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OpenGL: a viable game-programming API?

I e-mailed this list once before regarding some initial plans of mine to
start on a "super" Pong game which would be set in a 3D, multiplayer
environment. Work has progressed very little (a *very* little bit - I went
out and spent a few hundred bucks on graphics books and OpenGL 
reference manuals) and before I delve more deeply into OpenGL than I
already have, I wanted some advice.

I've heard on this list that OpenGL is pretty much unlimited in terms of
its portability and that sort of thing, and after playing around with it
and seeing how incredibly easy it is in terms of its results/code volume
ratio, I'm very impressed.

However, what I'd like to know is if I should get "basic" graphics
concepts down pat before I delve deeper into learning and using the 3D
API. For example, I can set up and render some primitives in OpenGL with
no problem, but I've never written code to do "plain" graphics stuff such
as pixel plotting, line drawing (Bresenham or otherwise), circle drawing,
and that sort of thing. Most of the material I've seen in this is
DOS-based and very specific to VGA (with the framebuffer at $A000000,
etc), but after seeing a few examples from this group for the basic
framework of the Linroids project, converting the code from DOS
unprotected-mode code to using SVGALib shouldn't be too much of an ordeal.

I'd just like to know how important it is that I have the basic knowledge
of rasterization-related techniques and algorithms for "plain and basic"
vanilla-variety graphics stuff before I delve into using OpenGL and my
3dfx card explicitly for 3D-based development...

Sorry if this post is out of place. I appreciate any input. :)

Joel R. Stanley                   *  jstanley@up.edu       
http://rainier.up.edu/~jstanley   *  #include <std_disclaimer.h>