[SDL] SDL 1.3 status ?

Beoran beoran at gmail.com
Wed Jul 27 23:55:09 PDT 2011

I disagree with Pallav and Mason on "ditching" X11 and GDI. For me the software renderer is essential. For example, on both my Linux desktops, the harware "accellerated" openGL driver is so slow that it's actuallly 50% slower than the SDL software renderer. And on windows, the GDI backend does wonders for compatibility with systems with a crummy setup.  Not to mention a (future?) linux fbcon driver for the many tiny devices that don't have opengl/es. You'd be surprised how many of them there are out there. SDL is not only used for games, it's also the underlying api for GUIs in non-accelerated embedded devices. Look at DACHSview-SDL, CEGUI, Agar, Milkytracker on GPX2, etc. And, if you're writing a graphics or sprite editor in SDL, how will you draw to the bitmap that the user is editing if you don't have a software renderer? 

I don't think the software renderer is "holding back" development of SDL. What are those features that other 2D game libs have and that SDL is mising? When I look at Allegro 5, the main missing things are rotozooming, tinted blits, and the drawing of primitive triangles, rounded rectangles, ellipses, circles, arcs, splines and ribbons. It's not like a software version of those things are that hard to write. Just look at SPRIG, SGE,  SDL_gfx, Allegro , or ...  Plenty of sources we can ask to borrow code from (with Allegro it's even easier as it's zlib license is comatible with sdl's). 

I also disagree with Ryan though. I don't believe in a slippery slope argument. There are many things that SDL has been lacking historically, compared to other 2D game API's like Allegro. So everyone and their dog implemented software extension libraries on top of SDL to deal with these missing features. I think it's high time we enrichened SDL's 2D functionality. And now that SDL has a new renderer API, it seems like a great time to do that. The only thing I think which doesn't belong into SDL is 3D functionality, which belongs in the many diverse 3D engines that are built on SDL. 

I already found and fixed a small bug in the software scaling, and I'm willing to contribute more to keep the software renderer alive and kicking. If people want more accellerated 2D functionality in the renderer, then please suggest it and implement it for Opengl and Direct3d, and I'll step up to the plate and contribute a software version too. In fact, for things like circle primitives, a well written, generic software renderer can be of assistance in calculating the points for the lines or triangle strips. I say, let's stop complaining, and start contributing. :)

As for the versioning, definitely make it SDL 2.0. We should start to call it sdl 2.0 beta ASAP. And I'm all in favor of dropping the 1.2 compatibility API. If we increase the major version number, dropping backwards compatibility is absolutely acceptable, and may win us some time.

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