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Model Loading and Animation

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A bit ago I was told that .X file format is terrible. Of course since I'm working with 3D for the first time, I only followed tutorials online. They are pretty limited, and don't go over anything specific to games really (optimizations). I was told the .fdx format was much better and has much more support. However all I know how to do is load .x files into my game. My first question is where can I find tutorials / documentation on loading any type of model format into my game. I'm sure there's a pretty general way of doing it regardless of the format and excluding the details; ways to set it up in DirectX, how to store, modify things. My second question is where can I find tutorials / documentation on putting animation into my game. Basically "How do I create an art pipeline for my 3D engine?" Thanks

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