The G3D Innovation Engine is a commercial-grade C++ 3D engine available as Open Source ("Modifed BSD" License). G3D supports hardware accelerated real-time rendering, off-line rendering like ray tracing, and general purpose computation on GPUs. Its design emphasizes rapid prototyping and innovation, particularly of rendering and game algorithms.

G3D provides a set of routines and structures so common that they are needed in almost every graphics program. It makes low-level libraries like OpenGL, network sockets, and audio channels easier to use without limiting functionality or performance. G3D is a carefully designed, feature-rich base on which to prototype your 3D application.

Major features include:

  • Multiple rendering modes
    • Hardware-accelerated OpenGL
    • Ray tracing
    • Remote rendering
    • Both forward and deferred shading
  • Developer HUD
    • In-engine video recording, screenshot, and cube-map capture
    • Texture viewer
    • CPU and GPU profiler
    • Camera bookmarks, tone map controls, and splines
  • Data import and export
    • FBX, OBJ, IFS, MD2, MD3, BSP, 3DS, PLY, PLY2, OFF, and custom models
    • JPG, PNG, EXR, BMP, PPM, PCX, TGA, DDS, and ICO images
    • MP4, MPG, MOV, AVI, DV, QT, and WMV video input and output
    • MP3, WAV, and OGG audio
    • Fonts
    • Gigabytes of ready-to-use asset packs
  • Write once, run everywhere
    • Windows 10, 8.0, 7, Vista, XP, OS X, and Linux
    • Visual C++, XCode, llvm, and gcc/g++ compilers
    • Java and Javascript interoperability for file and network classes
  • Easy to use, skinnable GUI
  • Optional automatic memory management
  • UDP-based networking
  • Optimized n x m matrix, including inverse and SVD
  • Configuration file read/write
  • Spline, kd-tree, Frustum and other necessary 3D classes
  • Tools: Model viewer, GPU benchmark, and build utilities
  • 500 pages of reference and overview documentation, plus 9 sample programs

The contributors span the graphics industry. The engine is primarily maintained by Morgan McGuire at Williams College and Michael Mara at Stanford University and includes contributions from professional game developers, CAD and DCC developers, students, industry researchers, and professors.

The G3D distribution includes several other libraries, most of which are under the Modified BSD license. Use of all included libraries are governed by their own licenses. The LGPL and closed-source libraries can be excluded from the build using G3D_NO_FFMPEG and G3D_NO_FMOD macros at compile time.

FMOD is closed source, but included as a redistributable because it has a highly permissive education and indie developer license.

Commercial usage of FMOD products may require a separate license directly with Firelight Technologies. For details refer to If you do not exclude FMOD from the build, then you must credit it in your application in accordance with that license file, including the text "FMOD" or "FMOD STUDIO" and "FIRELIGHT TECHNOLOGIES".

G3D development recently moved to CodePlex. See the new instructions for checking out from subversion and building.

A binary release of G3D 10.01 for 64-bit Windows and OS X will be available in Fall 2015.

Last updated August 1, 2015 by Morgan McGuire