Overview of cl-bodge

As mentioned in Introduction, cl-bodge is a modular, extensible, cross-platform application framework written in Common Lisp.


cl-bodge is literally just a group of systems sharing the same interface and built upon the same core: facilities provided by cl-bodge/engine. One of the initial goals of writing cl-bodge was to unite diverse libraries (CL and C alike) under a single interface umbrella. cl-bodge/engine provides all required primitives that enables all dependent systems to have outstanding interoperability: memory management, concurrency and thread-safety, external resource handling, event-driven communication, linear algebra, application bootstrapping, lifecycle management and other primitives for building interoperable systems.

You are not required to use any of cl-bodge subsystems apart from cl-bodge/engine. Want to build your own engine from scratch, but lazy enough to wrap all the basic stuff yourself? Sure! Just use cl-bodge/engine as a foundation. Maybe the only thing you need is access to host input and window? Sure! Only add cl-bodge/host to your dependencies and nothing else of cl-bodge will be loaded keeping your CL image clean of unnecessary bits. Would like to use physics? No probs here either! cl-bodge/physics is at your disposal. Now, if you want to work with 2D graphics you add cl-bodge/canvas as a dependency, but that would also bring cl-bodge/host and cl-bodge/graphics too, because cl-bodge/canvas depends on them itself: some cl-bodge subsystems do depend on others.

cl-bodge modules:


You can define subsystems yourself and they would be as good as any other cl-bodge ones. cl-bodge/engine exposes several classes and methods to accomplish this. Once you follow those interfaces your system would interact with anything else in cl-bodge just like any other native subsystems interact between themselves.

Cross Platform

Under the hood, cl-bodge framework is not a pure Common Lisp and that was never a goal to make it so. It reuses as much as possible from CL ecosystem, but if there’s no appropriate library or interface available, it includes foreign code with C ABI compatible interface internally1. But all of this is done in a cross-platform fasion - you can run cl-bodge and all its subsystems (input, physics, audio, graphics, etc) across 3 major OS platforms (GNU/Linux, Windows, macOS) and several CL implementations (SBCL, CCL, ECL) without any changes to the source code.

Application Framework

cl-bodge is somewhere on the edge of already blurry border between application framework and a game engine. It has its own application lifecycle management and a couple of requirements to make subsystems interoperable, but otherwise it doesn’t impose any strict rules on how your application should work - you are fully in control of it. If you wish so, you don’t even need to integrate with cl-bodge lifecycle whatsover. Or you can build a full-blown game engine on top of cl-bodge and expose only a couple of entry points via ECS and scripting.

  1. cl-bodge is pure Common Lisp on the outside though! Its API strives to be consistent with ecosystem standards.