The Panda Development Group
Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, SunOS
Languages Written In:
None (be one!)
Panda3D is a game engine, a framework for 3D rendering and game development for Python and C++ programs. Panda3D is Open Source and free for any purpose, including commercial ventures, thanks to its liberal license.
Several options for physics simulation:
Simple AI library “PandaAI” included:
Several options for adding sounds to your game:
Panda3D comes with a set of tools for the creation of a graphical interface:
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With Panda3D you have an engine with a decent feature set.
I don't mean the "must have" features, like loading models, textures, doing translations and rotations, loading sound, etc.
I mean the details in functions like translation and rotation that can save you from writing your own vector math, or the FSM which allows easy to implement AI.
Ease of Use:
That's where Panda is really great. You'll have your first scene up and running in a few minutes.
The fact that Panda works perfectly with Python makes for quick production cycles. I can't think of a better engine/language combination to start developing your very first game. You could even start to learn Panda and Python at the same time.
And if there's something you won't find in the manual, you'll find it in the forum.
Sability & Performance:
Well, the fact that there's a commercial game (Disneys ToonTown) out there schould speak for itself.
You can't hit it any better than the Panda Community.
If you have any question that can't be answered by the community, the developers of the engine themselves will help you out.
I came across Panda3d when I was looking for something that I could easily prototype in. I had no previous experience with python or any other programming language and was able to easily do what I previously considered advanced. I'm also finding panda is great for making 3d tools.
I'm a Comp Sci student with a massive interest in game development, and Panda3D has made life much easier for me to grasp concepts. I can program in my language of choice (Python), and the community, while small, is extremely supportive.
Definitely a solid engine worth looking at for any project.
It's an engine that's been proven in a commercial product (Toontown Online).
Disney continue to use the engine, so you get bug fixes and feature additions that are making it into their next games.
You can write an entire game in python with it.
What more can you say. It's just about as ideal as it gets. If you need something else drastically different you're going to be writing a custom engine no matter which way you shake it.
1 - Short learning curve.
2 - Rapid development.
3 - Complete Engine (just add logic and assets).
4 - Used (and thus tested) by many CMU students.
5 - Actually used for a MMORPG (ToonTown).
6 - No need to wonder if it can create ________ game.
7 - No silly idiosyncrasies to get in the way.
8 - Either C++ or Python or a combination of both to program in.
9 - Layers of complexity getting more complex as you go deeper but allowing more flexibility and control.
10 - Fast, Powerful, and stable (even with Python).
11 - Continually developed by a commercial company (Disney) for commercial purposes.
12 - Free to use for your own commercial purposes (except the used FMOD sound library).
13 - Uses NSIS to package up your game for distribution.
14 - Great documentation and/or help.
1 - Uses the FMOD sound library. (However, I have found a work around and have provided an example.)
2 - No convenient executable '.exe' to distribute. And no real way to hide your "source code" when using Python.
Having used Panda3D for a little while now, I can say this engine is what you wish every free game engine could be. Rapid development is the name of the game and that is forefront when using Panda3D for game development. With a robust feature set there isn't much that cannot be obtained. Panda3D allows you to focus on game programming, specifically your game logic, thereby getting out of the way instead of forcing you to but heads with it at every corner. When a problem arises I find that it is me that problem is with instead of the engine. Finding it surprising that this piece of middle-ware is free, I actually enjoy using Panda3D. So far I have been able to create two full fledged game examples in a matter of weeks. Being a "lone wolf" developer at this point, it is advantageous to have certain things done for you when ever possible thereby allowing me to conquer other tasks that must be done—Panda3D fits perfectly into this scheme.
Bottom Line. Panda3D is but a tool but a fantastic tool at that. If your are more interested in producing a game rather than the technology then Panda3D (in my experience) is the weapon of choice in your game development arsenal. As with any engine—just use it—and I think you'll like what you discover.
Fully integrated Python engine, very easy to use and speed seems more than adequate.
Have seen no problems with stability although there are a lot of runtime warnings.
Documentation is adequate but it really needs a more extensive tutorial. Responses in support forums are excellent.
This is a Disney supported engine and comes closer to being of commercial quality than any free engine I have tried.
Two industry leaders have teamed up to bring the public an easy to use, powerful free rendering engine - Disney and Carnegie Mellon University.
Panda3D's strengths lie in its rapid development cycle (due to programming in Pythin), flexibility, and reliability. The website, http://www.panda3d.org has comprehensive documentation, easy tutorials, free 3D models, and active forums where you can get most any question answered within an hour.
Panda is one of the easiest to use libraries but that ease of use hides an unexpected amount of power.
It's also crossplatform being ported to Win32, Linux, SGI, with an OS/X port in progress.