Posted by on 2009-04-23

Exploring JigLibFlash – the AS3 3D physics library

Exploring JigLibFlash - the AS3 3D physics library

JigLibFlash is a new library for 3D physics simulation in Flash. It is ported from a C++ open source engine. It's been around for a few months now, and if you haven't heard about it, you need to catch up!

I believe physics simulation is the next step in the Flash 3D world, so I got very excited when Ringo from FlashBookmarks invited me join the JigLibFlash team a couple of months ago. One little problem: I am perfectly lame when it comes to physics… In this situation, the only logical thing to do was to join the team and learn all the stuff I need to know about it in the meantime. Sounds like a challenge!

Now I slowly fill my knowledge gap. However, I also managed to do some actual work on the library. Together with Reyco we remodeled the API. We started by making it more Flash developer friendly, less C-style and more AS-style. All the methods start with a lowercase letter now, and instead of having to set the position and rotation using vectors and matrices, the new API offers simple getter/setters for properties like x/y/z and rotationX/Y/Z just like in Papervision3D or in the new Flash Player 10 API.

Last but not least, we also created a plugin system to easily integrate JigLibFlash with the popular 3D engines like Papervision3D or Away3D. Now there are specialized classes to interact with those two engines and it should be pretty easy to create a plugin for another engine if one needs. If you worked with AS3Dmod you should notice that the concept is similar to the plugin architecture in there. Update: I just saw in the sources that someone already created a plugin for Sandy3D.

To learn more about these changes you can refer to the tutorial I wrote which is posted on the projects wiki page. Reyco also wrote a great article about this on his blog.

The demo video above is my first little experiment with JigLibFlash and Papervision3D. My idea was to integrate a Collada object with the physics system and to add some interactivity to it. I extended the Mouse constraint class created by Reyco to control the racket. I encountered some problems with stabilizing it in the long run. After having bounced the ball a few times the racket starts to rotate as if the constraints were broken… well, I still need to do some research on that.

Source code

You can browse the sources for the demo here.


Some links to get you started with JigLibFlash:

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Everyday3D is a blog by Bartek Drozdz

The blog is about web development and realtime 3d graphics. Started in 2007, first it focused on Flash (remember?) then Unity3d, WebGL and eventually - Virtual Reality and 360 photography. In 2016, Bartek co-founded Kuula - a virtual tour software - where he works currently.