Thursday Apr 05, 2007

Comparing Java 3D with jMonkeyEngine

I'm working on a JavaOne project that makes use of the jMonkeyEngine 3D scene graph API commonly referred to as jME.

So far I've found jME to be a pleasure to work with, and am particularly impressed by the founders and community who seem friendly, knowledgeable, and responsive.

But developing a project in jME naturally leads to the question: how does it compare with Java 3D?

Here's my take, based on a couple of months working with jME, and a few discussions with Java 3D folks here.

jME pros:

  • quick to get up to speed
  • great infrastructure for games
  • wonderful community
  • lots of industry support

Jadestone's Hockey Challenge completely written in jME

Java 3D pros:

  • Compatible with both OpenGL and Direct3D (whereas jME supports only OGL)
  • multi-screen support, great for immersive environments, etc. See the Java 3D-enabled CAVE project for an example.
  • much more sophisticated threading model (one thread per display, one thread per behavior)
  • runs on Solaris
  • supports and takes advantage of 64 bit architectures

University of Calgary's Java 3D CAVE Immersive Environment

Java 3D is the basis of some extremely interesting and exciting projects coming out of Sun including Project Wonderland and MPK20. It'll be interesting seeing how both technologies evolve.

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john

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