Features » Extra Functionality

The following libraries provide additional functionality on top of core Magnum APIs. They complement each other for a well-balanced experience, however none of them are strictly required and it’s possible to use any subset that matches your particular use case.

Plugin management

Used extensively by various other parts of Magnum, provides a way to extend functionality at runtime, implement hot code reloading or alter behavior of already deployed applications without needing to modify the binaries themselves.

  • Plugin manager handling dependencies, inheritance and aliases through the same API on all platforms
  • Versioning plugin API and ABI for graceful handling of runtime errors
  • Both dynamically and statically loaded plugins

Signals and slots

Inspired by Qt’s signals and slots API, provides an easy-to-use design pattern to connect listeners to events. Macro-less syntax using C++11 variadic templates, with full type safety and no need for any preprocessor.

  • Lightweight implementation with focus on debug performance and transparency
  • Signals are member functions, slots can be members, free functions or lambdas
  • Ability to equip third-party classes with signal/slot functionality using multiple inheritance

Testing and benchmarking

Borrowing initial ideas from Qt’s QTest, gives the user a clear API for creating automated unit tests, integration tests and benchmarks with minimal use of macros and no opaque magic behind the scenes.

  • Focus on clarity of test output and diagnostics with colors, pretty printers and rich command-line options for test white/blacklisting, repeating and shuffling
  • Equivalent workflow on desktop, iOS/Android and web platforms, making automated testing a no-brainer
  • Extensible with comparators for special data types, benchmarking of custom measured data

Animation framework

Layered architecture exposing everything from direct value interpolation over keyframe structures up to high-level animation-driven behavior and playback directly from loaded scene data.

  • Defaults to easy-to-use high-level APIs but allows for fine-tuning of all parameters including interpolator functions and extrapolation behavior
  • Designed for cache-efficient memory access
  • Ability to use different types for animation input and output (for spline interpolation or on-the-fly keyframe data decompression)
  • Ability to use different global time type and animation track time type

OpenGL wrapping layer

Abstracts away platform differences and extensions, resulting in a single API covering desktop OpenGL, OpenGL ES and WebGL. Depending on the GPU driver, the backend selects the most suitable feature implementation, giving priority to recent extensions.

  • OpenGL 2.1 to 4.6, OpenGL ES 2.0, 3.0–3.2, WebGL 1 / 2 + extensions
  • DSA-like API with state tracking, elimination of redundant GL calls, feature emulation on older drivers
  • Can co-exist with other renderers sharing the same OpenGL context, exchange live OpenGL objects with third-party code

Vulkan wrapping layer

Coming soon. Subscribe to mosra/magnum#234 for updates.

Platform integration

Wraps platform-specific or generic windowing toolkits in a thin layer to provide consistent access to OpenGL context and input events across various systems, utilities for platform capability introspection.

  • Integrates SDL2, GLFW, Xlib, Android native activities and more
  • Abstraction layer to provide OpenGL context to command-line tools in a cross-platform way
  • Completely opt-in layer, you can instead hook Magnum directly into your own window, context and event handling

Mesh, texture and shader tools

Collection of essential mesh, texture and image algorithms. Simple input/output functions working on plain data types for easy integration into existing pipelines.

  • Mesh optimization, indexed mesh handling, vertex transformations, normal, subdivision algorithms and attribute (de)interleaving
  • Texture atlas packing
  • Distance field calculation, available also through a command-line utility

Shader tools are coming soon. Subscribe to mosra/magnum#234 for updates.

Asset management

Defines data types and interfaces for import of generic scene formats and handling of uncompressed and compressed images.

  • Scene hierarchy, mesh data, material, camera, light and texture properties
  • Command-line utility for image conversion, compression and decompression
  • Not required to be used when implementing your own asset loading, provides just a ready-to-use API for the general case

Debugging and prototyping

Go-to toolbox for when you are playing around, exploring new techniques, prototyping a game, debugging a glitch or measuring your app performance.

  • Set of builtin primitives for placeholder objects, material testing or debug wireframes
  • Shaders to give your object a basic look or to visualize particular mesh properties
  • Profiling, visualization and automatic testing aids

Scene graph functionality

Arranges scene data in a tree with automatic object lifetime management, transformation inheritance and ability to attach any number of features to scene objects.

  • Choice of different transformation implementations depending on desired flexibility and speed/accuracy tradeoff
  • Camera object implementation with convenient handling of projection and camera matrices
  • Collection of collision shapes for basic physics or object picking

Text and UI

GPU-centered text rendering using a pre-populated glyph cache texture with ability to use arbitrary third-party text layouters for kerning and other advanced text shaping and layouting support.

  • Rendering from either pixel-perfect or distance field glyph cache
  • Experimental UI library focused on efficient rendering, minimal footprint and fast iteration times
  • Label, button, input widgets, modality support


Wraps OpenAL in a fashion similar to the OpenGL wrapping layer; defines data types and interfaces for audio data import.

  • Full support of stock OpenAL 1.1 API with various extensions
  • Player and listener objects for scene graph integration
  • Command-line utility for platform capability introspection

Integration libraries

Convenience utilities, wrapper types, data conversion and interfaces that improve interoperability with third-party libraries.

  • Partial or full API wrapping depending on what’s needed for seamless integration of given library
  • Bullet Physics math type conversion, debug renderer implementation and scene graph integration
  • DART Dynamics Animation and Robotics Toolkit math type conversion and renderer for DART worlds
  • Oculus SDK math type conversion and wrapper classes for full Oculus VR support in Magnum