3D Rendering Library
Mesa is a free OpenGL work-a-like. While not a licensed OpenGL implementation, Mesa is tested against SGI's OpengGL conformance tests. Includes GLUT (GL Utilities Toolkit)
Game SDK (3D/sound/networking)
Steve's Portable Game Library (plib) is a collection of librarieswhich provide some basic portable services for game development.Includes a scene graph library, a portable OpenGL/GLUT GUIinterface toolkit, OpenGL font rendering and a portable low latency sound/music library.
Portable Network Graphics Library
PNG is a lossless image compression format that is nowfairly widely supported by a variety of applications. It'spreferable to GIF for freedom from patent issues. libpng is a freely available library which reads, writes and manipulates PNG format images.
"zlib is designed to be a free, general-purpose, legally unencumbered -- that is, not covered by any patents -- lossless data-compression library for use on virtually any computer hardware and operating system. The zlib data format is itself portable across platforms." zlib is used by libpng for compressing the image files.
Embeddable Scripting Language
"Python is an interpreted, interactive, object-oriented programming language. It is often compared to Tcl, Perl, Scheme or Java." Python easily embeds in and interacts with C and C++ programs. The language is easy to learn, powerful, extensible and supported by a broad range of platforms.
Unix Emulation for Windows
The Cygwin tools are ports of the popular GNU development tools and utilities for Windows 95, 98, and NT. They function by using the Cygwin library which provides a UNIX-like API on top of the Win32 API. If there is ever any Windows port of Big Iron, this is the most likely path.
OpenGL User Interface Library
"GLUI is a GLUT-based C++ user interface library which provides controls such as buttons, checkboxes, radio buttons, and spinners to OpenGL applications. It is window-system independent, relying on GLUT to handle all system-dependent issues, such as window and mouse management."
The GNU Compiler Suite, including C, C++ and others. GCC is omnipresent in free Unices, although the latest version may not be. Ports for other OS's (such as Windows and DOS) exist. GCC is not the most ANSI-compliant compiler in the world so some care has to be taken to write portable code with it.
Unix Build System
autoconf, automake, aclocal and autoheader form the suite of tools that produce the familiar "configure && make && make install" GNU-style source tarball distributions. They produce a
configure shell script that analyzes the end user system, allows customized compilation and automatically produces makefiles.
- Data Display Debugger
GUI Frontend for GCC Debugger (and others)
The Data Display Debugger (DDD) is a very powerful and intuitive graphical front end for debuggers such as GDB (included with the GCC distribution) It has some truly nifty data display and manipulation functionality. If you have a horror of command line debuggers, DDD is for you :)
- The GIMP
2D Graphics Editor
The GNU Image Manipulation Program is the ultimate Linux 2D graphics program. Similiar in functionality to Photoshop, but completely free. The graphics used on this website (as well as most of the 2D graphics in Big Iron itself) were produced with the GIMP.
- MilkShape 3D
MilkShape 3D is a shareware 3D modelling an animation tool that started life as HalfLife model editor, but can now read and write a plethora of other formats. Supportes UV-mapping (skinning), skeletel animation and is very easy to use. Unlike most other shareware 3D modellers, you can actually save for the first 30 days -- letting you get a decent feel for the program before buying. For only $20 US, it's an absolute steal.
Blender is a fully functional freeware 3D modelling and animation package. It's proprietary and the interface is somewhat unintuitive, but there are plenty of tutorials available on the web site and there aren't really any other freely available tools for Linux with the same functionality.
- Persistence of Vision
The Persistence of Vision Raytracer is a high-quality, totally free tool for creating stunning three-dimensional graphics. It is available in official versions for Windows 95/98/NT, DOS, the Macintosh, i86 Linux, SunOS, and Amiga. The source code is available for those wanting to do their own ports.
Terragen is a terrain generator and renderer that produces some really fantastic looking images. This shareware program can generate some very realistic looking skies, terrain and water.
Terraform is an open source interactive height field generation and manipulation program, giving you the ability to generate random terrain and transform it. Terraform runs under Linux and other UNIX systems under the X11 Windowing system. It uses the Gtk+ widget set and thus has a (more or less) consistent graphical user interface which doesn't require use of the command line.
- World Machine
World Machine is a GUI-based heightfield generator for Windows that
has a nifty visual approach to constructing the heightfields. The
generation process is represented as a pipeline of operations, and you
can easily modify, add or remove steps in the pipeline and instantly
see the results.
Sound Sample Editor
Audacity is a program that lets you manipulate digital audio waveforms. In addition to letting you record sounds directly from within the program, it imports many sound file formats, including WAV, AIFF, AU, IRCAM, MP3, and Ogg Vorbis. It supports all common editing operations such as Cut, Copy, and Paste, plus it will mix tracks and let you apply plug-in effects to any part of a sound. It also has a built-in amplitude envelope editor, a customizable spectrogram mode and a frequency analysis window for audio analysis applications.
Xemacs an extremely powerful editting environment that has a plethora of plug-in packages for doing just about any thing you can imagine. Bit of a steep learning curve, but well worth the effort.
A powerful network aware version control system implemented on top of RCS which supports checkpointing, branching, history, rollback and all the other things you'd expect from a modern version control solution. (comes standard with most Linux distributions). Developer access to the Big Iron source tree is through CVS. Check out the Source Forge Site Documenation
for info on how to set it up.
3D RTS Game
CarrierSim is a newly started project to recreate the classic Amiga game 'Carrier Command'. Players control a carrier with numerous systems and sub-vehicles and compete with the computer (or each other) for control of a set of islands in real time. The project is still in the very early stages.
3D Multi-Player Game Framework
"Geome (GEOgraphical Military Environment) is a collaborative free software project to build a reusable 3D battlefield framework." The project is still early in development but looks promising.
- Crystal Space
"Crystal Space is a free (LGPL) and portable 3D engine written in C++." It has a ton of features, a really cool architecture and portability to a number of platforms, although some features are still pretty developmental.
- Abstracted C&C
Real Time Strategy Game Engine
"An RTS engine embodying the genre under a flexible enough model to accomodate diverse variations on the 'Command & Conquer' theme." Still in the early development stages, but has produced some engine and battleset work.
- Source Forge
Open Source Project Hosting
VA Linux, through Source Forge, provides an utterly free and totally cool service for the Open Source development community. SF provides web page hosting, version control, bug tracking, mailing lists, web-based forums, job posting and a variety of other services to developers. Big Iron is completely hosted on Source Forge.