Ok, i'm looking to start 3d in java, and i was wondering what engines you guys would recommend, and also maybe some good books?
Look at this
if you want to use JogAmp (JOGL, JOAL, JOCL, Java binding for OpenMAX).
ra4king is right, we should always make a distinction between APIs used at different "levels".
JMonkeyEngine has a huge community and a lot of features, especially in its third version but it is unfortunately still quite buggy, several major users reported that they had to rewrite most of the shaders because they were not working.
If you choose LWJGL in applets, don't forget to tell your end users to install the proprietary version of Java (whereas OpenJDK and Icedtea are installed by default) because of this bug
. I still reproduce it when trying to run Minecraft demo. It will be fixed only in Icedtea-web 2.0 but it is unclear whether this bug comes from Icedtea-web or LWJGL as one of JogAmp contributors succeeds in running LWJGL applets without any trouble.
I really advise you to look at Paul Lamb Sound Library for the sound support, it's very easy to use and extensible. You can use it with OpenAL or JavaSound.
LibGdx is fine and even supports iOS.
I advise you to use JOGL because it contains a complete and homogeneous Java binding for the OpenGL & OpenGL-ES APIs with build-in video support, several optional helpers (you can deploy only what you want as it is a modular library), Android support, embedded Linux support, backward and forward compatible contexts, a large choice of canvas (AWT GLCanvas, SWT GLCanvas, GLWindow, NewtCanvasAWT, NewtCanvasSWT, ...), more and more active contributors especially since Oracle gave it up
, ... We are more active on our official forum than here.
I used JMonkeyEngine for a long time but I prefer Ardor3D. It has less features (no octrees, no integrated GDE) but it is less buggy. There is a real lack of tutorials but there are tons of examples on its repository.
Xith3D is still maintained but it's almost no more evolving. Java 3D has been recently revived but I wouldn't use it for large projects.