Learning PowerVR

I wanted to learn PowerVR and I have no background in graphics. I am coming from a processor architecture background, parallel computing specifically. I have a lot of very basic questions and hope you could help me get started.

If I understood correctly, PowerVR comes with an emulation mode so that I do not need to have a graphics device in my computer to use it ? (Correct me if I am wrong)

I have downloaded and installed PowerVR. My laptop is quite old, it does not have any GPU and runs Ubuntu 12.04 on Intel Centrino 32 bit. I have selected Linux32 and OpenGL ES 3.0 during installation.

I had a look at the “The PowerVR Insider SDK User Guide” html comes with the installation. It says “I also need to install OpenGL ES seperately” ? I thought the emulation of it was already installed ?

It also says “You will also need to install the latest platform toolchain on your development machine for your target platform.” I do not understand what that means. I mean I do not have any target platform. I just want to learn to work with PowerVR. Therefore do I need to consider the above option ?

In order to build the code examples, it asks me to define the TOOLCHAIN environment variable to the toolchain directory. Given my situation described above, what should I do ?

I am trying my best to learn, and any help is greatly appreciated.

Best regards,


Hi Isuru,

Yes, we have an OpenGL ES Emulator that comes as part of the PowerVR Graphics SDK. This emulator requires the underlying version of OpenGL to be of a high enough level for us to emulate ES, which sadly, without a dedicated GPU (or at least an Intel HD 4000) it is unlikely to be, especially for OpenGL ES 3.0 support.

If you can not run the emulator (which you probably can’t) then your machine will need to support OpenGL ES directly, and you will need to have appropriate drivers installed.

In regatds to the platform toolchain, the SDK expects that you have a “target platform” that is to say, a platform that you wish to “deploy” to. In this instance, your target platform is your own machine. I can’t remember what needs to be in the toolchain folder, so I’ll double check and get back to you.

Hi Bob,

Many thanks for the reply. I have installed freeglut using

sudo apt-get install freeglut3 freeglut3-dev

Is it possible for me to tell the emulator to use freegult to emulate OpenGL.

[apologies if the above sentence is completely rubbish :smiley: ]

Alternatively if you can suggest me a way to get my hands dirty with PowerVR, with my

old laptop, that is fantastic. I have no preference for any target model.

thanks a lot for your support.

best regards,


FreeGLUT is simply a utility library for setting up quick GL programs without having to mess with the native window system. You might be thinking of mesa which is a software GL implementation.

The emulator should work with mesa for simple applications, depending on what ES features you are trying to emulate and which GL features mesa provides.

One thing I want to improve with regards to our emulator is the ability to successfully emulate more features on lower-end systems. At the moment your mileage may vary!