The thing is simple: Mesa is an OpenGL port to linux. But I would suggest OpenGL in the following way: When you install either the Nvdia Drivers r Ati ones, there is a directory with the neccessary fheaders (gl.h, glu.h) Then go and download glut and learn OpenGL. A good beginning is the Linux OpenGL forum, in www.opengl.org.
Your project is interesting, can you give some details(website,license etc.) Maybe I can help!