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Airline Traffic Manager: OpenGL Interface?

Tuesday, June 1st, 2010

After my news update from late last week about the interface changes to Airline Traffic Manager, a number of my game development colleagues weighed in on what I should possibly use to develop the interface for. In particular, I was pointed to OpenGL using GLUT (GL Utility Toolkit). Specifically, for my data interface needs such as what I was getting with MFC and Windows Forms, I can add on the GLUI (GL User Interface) library.

The combination of GLUI and OpenGL means that I can have the data-display and input functionality of buttons, lists, select boxes, etc., without having to write the code for them myself. On the other hand, I can also use a robust graphics package that will support all sorts of nifty stuff that we may want to add to ATM in the future such as 3D overviews of airports terminals.

The other thing this solves is the scalable window issue. With the MFC solution (and a little with the proposed Windows Forms one), I was really tied to one resolution. That also means that I wasn’t developing a full-screen graphical game. With OpenGL et al, the game can be full-screen and everything will scale regardless of resolution.

Another major bonus is that it will also be cross-platform. The initial suggestion came from a colleague that is a big aviation buff (and will want to play the game) and is also a Mac user. Sure, his recommendation of GLUT/GLUI was a little selfish in that regard, but it looks like a great solution nonetheless.

Right now, I will just be experimenting with OpenGL on my own to get a feel for it. (Might need a book or two but I haven’t ever really shied away from teaching myself new techs.) If I can do the interface programming myself for a bit, that’s great. Eventually, however, it will be best for me to bring on someone to do it for me to let me concentrate on the engine, simulation, and AI programming. (When I get to that point, I will make an announcement here and update the IA jobs page accordingly.)

Anyway, not a lot of movement, but certainly a lot of planning going on.

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