Well, I finally got a really rough prototype going of some C# code making my sandbox engine create a renderer and attach it to a .NET window. Here’s a screenie…
So today I spent some time building embedded Mono into my game engine (if you can call it that, it’s pretty skeletal so far). It’s pretty poorly done at the moment (design-wise), but I can execute code from a .NET dll within my application. What I didn’t realise until just now, was that the mono runtime will happily load dll’s built with Microsoft’s compiler, which means I don’t even have to worry about needing a separate build environment for the C# code (although it’s pretty easy, just run xbuild on your project/solution from cygwin).
The next steps here will probably be along the lines of turning the runtime stuff into some sort of script host, and coming up with patterns for writing/generating bindings between the two environments. I think I’ll investigate SWIG for this. Binding C# code to C++ types will be fairly easy – the C++ type just needs to register all of its member functions with the runtime, and then a wrapper around these can be written in C# in much the same way as you would wrap any other C dll, using the extern keyword and the MethodImplAttribute. On the other hand, accessing C# types from within C++ requires a fair amount of code (somewhat like using reflection in C#), and so it will be necessary to use some sort of code generator to generate efficient wrappers.