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3ds models and normals

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I'm having some trouble with getting incorrect normals when I load 3ds models. - is the 3ds format the problem? I've tested several models and several loaders and they all have the same problem. - if I change to some other file format for my models, which one should I pick? And where can I find a free model loader for that file format?

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I tested l3ds first, then lib3ds. Both were configured according to the instructions etc., loaded into vertex buffer objects, and rendered as usual. By the way, the l3ds homepage stated that the 3ds file format could cause such errors with normals, because the 3ds file format doesn't store normals, but rather stores something called smoothing groups, which are then converted to normals upon loading, but sometimes fails to recreate the original normals data. So basically I'm looking for a 3d file format that is guaranteed to store the normals correctly...

The test models were 5 different randomly chosen models from this page, and all gave problems with the normals:
http://modelsbank.3dm3.com/

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