Crystal Space 1.4.1

Development platform that creates 3D graphics through a nice interface

  • Category:

    Graphics Engines

  • Version:


  • Works under:

    Windows ME / Windows 98 SE / Windows 2000 / Windows 95 / Windows NT / Windows 98 / Windows XP

  • Also available for:


  • Program available in:In English
  • Program license:Free (GPL)
  • Vote:
    5.6 (44)

Crystal Space is an open-source application framework that helps users to design 3D games. This free-to-use software has been written in C++, and it uses OpenGL to render the 3D graphics, support colored lighting effects, portals, mirrors, procedural textures and mapping.

When First Established?

The beginnings of Crystal Space go back to 1997, making it one of the oldest game engines. Jorrit Tyberghein said his motivation for Crystal Space came after watching Id Software's work with landmark 3D shooters such as Quake and Doom. Eric Sunshine, the project manager, got involved because of an interest to put the Crystal Space code to various platforms. Crystal Space supports numerous platforms including: Mac OS X, Linux and Windows, making it a widely accessible program.

Special Effects

Crystal Space allows game developers to add special effects such as dynamic lighting, volumetric fog, particle effects and reflective surfaces. Some users find this software to be too complicated. Installation alone requires knowledge of using the terminal. For this reason, the developers recommend people follow the detailed installation instructions at their website. If you understand programming, the wild popularity of Crystal Space proves the software's true capabilities. People who have a C++ programming background will have the easiest time.

Matter of Taste for Some

For some people, they find the mammoth repository for almost anything the 3D engine world has to offer, a breath of fresh air. Others will hate that it does not provide simpler options. It gets too large. Additionally, beginners who set out to use Crystal Space will find the learning curve too steep, and the tool support is sometimes lacking. One of the problems with having an engine this size is that it makes it hard for the developers to keep up with the latest technology. This means some of the features in Crystal Space take longer and end up looking less visually appealing than they would with other engines.

Licensing and Honors

The developers of Crystal Space licensed their software under GNU Lesser General Public License. In February 2003, named Crystal Space their project of the month.

Other Features for Crystal Space

Crystal Space provides flexibility in that it has modules for both 2D and 3D graphics, collision detection, sound and physics through ODE and Bullet. Crystal Space support hardware acceleration from all the major card vendors. The texturing supported for the software includes: BMP, JPG, GIF and TGA.

Overall, it is hard to argue with the price of free. Many game developers have had excellent results with this powerful software. Planeshift, an MMORPG, was even created using Crystal Space, which makes it one of the biggest and oldest projects of Crystal Space.


  • Extremely powerful software
  • Cross-platform accessibility
  • Free to install
  • Wide array of options to create the game desired
  • Supports blender


  • Mostly only accessible to those with programming knowledge
  • Slower than some of the other game development software options

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