Panda 3D game engine was developed by Disney VR that had features like graphics, I/O, collision detection, audio, etc. that helped the creation of 3D games. The studio Disney VR is a part of Disney. It was created to make 3D attractions for Disney’s theme parks. The first attraction built was called “Aladdin’s Magic Carpet” the game engine designed for the attraction later became the Panda 3D game engine. The modern version of the engine is almost nothing like the early version. As time progressed, Panda 3D was enhanced to work with more virtual reality (VR) rides at Disney theme parks.
The first online game created using the engine was “Toontown,” which was set in a cartoonish world. Later, a second online game was released, “Pirates of the Caribbean,” which was an MMORPG game. The Panda 3D game engine was released in 2002 as an open-source engine. The reason for this, according to the creators, was so that it could easily be used by universities to enhance Virtual Reality research projects. It did take some time, though, for the project to catch up do to some issues with the engine. In the meantime, the fact that the engine was open-source meant that Carnegie Mellon’s Entertainment Technology Center could help polish the game engine for better public consumption. They added many high-end features like shaders and wrote documentation.
The design of the Panda 3D game engine is a scene graph engine. The virtual world which it works with is an empty cartesian space in which game developers can add 3D models. The game engine does not have a hard time distinguishing between large 3D models such as whole islands and landscapes to small objects like chairs and pens. Both models are created through standard modeling programs like 3DS Max, Maya, and Blender. The user has to load the models into Panda 3D game engine and then insert it into the Cartesian Space.