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Need better 3D format (used 3DS)

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Hello ! I used the 3DS format some years now. But it's not very new... ;) ...and also not well documentated (concerning the use of the LCS matrix + rotational pivot point + node-matrix). I spent a lot of time for finding informations about all this... so I already know all documentations...also the ones from spark@discreet but none of them covered these things and nobody could show me a loader who can load all models correctly. Especially models which are scaled and whose pivot is not at the default/reset position in 3ds max. This is very frustrating cause I spent much time for the 3DS loader and never found help to make him 100% complete. Anyway...can you recommend me a new file format which I should try to use instead of 3DS ? It should be an actual one and it should be one of the files 3ds max can export. It should have materials, lights, and animation information and it should be WELL documentated :) I also heard that some people write there own object formats, but don't know how this works together with 3ds max. Do you know ? Maybe this is the best but sounds very time intensive for programming the export and the loader. I know there are some quake and quake II tutorials around but I don't think they are better than 3ds, right ? Thanks for any suggestions and recommendations ! :) Best greetings, Megelan

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I think one of the Maya formats might suit you well. I believe it's ASC which is used commonly.

The common game formats aren't unified in the same way -- Quake style models only include geometry/animation and texturing information. They don't have complete scenes, because the scenes are part of the levels.

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Have you looked at DirectMesh? It doesn't hold lighting information, but it does everything else, and it's very easy to use. It comes with a full SDK which includes source code, full documentation, samples, tutorials, and a 3ds max exporter.

I'm currently planning DirectMesh 1.1, which will support skinning, multiple subsets, and animation blending.

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Go to the Softimage (www.softimage.com) and look for the XSI File format and the dotXSI SDK. This is a really nice format with a very good API to load the information. It even includes exporters for the major 3D modellers. We are using it in every proyect now. Softimage only asks you to send a mail asking for permission to use the format in your project.

And... if you want to leave 3DStudio completely, you can buy the SoftimageXSI foundation. Really good modelling package at a really low price.

Luck!
Guimo

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Thanks for your replies !

I use OpenGL so DirectMesh is not a choice for me :)
And I would like to continue using GMax/3DSMax instead
of Softimage (I have not the time to write a new object
reader AND buy/learn using another 3d editor ;) )

But I read the dotXSI is an ASCII based file format.
So is the ASE (ASCII scene export) which is possible to
export from 3ds max (http://www.solosnake.com/main/ase.htm)

It looks similar to the 3ds format. What do you think about
ASE...any experiences with this format ? Is it better than
3DS (especially better documentated) ?

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The dotXSI file can be exported as an ASCII file or! as a Binary compressed file.

A big advantage of the dotXSI Format is, that there is an
importer plugin for 3DSMAX. So you can write Tools that
write or modify your 3d data outside of 3DSMAX and
(re)import it in 3DSMAX.

So I would definitely have a look at it.

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I've been using ASE format for quite some time now. I have no experience with ASE and animation/skinnig however.

As you already know ASE is very well documented, it can handle pretty much stuff, but as mentioned it has no import plugin for 3DSMAX.

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