Mac game developers looking for more 3D tools may want to turn their attention to Crystal Space. Crystal Space is an open source 3D game development kit that is available for a variety of computing platforms including Mac OS. The software recently got an update to version 0.18r001.
Written in C++, the engine supports various abilities, like six degrees of motion, colored lighting, mipmapping, portals, mirrors, alpha transparency, reflective surfaces, 3D sprites (using either frame-based or skeletal animation), procedural textures, radiosity, particle systems and much more. The software supports 8 – 32 bit color, software rendering, OpenGL and Glide, as well.
Changes to Crystal Space 0.18r001 include: 3D sprites, 2D sprites, and particle systems have been removed from the engine and are now available as plug-ins. This greatly improves modularity of the engine and it also allows external applications to define their own plug-ins. With the following release of CS this trend will continue as more and more of the engine will be placed in plug-ins (more on this later). CS supports hierarchical transformations using the plug-in objects above. Support for ‘regions’ in the engine. Using this new concept it will be easier to dynamically load and unload big worlds in memory. There is a new csfx library which contains standard procedural textures for fire, plasma, water, and a procedurally generated sky box. In addition it contains an animated 2D texture. In contrast with 0.17 release the Python plug-in is now actually working. Some work on fonts. There is a small font editor included and a utility to convert TrueType fonts to CS format. Sound has largely been rewritten and works fine now. CSWS (the CS Window System) has many new features like color schemes, themes, transparent windows, layout manager. New plug-in for playing AVI/MPEG videos on textures.
The Macintosh conversion of Crystal Space was done by Steve Israelson. Rob Bate currently maintains the Mac port, according to the online documentation, and Eric Sunshine ported Crystal Space to work on Mac OS X Server, as well.
Bear in mind that Crystal Space is still very much a beta effort. In fact, the software’s principle author, Jorrit Tyberghein, isn’t sure if the current version works with CodeWarrior, but that should stop enterprising programmers from giving it a try. After all, it’s distributed under the GNU LGPL (Library Public License); so you’re free to use the software.
Tyberghein says that the team’s goal now is to release a 1.0 version, hopefully about 3 months from now. In the interim, you may want to drop by
Crystal Space’s Web site and take a look at what’s going on.