Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Back to Work: In 3D

The Sad Part:
Vacation time is over and now its back to the normal work week. And of course it means getting up as early as possible to be able to have more hours in the evening to spend on side projects. But at least there is another vacation right around the corner Christmas. Of course for me that means running around the South Jersey area from Mall to Mall window shopping for that perfect gift for my family and girlfriend.

The Goodies:
So, I've been getting back into 3D programming a little bit over the past couple weeks. For Java there are some good choices for your 3D programming needs. There is LWJGL and then JOGL which is now supported by SUN. Both are open source. And of course I believe that the Java Monkey Engine is probably what you should start with if you are thinking of getting into 3D programming with Java.

On the flip side of the coin for those C/C++ gurus there is always SDL which integrates with OpenGL so that you have the simplicity of SDL with the power of OpenGL at your finger tips. The downfall of course is that OpenGL is not object oriented and does not provide common model file format of course theres always COLLADA packages you could check out. There is of course DirectX, but remember DirectX 10 is Vista only, you will have to use DirectX 9.0c if you want to do development on XP.

Of course if you are into new 3D technologies you can make the easy switch to XNA. With a very large support community and a lot of good libraries and articles to add physics, ai, and animations to your game quickly. And of course the really cool added bonus of being able to deploy your game and playtest it on your own Xbox.

Good Alternatives
If you want a good supporting community, lots of plugins, and of cross-platform, graphics API agnostic, there is always Ogre3D. You want to use Python, no problem you can create you game using pyOgre. Or even Ruby yes there is a ruby Ogre project. And of course yes you can use Ogre in Java now with Ogre4j. And of course there is a dot net wrapper MOGRE.

Take the wheel:
There are of course a ton of 3D engines, game engines, toy graphics apis, and anything else you could possible conjure into your mind. Check out DevMaster's 3D engine list.

And there is always Google. Enjoy!

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