Engine default


Nikolaus Gebhardt

Not specified


Supported Platforms:
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, Solaris, FreeBSD, Xbox

Languages Written In:
C/C++, C#, VB.NET

Languages Supported:
C/C++, C#, VB.NET

Graphics APIs:
OpenGL, DirectX, Software Renderer

  (61 reviews)

None (be one!)

The Irrlicht Engine is a cross-platform high performance real-time 3D engine written in C++. It is a powerful high-level API for creating complete 3D and 2D applications like games or scientific visualizations. It comes with documentation and integrates all the state-of-the-art features for visual representation like dynamic shadows, particle systems, character animation, indoor and outdoor technology, and collision detection. All this is accessible through a well designed C++ interface, which is easy to use.

Supported Features


  • Object-Oriented Design
  • Plug-in Architecture
  • Using C++ the engine is completely object-orientated yielding platform independence and graphics API abstraction
  • features a plugin-mechanism in that it supports external image and mesh loaders and provides a factory pattern support to enable automatic loading of those structures.
  • Integrated fast XML parser
  • Unicode support for easy localisation
  • Support for .ZIP files
  • Support for 64-bit
  • Joystick support included in Windows, Linux and OSX
  • Fixed-function
  • Render-to-Texture
  • Fonts
  • GUI
  • 2D drawing functions like alpha blending, color key based blitting, font drawing and mixing 3D with 2D graphics
  • Alpha blending for transparency
  • Transparent objects automatically managed
  • 2D GUI System with Buttons, Lists, Edit boxes, etc.
  • Environment Mapping
  • Billboarding
  • Particle System
  • Sky
  • Water
  • Fog
  • Sphere mapping
  • Realistic water surfaces
  • Customizeable Particle systems for snow, smoke, fire
  • Supports parallax mapping


  • Per-vertex
  • Per-pixel
  • Lightmapping
  • Supports dynamic lighting and light maps
  • Support bumpmapping / normalmaps
  • Supported through vertex and fragment programs as well as fixed function pipeline


  • Shadow Volume Dynamic shadows using the stencil buffer


  • Basic
  • Multi-texturing
  • Bumpmapping
  • Mipmapping
  • Basic texturing support with texture animation
  • Supported texture formats: BMP, JPG, PCX, PNG, PPM, PSD, TGA and WAL.
  • Save textures in BMP, JPG, PCX, PNG, PPM and TGA


  • Vertex
  • Pixel
  • High Level
  • Supports low level assembly vertex/pixel shaders and fragment/vertex programs as well as HLSL
  • Support for GLSL: ARB Vertex Programs, ARB Pixel Programs, HLSL, GLSL 100 & 110, VS1.1 - 3.0, PS1.1 - PS3.0


  • Mesh Loading
  • Supports 3DS, Milkshape, COLLADA, Maya, DeleD, DirectX .X, FSRad .oct, Cartography shop 4 .csm, Pulsar LMTools .lmts, My3DTools 3 .my3D, Quake 2 models
  • Supports native formats: Irrlicht Mesh (.irrMesh), Irrlicht Scene (.irr), Blitz Basic (.b3d), Alias Wavefront (.obj), Stereolithography (.stl), Lightwave (.lwo), Quake 3 (.md3, .bsp), Ogre (not animated)
  • Support mesh saving for Collada, IrrMesh, OBJ and STL formats
  • Exporters for common formats are available from third-party sources

Scene Management

  • General
  • BSP
  • Octrees
  • Easily extensible hierarchical scene graph
  • Mix indoor and outdoor scene seamlessly together
  • Supports picking,


  • Skeletal Animation
  • Morphing
  • Animation Blending
  • Meshes are linear interpolated from one frame to the next
  • Mesh is manipulated by animated joints
  • Load Quake 3 BSP Levels


  • Rendering
  • CLOD provides geo mipmapping with several LODs


  • Collision Detection Bounding box and triangle based collision detection and response

Tools & Editors

  • irrEdit: a free functional scene editor and lightmap generator
  • GUI Editor


License Name Price in $US Source Code Included?
ZLIB Free Yes

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Showing 51-61 of 61

0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Free Stuff is good

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 H4Games Nov 16, 2004 at 04:34

A free C++ engine is always good; But Irrlicht is the best one out there. I intergraded this into my In-Studio tool and it worked great. It’s well worth the small download and gives you good quality, for little to know experience.


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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful


  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 TKF15H Sep 25, 2004 at 18:08

Advantages: VERY easy to use, new projects can be set up quickly, very organized and uniform. One of the draw backs, (lack of shaders) has been taken care of in version 0.7. Yay!

Disadvantages: No terrain LOD (yet)
But since it's open source, you can add your own LOD support or anything else you might need.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

A great engine.

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 cmoibenlepro Aug 16, 2004 at 02:55

(sorry for my bad english)

Personally I use Irrlicht 3d Engine because it is very easy to use. My c++ knowledge only came from reading the book "c++ for dummies" and few projects I made in 2D with allegro. Anyway, I'm able to create a lot of great things very easily: only 20 lines of code and you have a working fps with a map, moving camera, etc.
Others things like collision, dynamic lightning or loading external files are also easy to do because there are a lot of good and complete tutorials.

While it's easy to use, Irrlicht is also quite powerfull and it has lot of interesting features.

in the coming version 0.7 there will be even more features with a new material system (including shaders) and .NET support so you can use other languages.

I also like it because it is portable, pretty stable and fast enough (but there still could be improvements in speed and some more optimizations...)

Irrlicht have also a big and dynamic community on a great and interesting forum.
There are also a lot of third party developers on IrrlichtNX so there is a lot of future for the Irrlicht Engine. :-D

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Irrlicht is damn nice

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 bal Aug 13, 2004 at 14:29

It's fast and very easy. It is my first 3D engine and I am learning a lot (3D graphics and C++) by working with it. It does miss some features (which Ogre has, that engine is still Irrlicht's big brother ;) ) but niko (Nikolaus Gebhardt) is working on v0.7 which will bring a new material system (shaders and such, hurray :) !) and other nice things. Also the community is great and very noob-friendly.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Engine of my choice

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 lxguy Aug 12, 2004 at 16:15

I'm using Irrlicht for my diploma work at university. Its fast, easy and powerful. The engine of my choice. (And I tested a lot.) I never had a problem with crashes etc, so stability seems to be ok. Support is excellent, because of the nice people in the forum.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

The best engine to get into game development

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 jonathanschmidt Aug 11, 2004 at 07:47

The two main features of Irrlicht are that it that easy to use and its use-it-for-ever-you-want-and-its-free licence.

Unlike in other engines you'll be able to create games and fast 3d applications from the start, without the need of undergoing a long learning process. Yet the engine is quite powerful, it has for example collision detection and response, cool 3d special effects and is very easy to extend.

In addition, you'll find a helpful community wich gives a lot of support.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Irrlicht IS powerful

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 soconne Aug 10, 2004 at 19:07

I find Irrlicht to be very powerful in the fact that it is the most modifiable and well constructed engine I've worked with. I think it does look as good as other engines, such as Ogre or Truevision or even Torque, the only difference is the textures or models used. Take any media content from any engine and use it in Irrlicht and you will produce the exact same results.

I personally implemented texture splatted terrain, geomipmapping, dot3 bump mapping, shadowmaps and many other graphics techniques with Irrlicht in a matter of no time. It is very easy to understand the structure of the engine and change one part of it without effecting the rest as a whole.

The only aspect of the engine I would criticize is perhaps the speed of Irrlicht's implementation of the Octree structure and collision. Other than that, everything else has met my needs thus far.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful

Great for learning to develop 3D applications

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Saigumi Aug 10, 2004 at 16:51

Irrlichts two strengths is its ease of use and its support.

While most of the support comes from the community and not the primary developer, that community is large, helpful, and active. Even basic Learn C++ questions are answered without flames and RTFM n00b.

Irrlichts scenengraph is easy to use, robust, and fast. Any type of game should be writable without any need to write or re-write your own scenegraph.

On the downside, Irrlicht is missing many advanced features, like shaders. Though since it is currently only on version 0.6, more advanced features should be expected.

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0 of 0 people found the following review helpful


  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 HUNT3R Aug 10, 2004 at 14:31

Irrlicht is very easy to use, well-documented, and very well designed. It is not as powerful or good-looking as commercial engines but it is free. The full source is included so you can easily modify or add on anything you want.

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful

average engine

  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Wannes Dec 29, 2006 at 15:30

I've tried 4 engines (Sdl, irrlicht, ogre and Panda3D) and well I was least happy about irrlicht
I initially chose it for its good 2D support (as opposed to ogre) but the importing of skeletal animations and working with them was really a pain in the *ss
good basic documentation, decent community
except for the animations no notable good or bad points ... average engine

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful


  by 00000000000000000000000000000000 Sh3ik Jun 11, 2005 at 23:24

You can forget Crystal Space and OGRE with their steep learning curves and their LGPL licenses, Irrlicht is by far the BEST 3D engine EVER! It has all the up-to-date features such as those in CS and OGRE and then some! You don't havto convert your 3D models into CS or OGRE format, Irrlicht supports just about all the major formats! Man, you just have to take a look at the features. Also this engine is LIGHTNING FAST! I think the real reason for this is it's clean, organised, and small code, which compiles into ONE .dll file with a SMALL file size! You WILL NOT BELIEVE THIS, but using the latest version of Dev-C++, and the latest Irrlicht SDK (0.10.0), I compiled the source code without ANY ERRORS WHATSOEVER! I just extracted the source, opened up the dev project file, and compiled, and BOOM! Its seriously that easy, check it out yourself! I can go on blabbering about how great it is. Even if you are a beginner C++ programmer (as in you are able to write and compile code) you can learn this FAST! I think this is enough blabbering. Please, do yourself a favor and DOWNLOAD IT NOW! Not to mention its i-dont-care-what-you-do-with-the-code license, you can just about do anything you want with it! Dont be bummed by the crappy models and levels (low poly count) in the SDK, Niko only did this to reduce the size of the SDK download. Take your own High-Poly models and levels and run it in the engine and see for yourself the DOOM-3-QUALITY! As in, take DOOM 3 models and levels, and use them in Irrlicht and see the SAME RESULTS, BUT FOR 100% FREE! w00t! Ok ill be done now.. :D

PS: Please note Irrlicht is a 3D Engine, NOT a GAME ENGINE, but, you can EASILY integrate physics and sound libraries (there are TUTORIALS on how to do this in the SDK!) and make your own game! :P

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Last edited Oct 23, 2013 at 02:48

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