For those of you out there who love to write code in Python and are interested in developing some game code, you’ll love this: Panda3D. Taken from their website, this quote explains exactly what Panda3D is:
Panda3D is a 3D engine: a library of subroutines for 3D rendering and game development.
The nice thing about Panda3D is that it’s pretty limitless in what you can actually do with it. The underlying core is very generic and is actually pretty much all written in C++ but the interface is developed so that you can access everything from Python.
Unlike Ogre, which is great for what it’s meant for, Panda3D has a lot more built in for writing games rather than just being a 3D engine. Panda3D’s versatility actually allows you the flexibility to use what other engines you may want to include, because you’re not “locked in” to whatever they decide you have to use. Not everything is done for in Panda3D, you have to do a lot of things yourself, like with any real gaming engine but Panda3D just lets you do it the way YOU want to.
Panda3D, from what I know, started with Disney and Carnegie Mellon University and has developed it’s way forward from there. Disney apparently still uses Panda3D often, for games such as Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean Online. Obviously, if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for you.
The graphics are pretty much only limited to what you develop. A lot of it relies on your coding standards as well as the model’s and meshes you create. They have some basic free models for you to develop with, and apparently some people actually create free models to use for games if you’re interested in that.
With Panda3D, you get up and running almost instantly so you can get started coding your game rather than coding the engine to run it. Anyone who has developed any portion of a game knows that using a game engine is a double edged sword sometimes. In one case, you don’t get the flexibility you simply need sometimes. On the other hand, who wants to spend the time to write an entire game engine before writing the actual game itself? Panda3D gives you a great foundation to extend it’s game engine, therefore cutting out a huge amount of developing time.
Panda3D is great for large or small games. Even if you’ve never developed any game code at all, I’d suggest it as a great resource to get started with. But for those of you who are experienced, check it out and see how well it works for what you are attempting to do. Taking time to evaluate a possible beneficial solution has never been a bad thing. Find out more here: Panda3D 🙂
I’ll leave you with this picture from a game that is currently being developed with Panda3D. Check the website for in game screen shots: Second Antarean War