenient features, like having report information in separate tabs for easier navigation. Combined with live search, this should make the database a lot more fun to use.

The database now also has a real url (, instead of the old redirection, making up for much shorter urls than before, e.g. :

Feedback so far has been positive, and I also received some feature requests that I’ll ad in the future. So if you want to see a new feature, or see something that could be improved, just drop me a line or message me on twitter.



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Going GitHub with gl(ES)CapsViewer

In my last posting for 2014, I wgithub-logorote a little bit about going open source with my projects. So I took the C++ rewrite of the OpenGL hardware capability viewer as a first step in releaasing more of my sources to the public.

And while I found bitbucket to be fine, I decided to move over to GitHub. Most of the developers I use to interact with are there (and not on bitbucket), and I prefer their UI and functionality over bitbucket (plus they seem to be super active with adding new stuff).

My GitHub repositories are located here.

It currently hosts the C++ port of the OpenGL hardware capability viewer, as well as it’s OpenGL ES counterpart (written in Java), the web front end of the OpenGL hardware database (PHP) and the pascal OpenGL header translation (Pascal).

So if you want to check out progress on these projects or like to fork them, just head to the repository. I’ll add other projects over time, and plan on releasing sources for some of my old (inactive) delphi projects too.

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2014 – Final posting

9903c7c14add3fd0758b7b5b80c24d48101f296f13ce34736799a82c71f61bc2As another year ends, it’s time for a small retrospect. Next year marks the 10th anniversary of my personal blog, so I’ve been posting about my programming adventures for over a decade now (the first version of went online 2003 afair) and I’m still having lots of fun hacking code into different IDEs with different languages, though focus is shifting from time to time. And that’s actually what makes coding so much fun, it’s a constant learning progress that forces you to constantly sharpen your coding skills, learn new languages, adopt to new technologies etc.

So yes, it’s very time consuming, but it’s also very rewarding and surely has positive effects on your brain and all other mind-related skills. And I don’t think that I’ll ever stop coding, ’cause that would surely leave a whole in my life that would be hard to fill, especially since it’s so creative.

So here we are at the end of 2014, and lot’s of things happened during that year, so I’ll post a quick summary of the programming related things that moved me during 2014.


I’m on twitter now (like anybody else on this tiny planet I guess). The main reason I’m not posting as much on my personal blog as I used to to is twitter. I initially decided to use it because people were talking about my OpenGL and OpenGL ES hardware databases and tools, and wanted to reply to them.

But in the end it turned out to be much more and I’m using twitter now  on a daily basis now. It’s the perfect way of finding like-minded programmers, and you often get instant feedback and end up with interesting discussions. And you also realize that all those coders at google, nvidia, amd, valve, etc. are just regular people like yourself 😉

JavaScript and WebGL

2014-11-16 19_35_20-Unscheinbar (WIP) - Copyright © 2014 by Sascha Willems ( also did lots of experimenting with JavaScript and WebGL. Though I must admit that it’s a complete different world compared to the strongly typed languages I normally use. I kinda like JavaScript (although it seems most “real programmers” wouldn’t agree with me on that), and compared with WebGL it’s great to see how easy it is to use OpenGL on almost every device out there by simply opening up a browser.

Though WebGL is still in it’s early stages, it’s already shaping up very well, and khronos is putting in a lot of effort to make WebGL the open 3D standard for the web. And I wish them the best luck.

And if you followed my tweets, you may have seen that I’m developing a new game with JavaScript and WebGL. It’s called “unscheinbar” and will be using the random dungeon generator I posted to JS some time ago. It’ll be more of an experiment than a game, with visuals and elements found on trugbild. There’s not much to see yet, as it’s still in it’s very early stages, but I hope to have it up and running some time within the first half of 2015.

And since JS and WebGL are so great for rapid prototyping, I also have a few more game ideas written down somewhere for which I’d like to create some prototypes in 2015.

C++ rocks (again)

A few weeks ago Microsoft dropped the bomb that made m2014-12-21 13_07_00-glcapsviewer 1.0 - © 2011-2015 by Sascha Willems ( completely move away from Delphi/Free Pascal for my private programming stuff : They released the Visual Studio 2013 community edition.

So with a full (free) Visual Studio available to everyone, I completely stopped using and Pascal related languages for my private coding (Delphi and Free Pascal with Lazarus). The IDE is just awesome, and if you compare it to the fat, slow and buggy Delphi-IDE it just shows that MS is driving circles around Embarcadero.

So for my first (real) C++ projects in over a decade I decided to port the OpenGL hardware capability viewer (glCapsViewer) over to C++, using Qt for the Gui. And it’s awesome. I’m having so much fun writing C++ code in Visual Studio that I can hardly stop (screw the dishes 😉 ).

It’s coming along very nice, and won’t become a simple but port. It’ll be getting some new features and I also plan on releasing the sources to it, so other people can contribute to it.


Going open source

For a long time, I had severe reservations on releasing my sources to the public, and with the exception of a few simple projects and headers, most of my source was closed and not available to the public. But with the switch over to new programming languages and platforms, I decided it would be a great way to put my new sources into the public, and that’s why I decided to open up a repository over at bitbucket.

And that’s what I’ll pursue even more for 2015 : Making more of my sources available to the public. Sure, there may be drawbacks like people “stealing” your code and not giving a single f**k on your license, but the advantages easily outweigh these, so I’m still sure that this is a good idea.

Closing words

And so ends another great year, with lots of great stuff happening on the programming front. If 2015 will be anything like 2014, I’d be totally happy :)

So I wish you all happy holidays a happy and healthy 2015!


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