I started to develop Irrlicht as small Direct3D framework in my spare time when I was working for an Austrian game development company 4 years ago. We were creating only 2D games there and I had become interested in hardware accelerated 3d graphics, so it was a nice hobby project. After I posted a screenshot of it on the flipcode.com IOTD (rest in peace) together with a small demo, I received a lot of positive feedback and thought about making the code open source.
Now, 4 years later, a lot has changed. There have been nearly 20 releases until now, we've got a huge community of more than 3000 registered forum users, Irrlicht now consists of maybe more than 400 classes, runs on several operation systems and platforms and has a lot of impressive features. But still it is a small, compact and easy to use framework for creating realtime 3D applications. And maybe this is why it has become one of the most popular open source 3D engines today. Scary somehow. If you take a look into a forum today and open a thread where someone is asking for recommendations for a 3d engine to create a game or similar, you can almost be sure that someone will name Irrlicht as possible candidate. And that's really exciting. When I started Irrlicht I never thought it would become that successful.
Unfortunately, as Irrlicht is only a hobby project, and the team members including me have a job and a private life, we are sometimes not able to fulfill all feature requests of the huge community. And that's a bit sad; I wished the day had 48 hours. Sometimes it is not even possible to merge code with some users code contribution, or to include one of the various bug fixes. Of course the reasons for this are not solely lack of time, but I am also trying not to break compatibility to previous versions. And here comes Irrlicht 1.0. It's just a point where we can say that's it, from here we can start and head towards a new, better version of Irrlicht, whatever it will look like. (Presumably it will be something fitting better the new 3D technologies with buzzwords like shader driven architecture, D3D10 hardware and similar on its feature list.) And we could still maintain and improve the Irrlicht 1.0 branch. Maybe this is also a good time to implement all those user contributions and patches (e.g. here). Let's see, I think we are looking into an exciting future.
And no – it is definitely not too early to tag Irrlicht with a version numbered 1.0. Irrlicht has more features than lots of other products asserting that they are 1.0. The community and we've tested Irrlicht very intensive during the last years. Lots of small games and other neat projects using Irrlicht already have been released. Irrlicht is stable. There are no major bugs. Some things are still missing, right, for example some mesh importers don't produce 100% accurate results, but there exists almost always a simple workaround. Software is never finished, you can work on it forever. But sometime you'll have to stop and declare that you've achieved what you originally intended too. And I think I've done this now.
So, what will the future of Irrlicht look like? I have no idea, and no plan. As always. During the last weeks, I've started to create an editor for Irrlicht, and I think this will be a useful addition as soon as I implemented a XML based format for serializing the whole 3d scene. And then it might be a good idea to move to a subversion server, to add all those contributions, improve the material system, rewrite and clean up the character animation system, and add some of that neat stuff today's 3D hardware is able to do: Better realtime shadows, HDR, whatever comes into mind. Ahh, it will be fun. And I hope you'll have some too. And before this text gets too long and you are bored by my crappy English: A lot of thanks to the Irrlicht team and to all people for contributing code, patches and doing suggestions, and to all users. Please don't stop.
31 comments, already:
time to do something productive :D
[The Anaconda] - 19 04 06 - 22:00
Niko, you surprized me very much. I couldn’t expect such a turn of history of Irrlicht. Right now i don’t know how to react though…
puh - 19 04 06 - 22:40
Nice work! Congratulations!
Teun - 19 04 06 - 22:46
wow, that’s great! Irrlicht has been working perfectly and great for a long time already, understandable step you’ve taken.
zutuk - 19 04 06 - 22:47
noone - 19 04 06 - 23:57
Well, Niko, thanks to you. Keep it up!
And thanks for letting me peek into 1.0 before the official release.
matt - 20 04 06 - 02:52
This turned out to be good news. I looked at the changes.txt file before I read this and was like wow, but I like what you say about maintaining the 1.0 branch for backward compatibility. I hope I can contribute much much more to the progress in the future, I’ve had a blast doing it over the past year and a half with Irrlicht.
spintz () (link) - 20 04 06 - 04:28
Thank you for giving us so great engine! I am so excited to hear about the version 1.0.
hzj () - 20 04 06 - 05:04
Congratulations to Version 1.0!
Matthias Meyer () (link) - 20 04 06 - 07:52
excellent work! best wishes :)
dani - 20 04 06 - 08:10
Keep up the good work, Niko & company! I
andyZER0 () (link) - 20 04 06 - 10:32
Irrlicht rocks !!
Nej - 20 04 06 - 11:34
Rainer () (link) - 20 04 06 - 15:04
congrats on keeping going with the project for so long Its good to see people with dedication, even if I can’t do it
John (link) - 20 04 06 - 18:10
It’s nice to have a 1.0 version number – keep up your excellent work! ...and congratulations!
[Duncan Mac Leod] (link) - 20 04 06 - 20:26
Glad to see my first home in 3d graphics, and the father of all my experiences has finally reached the big 1.0 :P
Robomaniac - 20 04 06 - 20:26
keep it up
mirko - 21 04 06 - 01:36
I weep a thousand tears of joy. The day has finally arrived for the mightly version 1.0 release!
lug - 21 04 06 - 05:02
Daniel Azkona () - 21 04 06 - 08:33
Why are you guys sitting here typing comments? Get out and use 1.0!!!! Thanks, niko, Irrlicht rocks!!! anyone else here for the creation of an irrlicht t-shirt? hehe
RabidLockerGnome () - 21 04 06 - 18:49
I’m werry happy to say, that irrlicht is the most enjoyable engine in the open-source community today.
sebmel85 () - 21 04 06 - 19:08
I want also say thank you for bringing such a nice and good engine to us, THANKS A LOT!!!
Stefan Branske - 21 04 06 - 19:28
Isgalvotas - 21 04 06 - 22:00
wow, niko! your doin a great work :) i love that this project is european and so you can see that not the USA is dominating this market :)
Halan () - 22 04 06 - 19:25
cmoibenlepro - 22 04 06 - 21:55
yeehaw! us stupid americans (i’m not being sarcastic) love it that we don’t need to pay $10,000 for one of the best engine out there! GO NIKO
rooly () - 23 04 06 - 03:07
You should incorporate Spintz’s fixes to the OpenGL driver for removing the toColor thingy.
Mike - 23 04 06 - 03:27
Thanks for Your all great work. Good luck Niko.
halun () - 23 04 06 - 12:25
Great thing, niko. Thank you for dedicating that much of your personal time/life to something you don’t get RL revenue from. I came to Irrlicht after having tested quite a few engines, including non-free ones. Well, and still sticking here
As 1.0 is a milestone somehow, I feel free to bring up a certain topic again. I know this has been discussed in the past already. Well, anyway.
I still dream about a merger of the Irrlicht branches (Spintz, LF, Original) where all those highly skilled people concentrate on one version, creating an engine the world has never seen before. IMHO, this would be an option to consider for the “time past 1.0”.
Just my 2 cents.
miko () (link) - 23 04 06 - 12:54
1.0 A milestone….........? Hey u not oonly hav come to that position…. u were to maintain the engine at No.1 position frm the time of its birth itself…
East or West Irrlicht is the best!
jitu () - 26 04 06 - 09:05
Great job ,niko, I’ll sacrofice a cow for you now :P
Hitchhiker - 30 04 06 - 23:05