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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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Quote:
Original post by Bad Maniac
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?


You might want to take a look at this article. [smile]

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Quote:
Original post by Kwizatz
For characters, DOOM 3 md5 format


Where can I find resources on that?

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.X format is okay... ****HOWEVER****, if you care about having your in-game models look great w/ shaders and materials, then either write your own .X exporter for Max, or find a different format.

On my last project, we ran into a whole world of trouble trying to use the Panda exporter for .X format. We could get a basic model exported, but it wasn't handling materials properly. (I don't know if this is the artist's fault for using it incorrectly, but according to him, he tried everything possible to get it to work).

roos

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Well, Blender has native .x exporting, so hopefully that'll work for us. Thanks for all your feedback.

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I use the md2 format. It is pretty simple and fits my needs perfectly. I don't need weighted vertices or anything like that. I just need verts, texUVs and keyframe animation works fine for me. The files aren't too big, and there were many tuts when I looked. Blender has an exporter too, though I haven't tested it too much. If you need anything more complex, I'd say the md5 probably is the best from what I've heard, though I've never used it.

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Recommended Softimage dotXSI file format. The FTK makes all the job easier.

Luck!
Guimo

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