Tuesday, January 25

A New Engine

I am between projects at the moment, in a phase of experimentation. One thing I've wanted to do is construct a good testbed engine for experiments. However an entire engine is a major undertaking - three months to get the basics down pat. A third party engine always takes time to learn, though. There's nothing to replace the familiarity of something you coded yourself.

It occured to me that there is a third alternative. Bricolage - to assemble an engine or as much as possible of an engine from the multitude of FOSS libraries that are available. Such would be in accord with the UNIX philosophy: to have small programs or tools that do one thing well, and arrange it so that the sum of the parts are greater than the whole. This should give me a platform for experimentation in a much faster time than full self-assembly, but have the advantage of familiarity that comes with self-designed API's.

With no further ado, I introduce the Bricolage engine. I will blog about each component as I add it. Eventually it should be a reasonably featured engine that works with mingw on Windows and is ready for porting to other platforms. To quote Wikipedia:

Bricolage is a term used in several disciplines, among them the visual arts
and literature, to refer to the construction or creation of a work from a
diverse range of things that happen to be available, or a work created by
such a process. The term is borrowed from the French word bricolage, from
the verb bricoler, the core meaning in French being, "fiddle, tinker" and,
by extension, "to make creative and resourceful use of whatever materials
are at hand (regardless of their original purpose)"

My main goal is portability. I need to be able to support mutiple renderers and platforms if at all possible. This pretty much limits me to gcc as a compiler and OpenGL (and it's junior cousin, OpenGLES) as a rendering API. I chose SCons as a build tool, mainly for reasons of tast. It's as portable as Python is and I know it and Python reasonably well. CMake or autotools are equally valid choices.