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World file format??

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I know this is old topic, but what is the best format?

The format that most accurately meets the needs of your project.


Is lib3ds used commercially?

Rarely, if ever. The 3DS format is antiquated and cumbersome, and is rarely (if ever) used in commercial games. I suspect a lot of the reason it remains popular among hobby developers is because its something Max can export natively, and since it's well-known that Max is used with great frequency in the industry, the assumption is that one of its native formats must be used in the industry as well.

But that's not true.

Most commercial games will use a format that is proprietary to the underlying engine, and will use a custom exporter for Max or Maya to save models in that format. A custom format is the most likely to meet your projects needs exactly, so in that respect it is the best, but of course it takes work to design the format, implement loaders and exporters, and so on. So in that respect it might be consider the worst option. You have to decide for yourself.

As far as existing formats go, I would strongly recommend against 3DS, because (as I said) it's old and crufty and lacks support for modern features. Doom III's MD5 models are fairly easy to parse, and the Direct3D .X format is quite extensible and useful as well (particularly if you're already using D3D, but you can load them without the aid of the D3DX helpers). There's also COLLADA, which may be worth looking into.

Somehow I missed the "world" part.
The formats I was talking about above are for model data. World geometry is a much different beast; it tends not to be animated, but should instead be arranged in a fashion that allows the unseen areas of the world to be easily culled away. That's why a lot of people cook their world geometry into BSP trees. .3ds is still a bad format for world data, since you'll tend to end up with a single gigantic mesh chunk that can easily be culled (unless you waste a lot of time in the modeller massaging the data).

[Edited by - jpetrie on June 5, 2007 7:07:48 AM]

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