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Leo_E_49

Good Mesh + Bones File Formats?

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I plan to write a mesh and bones loader for use in future projects, however I cannot decide upon a Mesh and Bone Animation file format. The requirements are: - These formats must be supported by a readily available modelling package. (e.g. 3DSMAX, Maya, Milkshape, Lightwave, etc) - It must be suitable for use with low poly models for games (including skeletal animation). - It must include bones, animations and bone weights for each vertex. - It is preferable if I do not have to use a file format conversion plugin to setup the file in the modeller. - I don't have too much time to mess around with writing a plugin, unless absolutely necessary. - It's preferable if the format isn't tied up in a licence, I don't want to have to write to a company to ask about permission to write a loader. - I am not too keen on the .X file format, because this is a learning exercise and I'm writing for DirectX firstly and OpenGL later. I'd prefer to write the loader myself. Basically, something that a game artist wouldn't mind modelling/animating for with an existing package which I can use in future projects. I'd also like any information anyone has on where to find the details of such file formats. I will be writing the loader in C++ and storing it in my own classes, for use with DirectX and/or OpenGL. No worries about complexity, I have written 3D model loaders before (albeit not skinned mesh ones). Also, I've already got information on the .3DS, .MDL, .OBJ, .MD3, .ASE formats, what is your opinion of these?

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You could check out FBX there is an sdk for loading the files and the files can be exported from 3ds, maya and more. However, the model is most likely saved in a way that is not usuable in a realtime 3d engine, so some comversion is needed. Another format is Collada (http://www.collada.org/public_forum/welcome.php) which is much more realtime related however the exporters are not 100% finished.

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Cheers mate! :)

I'm also looking at MD3, it seems to be the best documented and easiest to use. Heard anything about that format? I'm wondering if I can use it in a commercial game without any trouble?

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its from id and i think they permit commercial use

but to be on the save side you could use it for the beginning and create your own modelformat

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It may be worth while to check out the .xsi format as well, which is the format I chose to use for my next project. dotXSI files are the format exported by the XSI Mod tool (which is a free modeling/animation program).

The format of .xsi files is a bit unintuitive, but overall they are simple to use.

If you want to look into them, you should download the dotXSI FTK (an API/kit that allows one to import .xsi models, animations, and materials), and take a look at it. There are also a few good tutorials here, here, and here.

Anyway, I hope that helps. [smile]

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