# MD3 Format

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mikeman    2942
Does anybody have any links to papers or tutorials that describe the MD3(Quake 3) model format, and how to load them? All I've found in the internet so far was some loaders with source code, but I would prefer to have a tutorial that describe the format in more detail. Thanks in advance.

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evolutional    1393
There's one at Game Tutorials

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mikeman    2942
Yes, I know, that was what I was talking about in my first post.
It's not too hard I guess to have a look at the code and figure things out, but I was just wondering if there is any paper(like in .pdf format or something) that describes the structure of the file and how to load it, I just find easier to understand those. Thanks anyway.

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evolutional    1393
I found this and even better this. The latter is from a Delphi OpenGL coding page and it contains a file called "Quake MD3 File Format" -

 The file structure of the md3 files, as far as we know at this time:Last Updated October8 1999!!Warning!!This document is very technical!It is assumed that you, the reader, have knowledge of programming C and have basic knowledge of 3d.Please note that:    Char is a 8bit integer variable type    Short is a 16bit integer variable type    Int is a 32bit integer variable type    Float is a 32bit floating point variable-type    Vec2 is float[2]    Vec3 is float[3]    Mat3x3 is float[3][3]    TexVec is a texture vector or texture u/v coordinateFirst start off with the header of the md3 file.MD3_HEADER:char ID[4];         //id of file, always "IDP3" int  Version;       //i suspect this is a version                     //number, always 15 char FileName[68];  //sometimes left Blank...                    //65 chars, 32bit aligned ==                     //68 chars int  BoneFrame_num; //number of BoneFramesint  Tag_num;       //number of 'tags' per BoneFrameint  Mesh_num;      //number of meshes/skins int  MaxSkin_num;   //maximum number of unique skins                    //used in md3 file int  HeaderLength;  //always equal to the length of                     //this header int  Tag_Start;     //starting position of                     //tag-structures int  Tag_End;       //ending position of                     //tag-structures/starting                    //position of mesh-structures int  FileSize;      //size of file     comments:If Tag_Start is the same as Tag_End then there are no tags.Tag_Num is sometimes 0, this is alright it means that there are no tags...i'm not sure what Tags are used for, altough there is a clear connectionwith boneframe, together they're probably used for bone based animations(where you rotate meshes around eachother to create animations). After the header comes a list of tags, if available.The ammount of tags is the header variable Tag_num times the header variable BoneFrame_num.So it is highly probably that tags have something to do with boneframes and that objectscan have 0 to n tags 'attached' to them.Note: We call them 'Tags' because the name in tag usually starts with "tag_".TAG:char Name[64];    //name of 'tag' as it's usually                                //called in the md3 files try to                                //see it as a sub-mesh/seperate                                //mesh-part.                                //sometimes this 64 string may                                //contain some garbage, but                                //i've been told this is because                               //some tools leave garbage in                               //those strings, but they ARE                               //strings...Vec3 Postition;   //relative position of tag Vec3x3 Rotation;   //the direction the tag is facing relative to the rest of the modelcomments:fairly obvious i think, the name is the name of the tag."position" is the relative position and "rotation" is the relative rotation to the rest of the model.After the tags come the 'boneframes', frames in the bone animation.The number of meshframes is usually identical to this number or simply 1.The header variable BoneFrame_num holds the ammount of BoneFrame..BONEFRAME://unverified: float  Mins[3];float  Maxs[3];float  Position[3];float  scale;char   Creator[16]; //i think this is the                     //"creator" name..                     //but i'm only guessing.     comments:Mins, Maxs, and position are very likely to be correct, scale is just a guess.If you divide the maximum and minimum xyz values of all the vertices from each meshframe you getthe exact values as mins and maxs..Position is the exact center of mins and maxs, most of the time anyway.Creator is very probably just the name of the program or file of which it (the boneframe?) was created..sometimes it's "(from ASE)" sometimes it's the name of a .3ds file. After the objects in the file are the mesh-headers.The header variable Mesh_num holds the ammount of Meshes..Note that a mesh consists out of the mesh-header, the skins, the triangles, the texture u/v coordinates and finally the vertices.Each mesh contains that data, and the next mesh will only start after the triangles, meshes etc. of the previous mesh.To my suprise there are .md3 files that don't have any meshes in them! This is something we need to look into.MESH:char ID[4];          //id, must be IDP3 char Name[68];       //name of mesh                      //65 chars,                      //32 bit aligned == 68 charsint  MeshFrame_num;  //number of meshframes                      //in mesh int  Skin_num;       //number of skins in mesh int  Vertex_num;     //number of vertices int  Triangle_num;   //number of Triangles int  Triangle_Start; //starting position of                      //Triangle data, relative                      //to start of Mesh_Header int  HeaderSize;     //size of header int  TexVec_Start;   //starting position of                      //texvector data, relative                      //to start of Mesh_Header int  Vertex_Start;   //starting position of                      //vertex data,relative                      //to start of Mesh_Header int  MeshSize;       //size of mesh               comments:Meshframe_num is the number of quake1/quake2 type frames in the mesh.(these frames work on a morph like way, the vertices are moved from one position to another instead of rotated around eachother like in bone-based-animations)Skin_num is the number of skins in the md3 file..These skins are animated.Triangle_Start, TexVec_Start & Vertex_Start are the number of bytes in the file from the start of the mesh header to the start of the triangle, texvec and vertex data (in that order). After the Mesh header come the skin structures used by the mesh.The mesh header variable Skin_num holds the ammount of skins..SKIN:char Name[68]; //name of skin used by mesh               //65 chars,                //32 bit aligned == 68 chars              comments:Name holds the name of the texture, relative to the baseq3 path.Q3 has a peculiar way of handling textures..The scripts in the /script directory in the baseq3 directory contain scripts that hold information about how some surfaces are drawn and animate (and out of how many layers it consist etc.)Now the strange thing is, if you remove the ".tga" at the end of the skin, and that name is used in the script files, than that scripted surface is used.If it isn't mentioned in the script files then the filename is used to load thetga file.After the Skins come the triangles.The mesh header variable Triangle_num holds the ammount of triangles..TRIANGLEint  Triangle[3]; //vertex 1,2,3 of triangle              comments:This is the simplest of structures.A triangle has 3 points which make up the triangle, each point is a vertex and the three ints that the triangle has point to those vertices.So you have a list of vertices, for example you have a list of 28 vertices and the triangle uses 3 of them: vertex 1, vertex 14 and vertex 7.Then the ints contain 1, 14 and 7. After the triangle data come the texture u/v coordinates of each vertex. The mesh header variable Vertex_num holds the ammount of u/v coordinates and vertices..You have an U/V coordinate per vertex.TEXTURE U/V COORDINATES:Vec2  TexVec; //Texture U/V coordinates of vertex            comments:U/V coordinates are basically the X/Y coordinates on the texture.This is used by the triangles to know which part of the skin to display. After the texture u/v coordinates come the vertices.The mesh header variable Vertex_num holds the ammount of vertices per frame, and the mesh header variable MeshFrame_num contains the ammount of frames in the mesh.So you have MeshFrame_num times Vertex_num vertices.VERTICES:             //!!!important!!! signed!signed short Vec[3];   //vertex X/Y/Z coordinateunsigned char EnvTex[2];   //enviromental mapping texture coordinates              comments:Vec contains the 3d xyz coordinates of the vertices that form the model.EnvTex contains the texture coordinates for the enviromental mapping.Why does md3 have a second set of texture coordinates?Because:1. these texture coordinates need to be interpolated when the model changes shape,2. these texture coordinates are different from the normal texture coordinates but still both need to be used (with shaders you can have multi-layered surfaces, one could be an enviromental map, an other could be a transparent texture)

Might be useful?

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mikeman    2942
Thanks!!
I will definately have a look at the samples, but I just needed a technical document describing exactly the stucture of the file. It will be very helpful.
I've already rated you up (not that it made a big difference). Thanks again.

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CrystalClear    160

http://www.linux.ucla.edu/~phaethon/q3/formats/md3format.html