Cafu Engine

Engine default


Carsten Fuchs Software

Not specified


Supported Platforms:
Windows, Linux

Languages Written In:

Languages Supported:

Graphics APIs:

  (10 reviews)

00000000000000000000000000000000 Carsten

Cafu Engine is an all-purpose, modern 3D graphics engine. It can be used to create a variety of 3D applications, including games, simulations, and training and architectural software.

Supported Features


  • Object-Oriented Design
  • Plug-in Architecture
  • Save/Load System
  • Resource management for efficient sharing of common textures, models, data, …
  • "PreCaching" of resources for stutter-free animations
  • Well designed and documented C++ source code
  • Support for very large indoor and outdoor maps
  • New file system that virtualizes all file access
  • Fixed-function
  • Render-to-Texture
  • Fonts


  • Per-vertex
  • Per-pixel
  • Lightmapping
  • Radiosity
  • Gloss maps
  • Combines lightMaps with dynamic lighting effects!
  • Radiosity-based, physically correct lighting
  • Dynamic, shader-driven, per-pixel lighting for both worlds and models
  • Spherical Harmonic Lighting


  • Shadow Volume Stencil buffer shadow volumes (everything casts shadows on everything!)


  • Basic
  • Multi-texturing
  • Bumpmapping
  • Mipmapping
  • Naturally aligned textures
  • BMP, TGA, PNG and WAD file formats for all textures
  • MipMap application and linear filtering for both minification and magnification
  • Transparency (for glass, water, fences, grates, …)
  • Support for diffuse-, normal-, bump-, specular-, and luminance-maps
  • Shader-driven, multi-textured or 2-pass LightMap rendering


  • Vertex
  • Pixel Support for ATI and NVidia programmable GPUs and shaders


  • Mesh Loading

Scene Management

  • General
  • BSP
  • Portals
  • Occlusion Culling
  • PVS
  • LOD
  • BSP, PVS and Portal-based rendering
  • Static Detail Models for adding a rich and immersing amount of detail to the worlds


  • Skeletal Animation
  • Animation Blending
  • Can hierarchically combine sub- and super-models
  • Handles the rendering of the Static Detail Models


  • Rendering
  • CLOD
  • Implements the SOAR algorithm
  • Provides continuous-level-of-detail, permitting very large out-door scenes
  • Employs geo-morphing for perfectly smooth transitions between levels of detail
  • View-frustrum culling yields an optimal terrain approximation
  • No restriction in combining terrains with other elements of Ca3DE worlds
  • Uses multi-texturing to combine a base texture, a lightmap and an optional detail-texture for rendering


  • Basic Physics
  • Collision Detection
  • Natural player movement
  • 6 degrees of freedom
  • Acceleration, Friction, Gravity, Water, Ladders


  • Client-Server
  • Optimized for minimum bandwidth requirements
  • Integrated tightly into Cafu
  • Full client prediction (for movement, events, and weapons)
  • Delta compression for network packets


  • 2D Sound
  • 3D Sound
  • Employs FMOD
  • 3D stereo sounds and droppler effects
  • Can play MP3 and ogg-vorbis music files

Tools & Editors

  • Cafu World Editor
  • Smooth-Group support even for world brushes, easily controlled in the map editor.
  • CaBSP: builds BSP trees, CaPVS: does the pre-calculations, CaLight: performs lightmap calculations


New Lua-scripted GUI system that can also be used on in-game 3D "world" panels

Special Effects

  • Environment Mapping
  • Particle System
  • Cube-mapped skies (environment maps)
  • Particle Effect Engine (for explosions, smoke, fog, rain, snow, blood, …)


License Name Price in $US Source Code Included?
GPL Free Yes
Proprietary Unspecified Yes
The Cafu commercial license is for developers who want to modify the source code without being required to publish their modifications according to the GPL.

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Showing 1-10 of 10

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Great for Indie developers

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Taurustar Feb 02, 2011 at 02:57

Well I must to say that Cafu is the only engine that really I wanted to use since I know its existence... When I discover it I said "look like Id Tech 4" and well I still having that opinion... Cafu is really easy for to compile, use and modify, with a great documentation in the CAFU webpage with the support of its creator Carsten Fuchs...

Cafu looks one of the most featured solution for independent video game developers who wants make some games with a open source license (GPL) and if you want to use it for a commercial project Carsten gives you a deal for the license and you can still using it without any problems.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

a good engine.

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 jngl Feb 13, 2010 at 09:44

it is a good 3D engine that deserves to be better known. the linux version is stable but the version that is pre-compile for linux i686 and windows but not for amd64. the better it is open source.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Surprised :)

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 MatthiasG_ Mar 13, 2009 at 14:10

Hello everybody!

I was searching for a easy way to make 3D - Applications (especially Games), and what I found was Ca3DE. I've read about it in the c't, a famous computer-magazine in Germany. So, I've tried it and was surprised about the great features, that Ca3DE offers you.

So I've installed the whole Engine and planned my first map with the online-tutorials. It was very easy and soon I've made my dirst Multiplayer-Map!

What I liked about rendering the maps was, that the programm is searching for "holes" in your map, so it is easier to make a Map without bugs.

Then I've experimented with light or other weapons than a normal pistol. It was very easy to place them, but it was also very realistic!

It's great!

But if you don't want to make games: I've also made my house in 3D! With all details...
And also you can place GUIs in your game, like a computer-Desk or a button to switch light on or off...

And that was not the whole story:
I've made a big terrain eith CaWE (the Map-Editor) with trees, caves, houses, etc. It's all possible!

And If you know, how to program with C++, you can make easy your own simulations or apllications in 3D!

There are more features, than I've told about...

I'm very surprised, that it's so easy to make 3D-Games with one engine!

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Best for Beginner

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 peacefan Nov 19, 2008 at 14:13

Hi, I'm a beginner Graphic Designer. So far this is the first graphic engine that I come across, although there are many other graphic engine and world editor available in the market and free, Carsten 3D engine prove to be the best graphic engine for beginner.

For me the best quality in this graphic engine is the world editor doesn't require user to get the newest graphic card on the market in order for user to use it, I myself use a laptop that is bought in mid 2006, and the graphic engine work remarkably well with my laptop.

I'm still an amateur and still learning many stuff about graphic design, but for me this engine have given me the the chance to learn and sharpen my skill.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Very fast Engine for all operating systems

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Nexus Nov 13, 2008 at 16:38

The Engine is very very fast and stable.
You can use them on Win,Linux and OS-X Systems with opengl or directx.
The online Support from ca3d ist perfect!

Ca3d just need a improved World Editor.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Moving ahead fast! Dont miss out.

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 ScottS Sep 09, 2008 at 14:17

I've been following the development of Ca3d for a few years now and I have seen it grow from a simple tech demo into a nicely maturing piece of technology. Development is coming along quickly and very smoothly with more useful features each release as well as stability and performance increases.

Some of the stand out features are:

The heighmap based terrain editor is quite simple to use, it supports 16 bit greyscale images and has a useful tool for creating roads.

Lighting: Radiosity based lightmaps combined with normal maps look excellent. The normal maps and specularity don't lose their definition.

Per-Pixel dynamic lights and shadows combine seamlessly with the lightmaps.

Familiar tools and workflow: If you have made content for Half-life or quake engine games then you will be instantly familiar with the level editor.

Runs on windows and Linux.

LUA Scripting for entities and interactive GUI's.

Excellent price for full source code! Check the website. Its a pretty good deal.

"The license does never expire and can be used for producing an unlimited number of titles. "

Some of the cons:
There are a few things that haven't been implemented YET, but are planned and should come in the future, they are as follows:

Needs more shaders right out of the box. Just things like Parallax, reflection and refraction, different types of specular falloff etc etc.

Decent terrain texturing, something like texture splatting, right now you have one large texture with a detail map tiled through it.

Editor needs a few more work flow enhancements.

Website needs a few more tutorials and documentation.

Particle system is all handled in C++, there needs to be a generic system easily configurable in the editor (For the basics)

I highly recommend any serious Indy developer check out Ca3d. Its got great potential and will only get better

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Great engine

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Cipher Aug 20, 2008 at 07:28

Hi everybody,

I work with this engine for some time now and I have to say I am surprised that this engine isn't more popular since it provides such a rich set of features.

Based on the existing DeathMatch MOD (that comes open source with the engine) you can easily start to assess the engine by creating a map and testing the SDK shipped with Ca3DE.
The world editor has an intuitive interface and even comes with its own built in terrain editor. Other planned features are an interactive GUI editor to create game menus as well as menus displayed in the game world and built in plant creation (similar to SpeedTree I think).

To really get down and dirty with the engine and make your own game you have to create your own "Mod" for it. To do this some C++ programming is needed (hence the 3 stars in ease of use, but hey this is an engine not Click and Play ;) ). Again the open source DeathMatch code provides all the information you need to get started.
Your game nicely integrates into the world editor as all custom objects are entities that can be placed in the world.
As the engine is fully scriptable through Lua scripts you can implement the behavior of your entities through scripts without hardcoding everything.

On of the things I like about Ca3DE is the fact that it always provides a fallback solution for older systems, so even on systems that haven't the latest 3D hardware this engine will still run with great performance (although some eye candy will be missing ;) ).

Another great thing is that you can develop even commercial projects with the free edition of Ca3DE as long as the price of your product doesn't exceed 10$.
A great way for all indies to develop their first project and sell it over the web. This certainly will get your name known in the industry and all you have to spend is long nights of programming :D.

All in all you should just try this engine out. If you have problems you can always write to the forums and you will get an answer (of the engines lead programmer) within the day. Hope to see you there :)

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

State of the Art Lighting

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Dunecat Aug 17, 2008 at 10:57

First i was really impressed, what is possible with an Engine, which is Open Source. You really get Everything, from the Tools you need for Game Design up to a very complex Mapping Tool.
I do Mapping for quite some Time now and i have to say, that the delivered Mapping tool is very good for a free Tool. For Example the Possibility of doing very large indoor and outdoor Areas is quite impressive. The only Engine i remember capable of doing this is the Cry Engine 1 and 2. And these Engines are not for free!!! Even if you don't know much about different Editorsystems, you get all the Help you need inside the Forums or Support Section of the Ca3De Page.
What really impresses me is the big bunch of Features which are delivered with this Enginesystem. There is Multiplayer Support, Crossplattform Compatiblity and and and... You have to read all the stuff for yourself on the Page, it is quite huge :) So if you planing a noncommercial Mod or something like that, i suggest: Try this System :)

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Excellent Engine, Feature Rich with a complete toolset

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 minosdis Aug 13, 2008 at 23:06

Ca3D is essentially a complete game. Everything from a 3d engine to scripting, including network and sound is included. You really don't need to worry about adding features here, as Ca3D is based apon some of the best technology around.

Ease of Use:
A very well developed and easy to use toolset is included that makes developing (or importing) content a snap. Game code is written in C++, so programming experience is neccessary to some extent. Entities can be modified and created in some aspects with Lua scripts.

Stability and Performance:
This is one area in which Ca3D really shines. Despite having so many features, it is extremely stable. It runs out of the box, and doesn't require hacks to get it working. As for performance, because its built apon such solid technology, the engine is very efficient and scalable.

Another excellent aspect of Ca3D is the development team. They are very nice, and quick to respond with solutions to any problems you may have. One thing I would like to see more of is community involvment. There doesn't seem to be a huge amount of people working with Ca3d at the moment (the number is steadily increasing, however). Despite this, the wiki is up to date, accurate and generally thorough for beginner topics.

On a side note, its worth mentioning one distinct difference with Ca3D. The engine is contained in an executable, and the game code is the library. This is a distinct difference from engines like Irrlicht, Ogre, etc, where you would write code calling engine functions. Instead, with Ca3D the framework is already done (and very well, I might add), so you're basically only required to write code for things like entities, weapons, etc. This has upsides and downsides. For instance, writing a framework is probably the hardest part of writing a game, and most often the place indie developers get stuck and give up. However, when the game code is a library, it can be difficult to tell what options you have, and where certain functionality lies. Overall, Ca3D is an excellent starting point for anyone making a generally traditional 3D game.

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  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 TatMei Feb 11, 2006 at 08:26


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Last edited May 16, 2012 at 00:07