SUper Easy to Use 3D Engine (Su3De) – Project Start

Suede 3D Engine

So, I have a need for a VERY simple to use 3D engine for embedded systems and I have decided, after months of vacillating on the issue, to write one. It will be Open Source and the pieces will be published here as well as Source Forge. The engine will sit on top of three 3D architectures initially. OpenGL ES 1.1, OpenGL ES 2.0 and the Fujitsu V03 graphics access library for the Fujitsu Jade “MB86R01″ SoC. It will be developed entirely in ANSI ‘C’ and the goal is to make it abstract enough that it can move to other platforms like Direct3D with ease – but we will see.

First, the name. Every project must have a name. This one is “Su3De” which is an extremely FORCED acronym based on the phrase “Super Easy to Use 3D Engine”. It will, of course, be pronounced “Suede” and I will not use a cow for a logo…although cool cow textures might be sprinkled throughout some of the code samples…just because.  Who wouldn’t love a cow textured tea pot? Don’t judge.

What will make this 3D engine “easy to use”? The API. The plan is to make it as simple as possible. This means a lot of work will be done underneath the API to simplify things. Most of the work will be focused on two main categories.

Loading Objects
Transforming Objects

The plan is to have simple and obvious API calls like Load3DObject(), Rotate3DObject(), Translate3DObject(), Scale3DObject(), etc. Other API functions will be related to things like render contexts and housekeeping.

One of the “tricks” in developing Su3De is going to be in compositing 2D and 3D images together to form a scene. The goal is to do this efficiently and determine a way to do it so that you aren’t rendering the entire scene for every frame. I plan to rethink the way 3D engines work and will likely be bucking convention in several key areas – especially in the area of “Z” ordering – which is the “depth” component of the objects that are being rendered.

Initially the 3D object file format that will be supported by Su3De will be .OBJ files. After that, we will see where it goes. I also plan to support 2D file formats starting with .PNG – both for 2D “objects” as well as 3D object textures. 2D objects will be loaded and rendered as two polygons forming a square with the .PNG as the texture map.

There are many features in the Fujitsu V03 graphics access library that I will want to take advantage of, like using live video as a texture and the layering features of the display controller. These features are extremely useful – but aren’t present in the standard OpenGL APIs…so I will have to balance these somehow.

At any rate, welcome aboard. I hope you find the project interesting. Feel free to comment and tell me what you are thinking as I move forward. It is likely that I will barge forward and run straight into a brick wall and have to back up and change course from time to time, so be prepared for that. It should be fun… See you in Su3De! First “coding” post should be next week sometime. I am a big fan of the Processing Environment and will be using it to “prototype” the code and the initial APIs. Please download it and follow along! See you next week!!!!

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