SDL Tutorial Series - Part 1 - What is the SDL?

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So what is the SDL? The SDL home page states that, "Simple DirectMedia Layer is a cross-platform multimedia library designed to provide low level access to audio, keyboard, mouse, joystick, 3D hardware via OpenGL, and 2D video framebuffer." The key-word in that description is cross-platform. SDL provides us with a platform independent way to access multimedia resources that we can use for making games. By using the SDL, we can share a common codebase across multiple platforms like Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X.

A fine example of a video game that uses the SDL is World of Goo. This critically acclaimed game was made by a small team of developers who used the SDL in their development process. Because they used the SDL, they were able to release the game for Windows, Mac OSX, and Linux with little modification to the underlying code base. Here is a short video trailer for the game.

Besides being cross-platform, the SDL is intuitive and very easy to use. It is written in the C programming language and has a function based syntax. The programmer controls the API by passing parameters to functions. Although written in the C programming language, SDL works with C++ and has bindings for many other languages including: C#, Python, Java, Objective C, D, and many others. The best part of the SDL is that it is FREE! As long a you link to the dynamic libraries you can use the SDL in your programs free of charge. For more information about the SDL, check out the SDL home page.

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