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3D file formats and modellers

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Hi all, I am currently developing an experimental 3D engine for both Linux and Windows. The problem is the intermediate file format to use for interfacing between the modeller and the engine (or between the modeller and the preprocessor) In the old age of DOS development everything was simple: you used the 3D Studio R4 .3DS or .ASC format. In this Windows era it is even simpler, you use 3D studio MAX with a self-written plugin, or you use the .ASE or .3DS format. Or, you build the 100001st Quake2/3 compatible renderer and use the Quake tools. Currently I use the 3DS MAX .ASE format. Easy to use and powerful. But when you start transforming your development environment to Linux, you face a few big problems. What modeller should you use, and how do you get the data into your own programs? One of the better free 3D modellers is Blender (www.blender.nl), but it is almost impossible to export data from that program (especially keyframed data). However, since version 1.80 it is possible to write Python scripts, so you could build your own exporter, I presume. There are also non-free modellers like AC3D, but I have no idea how powerful they are. How do you guys solve all this? I want to get rid of 3DS MAX since my version is as illegal as a kilogram of heroine, and almost as expensive. And it is Windows only (the biggest problem, to be honest. I''m still not as holy as the pope. And WINE won''t run it.). Any ideas/suggestions anyone? And a non-gamedev question: Is there a decent replacement for Netscape? It takes ages to check mail with it, it''s email client sucks, it is unstable, it''s JAVA implementation sucks, it is slow, and it renders a lot of pages incorrectly. This is one of the programs that breaks the law of Linux stuff being more stable than Windows stuff. DaBit.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
I think StarOffice comes with a decent browser, but don''t take my word for it -- I''ve never actually used it.

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quote:

And a non-gamedev question: Is there a decent replacement for Netscape? It takes ages to check mail with it, it''s email client sucks, it is unstable, it''s JAVA
implementation sucks, it is slow, and it renders a lot of pages incorrectly. This is one of the programs that breaks the law of Linux stuff being more stable than
Windows stuff.

DaBit.



Konqueror (formerly part of kfm) is a you guessed it, part of the KDE package. I haven''t tried the next release out but it is supposed to have `cutting-edge'' support for all the style sheet stuff out there. I doubt that it will have Java though. Of course there''s always Lynx

joeG

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I''ve tried blender, 3dom, and and innovation3d.

When I tried to scale an object in innovation 3d, the object disappeared. If I cant scale an object I probly cant do much else.. so Innovation3d wasnt too good. It''s supposed to have NURBS support, though.

Either Innovation3d or 3dom (I forget which, I want to say 3dom though) has a lib you can use with your opengl programs to import the modeller''s native format.

3dom is alright, its pretty basic but at least you can scale an object My complaint is that it only has a single 3d view. I think the webpage said its meant to be used in games.

I got blender and.. I couldnt even make an object. It runs really slow on my p3 550 w/ 128mb ram, under GNOME/Enlightenment. The whole program looks pretty confusing to me.

theres my opinions

saai

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Hmm, looks like I have to check out 3dom and innovation3d. I suppose I am going to have problems with Windows compatibility then.
About Blender: It''s user interface is very uncommon, and you really have to get used to it (learn the keycodes Mike, learn the damn keycodes). Once you get an idea of how the UI works, it works VERY quickly. I never encountered real slow performance. Not even on a PPro 200. But it is slower than it could be since it uses OpenGL for all it''s operations, and Mesa in software mode is not really a fast OpenGL implementation. With the hardware accelerated nVidia drivers it flies.

DaBit.

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Okay, I spent some time looking at blender tutorials and started playing around with it more.. it seems a lot better than 3dom or Innovation3d Just that its a bit harder to learn. You wouldn''t happen to know of any decent sites for newbie blender tutorials and stuff like that would you?

As far as the performance goes.. I don''t know if I''m running software opengl or not. I''m using mesa 3.0, which came with and was installed by slackware. I tried upgrading to mesa3.2, but my opengl programs refuse to link the glut library (which the mesa README/INSTALL says is included...) It was a little better when I used a barebones X setup - no window manager at all, just blender.

I have a Diamond Speedstar a200 graphics card with a S3 savage4 chipset on it.. does that explain anything? I haven''t done anything special to my linux installation for it as far as drivers go.. I''m using the SVGA X server. When I log out of X it shows some S3 stuff on the console.

saai

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At the Blender site (http://www.blender.nl) there are links to other Blender pages, including the ones with tutorials. I just bought the manual. But I haven''t yet done much with Blender since it lacks export capabilities.

Mesa-3.2 is a bit faster than Mesa-3.0, and a lot more bug-free. It is true that glut is delivered within the mesa package, but when you do a make linux-elf or something (many choices. Pick what is appropriate), glut is not compiled. The sources+makefile are in the ${MESA}/src-glut directory. A make linux-elf over there will build the libglut.so for you. Copy the libGL.so, libGLU.so and libglut.so to your /usr/X11R6/lib directory, and run ldconfig.

A speed hit can be generated by the Enlightenment/GNOME combo. It looks pretty, it works good, but it is slow as hell and it eats a lot of memory. On my P100 notebook without L2 cache, 40Mb RAM, Enlightenment/GNOME runs unacceptably slow. But with the good old FVWM (the best WM for an 800x600 screen. Panning per 10 pixels rules!) as window manager Blender runs at a very acceptable speed.

With a Savage4 based card and the standard XFree86 you are running in software mode. I do not know if there is hardware rendering support available for the Savage4. If it is, I would not hesitate a second to install it.

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quote:
Original post by Saai
I got blender and.. I couldnt even make an object. It runs really slow on my p3 550 w/ 128mb ram, under GNOME/Enlightenment. The whole program looks pretty confusing to me.




I run blender quite happily on a P233 with 90MB Ram with GNOME/Enlighenment. Maybe yor configuration is screwed up?



http://www.thisisnurgle.org.uk

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Ehm, some Mesa performance tips:

- Check if the X shared memory extension is enabled. Without it, many X apps are REALLY slow. I had Xshm problems with the 2.3.x branch of kernels.
- Do NOT run in 24-bit mode. Choose either 32-bit or 16-bit. 16-bit is faster than 32-bit.
- Play with the Mesa environment variables. Try both the xpixmap and ximage method. (documented in ${MESA}/doc/readme.x11)
- Compile mesa-3.2 with PGCC instead of the standard GCC, and tune the optimizations. This speeds up Mesa by about 20-30%

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I'm downloading pgcc right now. Hope it doesn't screw anything up

I'm using the ./configure method on mesa 3.2 using the x86 assembly and mmx options enabled explicitly. I'll try getting the GLUT part going again, thanks for the help there.

I did a little investigation on xfree86.org and X 3.3.6 has support for the savage4, while X 4.0 doesn't. The source is 45mb, so it'll be tomorrow before I get that downloaded.

I grabbed blender for windows to try out on my p3 450 w/128mb ram windows box, and it runs nicely.

saai


Edited by - saai on July 14, 2000 12:18:23 PM

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Replacement for Netscape:

Check out Opera at www.opera.com

I''m pretty sure there''s a Linux version of it and I am sure that the Windows version is better than the "big two".

===========================================

As far as the laws of mathematics refer to reality, they are not certain, and as far as they are certain, they do not refer to reality.

-Albert Einstein

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Tebriel: Yes, there is a Linux version of Opera. It is a verry good browser yet, I find the java support kind of minimal for now. Anyhow, that''s my view on it...



Cyberdrek
Headhunter Soft
DLC Multimedia

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