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Lavarider

Recommended File Format?

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Hi guys..So here we are, starting what is hopefully going to become our very own RTS game, when we thought of something that we wanted info on before we continued. What file formats do you recommend for the game? Primarily, what 3d file format that supports multiple animations and Directx 9 do you recommend? To a lesser degree, is it a smart idea to make our engine XML compatible for editing, or stick with C++? Thanks! Edit: Just thought...With the 3d file format, we would like it to be one that is at least marginally quick to render, as this game is designed to have a LOT of active units on the screen at once.

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The 3d format isn't going to have any bearing whatsoever on the render time ...

Anyways, look at COLLADA and FBX. Both are very artist friendly formats that can hold all the data you'd need to import.

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It is to a degree because of how open the format is. There is a variety of ways to store essentially the same data in the format. You can get around this by:

* Writing your own custom COLLADA exporter that will export the data out to how you want it to be organized.

* Write a converter than will check COLLADA files to see which application it was exported from an use different methods to extract the data based on the application that exported it.

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For some reason a ton of 3d programming books teach programmers to use the .x format, but there is a complete lack of decent .x exporters for artists to use. My feedback I'm providing you with is that of someone with a technical art background. The exporters that exists for the .x format for Maya and Max (at least) are not easy to use as they are not very well documented at all.

Whatever format you do use please put some effort into the pipeline for artists to be able to get their works into your format. A lot of people just wind up making their own formats and exporters to support them. That ensures you have exactly the data that you want and you can decide how that data is exported from the artists' tools.

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Ok...so Right now I like the idea of Collada...but one last question...what about the Panda .X exporter for Max? Do you know anything about that?

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Quote:
Original post by Lavarider
To a lesser degree, is it a smart idea to make our engine XML compatible for editing, or stick with C++? Thanks!

XML is a way to format data. The question shouldn't be whether or not to use XML, but what information should be hard-coded and what should be data-driven. Then, for the data-driven parts, determine the format(s). XML is an option, but it's also possible to define your own formats, or to use other existing formats (which would make sense if you're using existing tools).

I'd say, write down your requirements and determine your options. Then pick the one that suits your requirements best. For saving settings, a plain text will likely suffice, or xml if you find that easier to parse. For level files, a custom (usually binary) format is often better because it's more compact, and, with some care, can sometimes be loaded directly into memory without further processing. For other data, other formats may be more appropriate.

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