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O'Reilly Network: Crystal Space: 3D for Free

May 20, 2000, 16:07 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Howard Wen)

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"If you want to create your own 3D graphics game, you need to have a 3D graphics engine to build it on. Traditionally, your choices were limited to either programming your own graphics engine from scratch or paying a licensing fee to use another company's -- a price which typically starts out at around $100,000. But if you don't have the programming skill or money to burn, there has been a third, though relatively unknown, alternative for a while now: Crystal Space, an open-source 3D graphics engine that was created by 30-year-old Belgian programmer Jorrit Tyberghein."

"As with most open-source projects, Crystal Space definitely wants and needs more programmers to contribute to its cause. At the moment Tyberghein himself is looking for people who are very skilled at programming graphic engine internals and can also think in terms of algorithms -- people who can essentially help out with perfecting the engine itself. "It is still very fundamental work that is happening in the engine," he says. "I have lots of people helping on the other parts of Crystal Space (i.e., OpenGL and Direct3D programming, Windows and Linux porting) but very few people are capable of helping me with the engine."

"So could Crystal Space, or any open-source 3D graphics engine, become as widely used as the commercial engines? Tyberghein expresses some doubts. "If you license the Quake 3 engine, then you're sure to get a quality product that will work regardless. So if you want technical support, you should NOT use a free engine," he says. "However, if you feel like you can cope with the lack of support or if funding is a problem (which is the case for many people), then an open-source engine is for you."

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