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ibebrett

Model Format for Graphics Class

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One of my professors at school wanted to know what the best model format to look into for the 3D Graphics class is. Basically the requirements for the format is that it be easy to parse, and contain information about materials, textures etc.. Also, it would be nice if it was commonly available for most 3d art programs to export. I wasn't exactly sure what to recommend, but I figure GameDev would be the best bet. Thanks in advance.

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obj or x files are both easy to parse human readable formats. There should be exporters for both available for all major modelling tools.

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Does it need to support animation?

If not, .obj is pretty common. Practically every art package supports it, and it's almost trivial to write an importer.

If it needs to support animation, the field gets a bit hairy. MD2 is really easy, MD3 is a tad harder but more robust, MS3D is popular (though there really aren't a lot of free models for it). The 3DMax format is OK from what I hear, though I've never used it personally.

Cheers,
--Brian

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Most decent 3D art editors allow you to write custom export plugins.
With that in mind then choosing a best format is just a matter of deciding what suits you best.

An easy and flexible solution is just to make your own format. This works reasonably well although you won't find any pre-made art in this format (so you might want to write a format converter).

If you want to use an existing file format then here's a list of the usuals.
I've never used the COLLADA format, but I've not heard bad things either; wiki says it's reasonably well supported, modern and XML based so not too hard to parse either.

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