I'm looking for some answers for a project I'm thinking of. I've searched and from what I understand (correct me if I'm wrong) the only way the program I want to make will work is through 3D application. Let me explain.
I plan to make a studio production program but it's unique in the fact that I want to be able to make it fluid. Let me explain. Imagine Microsoft's Surface program where you're able to touch and drag pictures across the screen. Instead of pictures I want them to be sound samples (wavs,mp3,etc). Of course instead the input will be with the mouse but if I ever do finish the project I would totally add touch screen input compatibility! Anyway, I'm guessing there's "physics" to do with it which is why I'm thinking that even though it'll be a 2D application I'll need to code it in a 3D environment.
Assuming that I'm correct in how I want to approach my project, where can I start learning about 3D programming? I actually come from PHP programming which will make C++ easier for me to learn. But I don't even know where to start. If I'm not wrong OpenGL is the most up to date API as far as I know.
Anyway, please give me your insights guys. I could really use some guidance here since I could totally be wrong in everything that I wrote :)
I would like to add that I'm most likely looking for tutorials, Linux 3D programming sites, source/demos (google failed me for the most part).
Note: I also understand this is not a project I'll finish in weeks, months and might take years. That's fine, I want to get C++ under my belt however long it takes. I'm just looking for opinions, sources, tutorials and things that might help me (as stated above).
I don't know much about the MS Surface, but I'm a musician and multimedia artist working mostly with code, so... My advice is very much different - it doesn't matter if it's Irrlight, Orge, pure OpenGL or anything else. If you don't know much about 3D prgramming you'd better start with something different. There are several environments for artists to work with graphics, multimedia and code. Try one of them and watch the projects made in each of them on the project's websitees and on Vimeo. I think most of what you want to do is already done, but still can be very inspiring. The environments that come to my mind are:
Processing - great prototyping environment by Ben Fry and Casey Reas. I use it always before coding anything serious as it provides me with all the multimedia and communication libraries i need, it's simple like hell and it's Java so you can easli deploy your apps after all! (As far as I remember there is touch surface library for Processing)
openFramewoks - same as above but C++, but it's less clean and still under development. It's very easy to prototype in Processing and code finally in openFrameworks as the latter was very much influenced by the former. (The touch surface library is implemented for oF for sure)
NodeBox - great and very powerful environment in Python. Has a very strange but great and intuitive (after all) GUI with some very unique methodolody of work!!
SuperCollider is a wonderful sound processing and algorythimc composition programming language with a very easy to code GUI library and graphics API. It gives you everything you ever imagined about sound programming functionality.
Pure Data - graphical approach toward programming. Made by Miller Puckett (the co-author of Max/MSP) with OpenGL (GEM extension) functionality provided by the guys from IEM in Austria.
Final good advice: Books!!! Programming Interaction (O'Reilly), a few books on Processing website, classic work - Computer graphics for Java programmers (great one, really!!). Read as well all the chapters about domain languages and domain knowladge in "97 things every programmer should know". It can really help!!
BTW: if you don't concider heavy real-time procedures thing about Java (Java2D, Java3D, JOGL) - it's millions times easier then C++ and Processing is actually Java, so you have a very good prototyping environment that can produce ready to use Java classes and applets. I used Processing in real-time theatre productions where stage movement was controlling the sound (syths and hardware samplers) all made in Processing, so this "heavy real-tme" means HEAVY real-time!!
If any further questions about this particular domain programming - don't hesitate to email me.