I've reached the point with my hobby 'engine' where I'm working on importing third-party models, both static geometry (buildings, terrain, trees, etc) and animated/rigged characters.
I've no desire to reinvent the wheel and write hundreds of importers, it would be pointless given that most tools convert to/from the various file formats, but obviously I will need at least something
. Problem is I'm unsure what to support: so far I've implemented an OBJ loader (for simple static stuff) since it's pretty trivial and am just putting the finishing touches to an MD5 importer for rigged/skinned animated models.
However I've noticed that (for example) Blender does not seem to support exporting of MD5 models (or at least not out-of-the-box?)
1. What file format(s) would people suggest I support? Ideally it would be one, common, open-source, well-documented format for both static and animated models, but I don't know if such a thing exists.
2. I refer to Blender since AFAIK it's quite widely used and is free - are there more ubiquitous or better (free) tools out there?
3. If there is no 'obvious' answer to the question, does anyone have any suggestions for file formats where at least there are lots of free and easily available models (again both static and rigged) on t'interweb. e.g. 3DS (hideous binary format, poorly documented, but just about does the job?)
Note that I'm not looking for plug-ins, third-party libraries, etc. (although links to open-source code are always welcome) as I want to do this from first principles as part of learning this stuff (yes I am a masochist
). Also I'm not a modeller, I'm just looking for free animated models that I can nick and use.
I realise this same question has been asked many, many times (obviously been searching in Google on this and other similar sites) but most of the information is at best misleading and usually way out-of-date, so any advice or suggestions are appreciated in advance.