The Walkthru Project


GLVU is a C++/OpenGL/GLUT based viewer that various members of The Walkthrough Group at UNC CS have been developing to serve as a common platform for our research. We are making it available to you because that's just the kind of people we are. And because we want to assimilate you.
GLVU Source Downloads
Browse the list of versions available.
Archives are named according to the date they were checked out and created.

There are a few different subsets of the glvu source:

The snapshots of the CVS archives are made periodically by a highly trained monkey.

What's Inside?
Rather than being one massive "3D Engine", GLVU provides a number of utility libraries that are handy to have for 3D graphics programming with OpenGL. Basically we have no idea what you're going to try to do with OpenGL, and we don't want to limit you. So you can use all these components together, or just take bits and pieces that do what you need. Here are the main pieces it has:

If you want to manipulate a 3D scene, but don't want to worry about how to turn mouse movements into 3D navigation, then the GLVU/glvu viewer stuff is for you. If, on the other hand, you want to handle camera manipulation completely on your own, then forget about glvu/glvu, but you still may want to use glvu/math, glvu/fileutils, and glvu/timer libs. The point is you don't have to use it all. If you just need to load and save a few images, for instance, just grab the glvu/images code. Or if you need more complicated image handling, chuck glvu/images and use ImageMagick or DevIL. It's up to you! The GLVU libs play nice with others for the most part. Happy coding!

Compilation Instructions

Windows/MSVC 6.0

Project files and workspaces are included for MSVC 6.0 in the glvu/MSVC6 directory. The directory contains two MSVC workspaces, one builds the GLVU libraries (libs.dsw), the other builds the examples (examples.dsw).

There is also a directory called MSVC5 which has project files for Microsoft Visual C++ version 5.0, but these files are not actively maintained and likely will not work without some tweeking.

We have set up the project files to link GLVU against the "Multithreaded DLL" run-time libraries rather than the default "Single-Threaded" versions. Prior versions of GLVU were configured to use the "Single-Threaded" run-time libraries. The change was made to allow for greater flexibility: it is still possible to write single-threaded programs when linking against the multithreaded run-time libraries, but the opposite is not true. Since there's no real significant disadvantage to using the multithreaded run-time libraries as far as I know, it is better for us to make that the default.

You change the run-time libraries in your projects by going to the "Project Settings" dialog in Visual Studio, to the "C/C++" tab, under the category "Code Generation". There where you see "Use run-time library" change the drop-down to "Multithreaded DLL" for the Release build and "Debug Multithreaded DLL" for the Debug build.

The way I usually use glvu on windows is to compile it in some directory, say c:\usr\pkg\glvu, then set a GLVUDIR environment variable in Windows to that dir. Then in the Project Settings, C/C++ tab, under "Preprocessor" I add $(GLVUDIR)/include, and under the Link tab, under "Input", I add $(GLVUDIR)/lib. Actually I do that for just about every external library I link against, and it works pretty well.


The current makefiles rely on features only available in the GNU version of make. If you don't have that on the platform you are using, you should. It has been ported to far far more platforms than GLVU ever will be.

To build, just type gmake (or make if that's what your version of GNU make is called). If it doesn't do what you expect then you should read the README.ubermake file that comes in the distribution.

Note that QGLVU hasn't been tested on UNIX, and probably will require some tweaking, especially in the Makefiles department.



The standard GLVU viewer uses GLUT for window management. GLUT is nice and easy to use, and quick to get up and running with, but it is not maintained by its author any more (the last update was 3.7.6 relased in 2001). It's really showing its age, with no support for common UI features such as the mouse wheel. If you use the standard GLVU viewer, then you will be stuck with these sorts of limitations.


The Qt version of the GLVU viewer, QGLVU, is based off of Qt 2.3, which is also really old at this point. Reports are that QGLVU won't compile with the latest version of Qt (3.3 at the time of this writing). If anyone feels inspired to contribute patches to make it work with 3.3, please do! If you're here at UNC, I (baxter at cs) would be glad to help you get it working.

But the bigger problem is that TrollTech has made Qt free on Linux, but not on Windows. The most recent version of Qt that was freely available on Windows is the 2.3 Non-Commercial version. (which is hard to find on their web site, but still available for dowload here). Apart from that, rumor has it that this book on Qt comes with a non-commercial edition of 3.3, but that seems to only be available to book purchasers at this point.

Other Toolkits

If someone is looking for a little project that could benefit the masses, it would be REALLY REALLY nice to have ports of the GLVU viewer for some of the other window toolkits out there, like wxWindows, or FOX, or FLTK. All three of those toolkits are completely free (unlike Qt), and are also actively maintained (unlike GLUT). Porting the viewer only involves making changes to things that are in the glvu/glvu directory. Probably the best way to go about it would be to copy the QGLVU setup, since constructs in Qt will pretty much map 1-to-1 with things in wxWindows and FOX. FLTK is the only questionable one since it uses C-stlye callback functions (more like GLUT), while the others have event methods that are members of classes (more like Qt).

GLVU Documentation

We have started creaing API documentation for GLVU using doxygen. The results can be browsed here.

You can refer to the older (very incomplete) documentation here. Be prepared for plenty of "missing links".

In the meantime, if there is a question that the manual doesn't answer yet, you can refer to the example programs included in the standard GLVU distribution. These are located in the glvu/examples directory.

last updated: 6 Feb 2004 3:33pm
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