Multimedia Libraries

This post summarizes libraries to create multimedia content, including both 2D or 3D graphics and sound.

For those libraries to create only graphics (without sound), you can check this post.

Graphics and multimedia libraries should not be confused with game engines. You can read more about game engines on this post.

Advantages of using Multimedia libraries

Using multimedia libraries allow to create applications that work on different hardware and operating systems (cross-platform).

List of Multimedia Libraries

List of multimedia libraries:

  • SDL
  • SFML
  • DirectX


Simple DirectMedia Layer (SDL) is a software development library that provides an abstraction layer for multimedia hardware components.

Unlike OpenGL and Vulkan that are dedicated to graphics, SDL is dedicated to multimedia in general. SDL would be simpler but less specialized than OpenGL and Vulkan. Sometimes they are used together.

It is considered Free and Open Source Software (FOSS), and it uses a zlib license.

Official website


Simple and Fast Multimedia Library (SFML) is a software development library that provides an API to multimedia components.

It offers a more modern and user-friendly interface compared to SDL, with a primary focus on graphics and multimedia.

It is Free and Open-source Software (FOSS), under a zlib/png license.

Official website


Direct3D is a multimedia library for Microsoft products. It is developed by American company Microsoft.

One of its most popular components is Direct3D.

DirectX SDK is included in Windows SDK since Windows 8. You can read more about it on this external link.

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