VOGL- Valve’s new OpenGL Debugger

At Valve’s Steam Dev Days presentation there was a presentation on their new OpenGL tracer/debugger (VOGL). Debugging OpenGL applications has always been way too hard. You could debug graphics for a while using DX on a Windows machine, but that’s a hard thing to maintain, and eventually it got dropped. I applaud Valve for making the effort to fix this situation.  Somebody needs to step in and fix it if OpenGL is going to get the acceptance and love from the game dev. community it deserves.

Things I like about Valve’s efforts;

  • GL support for 3.x with 4.x planned
  • Extension support
  • Driver benchmarking
  • Open Source
  • Extensive support for trace recording and playback.

Things I’m not so thrilled about;

  • Support for way-old crap (Yes I understand why, but really?) like 1.x support and glBegin/glEnd stuff, fixed function pipeline stuff – blech
  • ASM shader support

And stuff I’m (almost) devastated over

  • Only Linux based (yes, but…)
  • No Android support
  • The focus on existing (read *old*) Valve games and not *new* games. Really – they are already written and out there. Let’s write new games/a new engine. Use Modern OpenGL.

I’m hoping that they will get enough support to correct some of these shortcomings. I know there a re other companies working on similar tech, but Valve is a neutral player – with Open Source support I’m hoping they can create something that will be here in the near future and will march forward as the flavors of OpenGL move on.

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