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Gaming, OpenGL and SDL

This post will try to share my love for gaming and few things about two gaming libraries which free software uses in gaming.

At the very outset, lemme disclose I have been a highly addicted/slaved being to gaming since an early age (around 10 years of age or so). Over the years I have to come love gaming both as an activity as well as a fun and yet serious subculture to contend with. I have been a huge fan of RPG’s and village simulator/god/social simulation games as well. I also do attempt to follow some of the activities revolving around the free software gaming libraries which are out there.

One of the libraries I have been keeping an eye out is OpenGL . While I would not go into the details of the library itself as I’m no programmer I did discover a nice article doing a comparative analysis between OpenGL and DirectX which makes for interesting read. Incidentally the developers are also using OpenGL to make their games and are trying to make innovative FOSS games with innovative funding ideas for the same. The point though is that while there might be some biases which creep in (voluntarily or involuntarily) while you are making a game they have also staked their livelihoods on the engine doing them good.

One of the other interesting libraries which I have also been following for quite sometime is libsdl which itself has a large notable lineage of being used in games. What has been cautiously enthusing me this year are the GSOC projects for libsdl . One project in particular is of interest to me, the XRender support project. If it does fructify it should give quite a boost to all the games using libsdl and specially for mobile device distributions such as gamerunner. This is by no means to suggest that the other GSOC projects are any less worthy of praise or anything like that. Its just some person likes something, somebody likes something else.

What has also been interesting is the change in licensing norms . While those licensing norms haven’t been worked out it seems, it would be interesting to see what advantages (or not) such a licensing gives. Also it would be interesting to see how many commercial games use it. One of the dangers obviously is something like the Koha issue and perhaps the developers might be trying to use the dual licensing technique to forestall similar issues. I just don’t know. Another niggling issue I saw is that libsdl doesn’t have a feature list or task list cut out for libsdl 1.3 release so people have a clear sense of roadmap, like they do say in trac’s roadmap.

At the very end, there is an interesting businessworld article on the whole genre of gaming as a business which was interesting to note. Also what has been interesting to know is the IIT Delhi gaming development cell which is also focusing on these aspects. There is also an Gamedev meet happening in Delhi this month itself.

So in conclusion, while we stand on the brisk of better graphic and gaming libraries (and going forward better integration of these features in graphic card and embedded devices) great things could be done, just need a push. We certainly are living in interesting times.

Update 19/05/10 :- I received an e-mail. The inability of not being a programmer makes me do bloopers like this or atleast that’s the excuse I’m sticking with.

btw, opengl (just like directx) is not a library but a api, the
difference being that a library is a set of functions that provide a
way for a application to achieve a task which may or may not involve
accessing underlying system resources.

a api (application programmers interface) otoh is a set of functions
that let a application access underlying system resources.

sdl, otoh is a library built as a layer above open gl, but which
theoretically could be re-implemented to use a different underlying
api on a platform where opengl is not available.

Quote : Nalin Savara

Also while jotting down the post forgot to also put up the event icgc . What would have also been worth mentioning would have been the rise of gameplexes and the way the ADAG group has pushing it.

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