Google Summer of Code/Project Ideas

Revision as of 08:03, 22 March 2011 by Tbrowder (talk | contribs)

The list of possible projects below should serve as a good starting point for new developers that would like to get involved in working on BRL-CAD. The ideas below range from the very hard and math intense to the very easy, see the link to each for more details. You are also welcome to scale the scope of the project up or down as needed as the ideas suggested below are merely starting points.

A detailed articulate (i.e. excellent) proposal that has been discussed with us beforehand will generally trump any listed priority. Please do contact us (IRC or brlcad-devel mailing list) if you have any questions, corrections, comments, or ideas of your own that you'd like to suggest.

Be sure to read up on our application process for getting started with your proposal submission if you have not done so already including our checklist.

Project Categories


Do you have an idea of your own? Let us know and maybe we'll like it too. We're very open to new ideas, areas of academic research, industry applications, and any other ways that may help get you hooked on BRL-CAD development. Just remember that BRL-CAD is a solid modeling CAD suite so keep that in mind when scoping your project. The idea needs to fit in with our project goals, it needs to be specific, and it needs to be detailed.


  • Passion for the task being suggested
  • Buy-in from one of the existing developers

Difficulty: variable

Graphical User Interface (GUI) Infrastructure Projects

BRL-CAD uses a display manager to view geometry (wireframes, text, overlayed framebuffers) in graphical applications such as MGED. Current display managers talk directly to low level graphical toolkits such as X and OpenGL. A project goal for BRL-CAD is to implement a display manager using a cross platform toolkit that abstracts the low level cross platform details and gives us a single, unified codebase. Specific display manager projects include:

In addition to the 3D display manager, BRL-CAD also implements 2D framebuffers to display images. This is a conceptualized interface similar to the Linux framebuffer interface, but they are not one and the same. For now, you can think of it as a simple 2D graphics context in a window. Having a single cross-platform framebuffer interface built upon a common framework is very desirable.

GUI Enhancement Projects

The primary environment in which users interact with BRL-CAD geometry is the MGED editor. An "improved MGED" editor, currently called Archer, has been in development for some time as an eventual replacement for MGED. There are many very useful projects related to Archer:

Core Geometry Processing Projects

Core Analysis & Rendering Projects

NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines) Projects

BRL-CAD has recently implemented raytracing support for NURBS-based boundary representation geometry. There are several remaining tasks to be done with NURBS, most of them are very high impact and very high visibility. They are also pretty hard so be careful to have lots of milestones. Strong math background and/or familiarity with computer graphics representation types is highly recommended.

Other Tool Projects

Some of these project ideas aren't as detailed or elaborate as the ones above, but would be interesting and useful nonetheless. Please discuss with us before proposing one of these ideas.