I have been thinking about more practical issues concerning my apprentice-project. I have always thought that something like this should be made in Java to allow as wide an availability as possible. I also think that something like this should be made as easy as possible to produce, even at the cost of efficiency. Especially since this project isn’t primarily meant to display my mad coding skillz. And there are plenty of computational resources on todays computers to squander.
Being as easy on me as possible means that I want to make use of existing components as far as possible. This means they have to be fitting licence-wise. Fortunately this doesn’t seem to be an issue for me, since most these components are released as Free software or at least Open source. I have been looking for a physics and a 3d-engine.
ODE (Open Dynamics Engine) sounds suitable for my needs, only it isn’t in Java. Versions of it do exist for the 3 major platforms, so I don’t consider this a major problem. It’s usability with Java is an issue, however. There exists a wrapper (ODEJava) for Java that provides a bridge to allow it’s use in Java. As this is a work-in-progress the price is unstability.
For the 3d-engine I’ve been considering jMonkeyEngine which seems more than capable for my needs and is Open source as well. And seems to have a interface for ODE as well. I’ll have to set-up these things and get experimenting.