Friday, July 26, 2013

Linux compatible .Net bindings for irrLicht using SWIG

Ever since I tried IrrLicht, an Open Source 3d Graphics library, I fell in love with it. It is a C++ library and my C++ isn't as good as I'd like it to be and I am more comfortable with C# under .Net.

Since IrrLicht is open source, I figured, someone might have written an .Net binding for it, and I was correct. A few such bindings do exist, although, they are truly only .Net bindings for IrrLicht for Windows platform only.
I also attempted to use MonoGame, which is known to work under Linux, but without any success.

A few days ago, while researching an unrelated subject, I stumbled across SWIG. SWIG stands for Simple Wrapper and Interface Generator. It is used when you want write wrappers to your C/C++ code for other languages. It also happens to support C#. So I decided to give it SWIG a swing and initial results were more than promising.

I decided to test it but exposing the Main method of my C++ test code written to try IrrLicht and called it from a .Net application. It worked!
I decided to take a shot at generating a wrapper for IrrLicht itself. So far, using the bindings that I was able to create with SWIG, I have been able to create simple 3d scenes in C# code.

I've created a project on GitHub to create a Linux compatible .Net binding for IrrLicht using SWIG. The repo is at

Initially, much of the focus will be on creating a Linux centric binding. However, since SWIG is cross platform, if the community is interested in the effort, it could become more cross platform than that.

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