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davek20

Character Models And Animation Questions

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Hey guys, I have a few general questions about models and animations. I plan to have some parts of my game implemented by the start of September. I planning on making an action/adventure game, like "Zelda: Ocarina of Time" type of game play and style. I'm going to use OpenGL for sure. I've looked into a few different model formats to use in my game, but really can't decide on a "good" one. I've coded up a MD2 and an MD3 model loader, and looked at .X files briefly. So here are my questions: 1) Are there any programs/plugins that will export to MD3 format? I couldn't find anything about creating character models and their animations. I like the MD3 format since its easy to use, animate and attach other models (like weapons). 2) What are some other model formats out there other then MD2/3 and .X files that are used in games? Could you also give a link to the file description if there is one, and if there are programs that create them, please tell me the name. I'm looking for a format that has some type of exporter/program that will create them, supports animations and is easy to attach weapons to it. I've looked at some lists of model formats but I got overloaded with info and different formats :S 3) Which is better between bone based animations (.X) and frame based animations (MD2/3)? 4) Or would it be better if I just made up my own model format and created an exporter for my modeling program?

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Best program to create your meshes and animations (and its free!):
http://www.softimage.com/products/modtool/
Supports plug-ins to export halflife, unreal and .x models.

MD2/3 isn't exactly frame based animation rather than vertex based. Instead of interpolating bones it interpolates between vertex positions. Both systems use keyframes to guide the animation and feature smooth transitions from keyframe to keyframe.

Vertex position interpolation is linear, so it can temporarily shorten the limbs as they move, if you use too few keyframes. Bones can be more difficult to set up, but they keep their length and shape between keyframes.

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Thanks for the reply. I'll check out that program on Monday. I'll also look into the Half-Life and Unreal model formats, see what kinds of things they have on there. By the looks of everything, it is turning out that bone animations are somewhat more used than vertex/frame animations, so I guess I SHOULD use them. (I call it frame based amination since each frame says where the new position of the vertices are :) )

Teebee, have you made any models in that program you suggested? Could you just describe your experiences with it, if you have any.

To everyone:
Has anyone ever created a bone animation model here from scratch (any program)? How hard is it? And how long did it take to create a decent model with several animations? Any tutorials that you guys recommend for creating models with bone animation?

I hope to have a model loaded by the end of the month, and be able to animate some of it.

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Ok, I've done a bit of research and I've decided to try out Source's SMD format for my models. The format is pretty easy to understand and there is a few documents I found that will help.

I just have a few questions to anyone that has used the SMD format for models, or knows what to do.

1) By looking at a few the different models, I noticed that there is usually a reference_model.smd (holds the mesh for it, the texture names and the bone names) there there are a LOT of other SMD files that are the animation files for the bones. Is there some kind of file that lists all the animation files or something like that so all of them can be loaded at once?

2) Is there a tutorial on the basic idea of rendering and animating a model with bones that you guys would suggest? I've never tried to animate models with bones.

Thanks

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