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1.4 A Guide to This Documentation

In this section we guide you through some of the more useful sections of the documentation related to creating your own project using Crystal Space. This guide can help you find the information you want more quickly, but it is recommended that you scan through the entire documentation (just browsing the table of contents should be enough) so that you have a better idea of what is explained where.

One of the most useful sections for creating your own project is, of course, the tutorial section (see section Tutorials). Here you will find tutorials that can help you to write your own Crystal Space game, along with the very important introductory tutorial (see section Basics and Overview). You should certainly read this if you want to have a good idea of some of the basic concepts of Crystal Space.

Additionally, the tutorial section contains the HOWTO section (see section HOWTO). The HOWTOs are small documents explaining how to deal with specific issues. They usually contain example code. Most of the HOWTOs are related to dealing with the Crystal Space engine (like collision detection, mesh lighting and animation, mesh movement, loading a map, etc), but there are others, such as those which explain how you can set up your own application outside of the Crystal Space application tree, one for Unix or Unix-like environments (such as Msys/Mingw or Cygwin) and another for Microsoft Visual C++.

The section of the manual that talks about the engine (see section The 3D Engine) is very important. If you want to know how the 3D engine works internally (which is important if you want to build your own 3D worlds) then you should read the section explaining the world components (see section Components of a World) and the section explaining portals (see section Portal Engine). There is a HOWTO about render priorities (see section Render Priorities and Objects in Sectors) which should assist greatly in that area.

The section about the Map File Parser (see section Loading Maps and Models) is useful if you want to create your map files manually.

Reading the mesh object section (see section Mesh Object Plug-In System) is also recommended. Mesh objects are objects that represent geometry in Crystal Space. If you want to display something in your world, you will have to know how to use them. The tutorials and HOWTOs contain information about mesh objects, but this section contains the complete documentation.

If you want to know more about how to build optimal maps for Crystal Space, then you should take a look at How to Create Optimal Maps for Crystal Space. This section explains how you should partition your world in sectors, what kind of objects you can use, how to effectively use the visibility cullers and other techniques you should know when creating your maps for Crystal Space.


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