What Version OpenGL to Target

I had fun making a simple demo in jME. Then I sent it to a few friends (pc and mac). None of them could run it until I added:


There you have it. The results of a very scientific survey (sample size n = 3):

100% of people can only run OpenGL version 1.

I tried telling them that OpenGL was currently up to version 4.2 and they all replied, “Open what?”

Anyone have any links to general usage of OpenGL (not just gamers)?

You might consider clicking these 7 links:


If you see the German Wikipedia artikel you can then easily switch to an English version. Just the English OpenGL Article lecks this “usages” collection part.

There is only DirectX for MS and OpenGL for everything else, idk what much there is to check about the “general usage”. If you see 3d graphics on a non-microsoft system its OpenGL (playstation, android, mac, ios, linux etc.).

Wait, the mac could not run it? As far as I understood normens speeches about macs are using the same hardware base, it should be either ancient, or at least have opengl 2.0 (or 3.0)

@EmpirePhoenix said:
it should be either ancient, or at least have opengl 2.0 (or 3.0)

True, probably a MacMini with an Intel GMA950, thats the "most current" machines/graphics with a lack of full GL2 support but they are on the virge of "not supported" yeh. Anyway @morts, this is why there is OpenGL1 fallback support still.

OpenGL drivers do not come with Windows by default. You have to install them from the video card manufacturer website.

To clarify…

I was interested if there was a survey which shows the percentage of computers that run OpenGL 2 and 3.

Similar to the Steam hardware survey where they show the percentage of computers using DX9, DX10 and DX11. Except that Steam would be biased toward gaming computers.

I don’t know of any such surveys but best just always target as low as you can and then make the rest optional. So just like users will only see some feature if they downloaded and installed DX11 they will only if they downloaded the latest driver for their graphics card with the latest OpenGL support. Most gamers do install the manufacturers driver for performance reasons and they contain the OpenGL drivers as well.

@morts said: Except that Steam would be biased toward gaming computers.

Yeah, that's one thing I've always found peculiar about their survey is that the nature of it is biased in itself :/

While PC OEM's never fail to surprise, it would be shocking if there were still embedded GPU's shipping with less than GL 20 capabilities, those cards are pretty old. You can see a list of OpenGL versions with the Intel cards here. If you pair that with enough poking around the web looking at the various statistics about PC sales (there are many, many figures available but they don't tell you all of the information in any one place) you should be able to get an idea of how many low-mid-high end computers are being sold.

Pay attention to the ultrabooks (they are getting better and better), comfortable ignore netbooks (that market totally died), and disregard this advice in a year.
1 Like

Ok, thanks for your replies.

I agree that it would be surprising if there are things shipping with less than GL2.0. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a lot of things already out there with version 1.

On a practical note, I am trying to figure out how to test what version of OpenGL is installed. Or, failing that, how to catch the LWJGL exception.


@morts said:
Or, failing that, how to catch the LWJGL exception.

You can register an error callback to the application and just display a swing window with general debugging tips. Or make a separate small jme application that runs with the minimum OpenGL1 settings and then checks the caps of the graphics system, gives hints and saves those settings as java preferences the main application can later use.