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Bad Maniac

What model format would you recommend?

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I gathered together a small group to try and make a basic 3D game, and we're currently designing and discussing what we need to imlpement. We'd like to have a 3D model format supported by most 3D modelling software, and that has built in support for skeletal animation. Preferably also something that is easy to parse and load into OGL. So, any recommendations?

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Half-Life .mdl format

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These are all good suggestions (although I might shy away from the .mdl format). In my engine, I use milkshape3d's built-in format. You can use the binary format to increase loading speed, or you can use the ASCII format for cross-platform portability. Either way, MS3D's a good skeletal animation basis as far as I've found. A good tutorial on loading/rendering is Here

Cons for MS3D (Off the top of my head):
No support for multiple vertex bone weights. Each vertex belongs to exactly one bone.
No support for multiple sets of texture coordinates, you can only have a primary TC set.

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ms3d looks nice, but I can't seem to find a working ms3d exporter for Blender anywhere. So since we're using blender, what choices do we have? Or does anyone have a working ms3d exporter for Blender?

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There's the dotXSI http://www.softimage.com/connect/xsi/
File ToolKit (FTK) available for free.
PlugIns for popular tools (3DSMax, Maya, SoftImage|XSI...) also available.

The Semantic Layer made it way easier to use.

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Quote:
Optus
you can use the ASCII format for cross-platform portability


The only issue you have with binary formats is litle vs. big EDIAN, which you can work around in code (just a bit of byte swapping). But I don't think many games are targeted at that many different types of hardware.

Quote:
Bad Maniac
since we're using blender


The scrpting api of blender is rather easy to use and python isn't realy that hard. So you might just write an export for whatever format you like.

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I had a lot of fun working with md5 models (Doom3's format). They're in a rather nice plain-text format, have a pretty decent skeletal animation system, and there are exporters for the format readily avalible.

That being said, though, there are a few quirks to it, and I'd say it's better for a hobby project rather than something big. Just depends on what you need.

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The more I look at the .X format, the nicer it seems. looks like it has everything we need. Has anyone used .x to an extent and could possibly consider giving us a few pointers where to find good resources on how to manually parse .x files?

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For characters, DOOM 3 md5 format, for levels... well, depends on your needs, I have been thinking about an octree binary file for NWN like RPG enviroments, but that you could use seamlessly like UO does (the player never sees a loading screen).

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