A brand new hammer11 Dec 2005 ODE is an Open Dynamics Engine. You'd think that it would only do physics and the like, and you would be correct! However, when you install from source, you'll see that it comes with a couple of examples which all use an included drawstuff library. This library renders everything in OpenGL so you have something to drool at.
At first I was thinking of using the drawstuff library for my car simulator (because everything is rendered automagically and uses shadows oooh :) ), but when I looked at the source I noticed its not really what I need. It has only the features required to draw stuff from ODE, and it comes with a bunch of mouse-button bindings (to change camera position, orientation, enable/disable textures, shadows, etc) that I don't like. To change them would require me to change the drawstuff library, and I wouldn't want to dig into that.
I went on a google-expedition and I found Ogre3D
Ogre3D is an object oriented graphics engine. It has everything I would ever need: OpenGL and Direct3D support, its portable to Windows, it can load (or convert from) several 3D data formats, it has skeletal animation, reflection, refraction, transparancy, particle engines (for smoke etc), BSP, octrees, ...
And that's just what I can remember.
In short, I think I might have found a new hammer to work on all my 3D graphics projects.
I'm running Debian testing (or I was), and the Ogre libraries aren't in the apt repositories yet. They are in unstable though. So I upgraded everything to unstable ;)
The samples were not included in the Debian repository (due to licensing issues???) so I was forced to compile from source...
It took me 7 hours to get it working!
Luckily, the nice people from #ogre3d on irc.freenode.net were very helpful. I'm glad to see that Ogre3D has such good online support. It's not just the IRC channel, but also their entire site. They have a wiki with tutorials, a forum and they link to several projects building on Ogre3D.
The creator of Ogre3D is even on the IRC channel! I spoke to him without realising who he was.
Did I already mention I got my VISA card ? I put it to good use yesterday and bought 2 books on Amazon: Parkinson's Law by C.N. Parkinson and The Peter Principle from Laurence J. Peter.
I also made myself a wishlist and put all the Game Programming Gems books on it, so you people have a hint when it's my birthday ;)
To avoid having to read all the amazon.com scams that I receive in my mailbox, I created a special mail-address, just for my account. This could be a handy tip for everyone wanting to register to Amazon or PayPal or whatever.