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  Importers: Status, features, future  (Read 6478 times)
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Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Posted 2004-01-20 05:09:24 »

There is an built-in ".ase" importer in Xith3d. That's nice. Also on the Xith-Toolkit page I read some more importers are basically there, like MD2, OBJ, etc. but they're all marked as "draft".

Is the Ase importer the most complete one for Xith3d? Will there be more importers in future?

Is there a list, which important features are being supported, which are still missing, and so on? (For example: animation, multi-texturing, ...)
(Maybe the list could include Ase as well as the toolkit importers) ?

If the Ase importer is the most complete one for Xith3d: I could use some 3d models but they are not  in Max/Ase format. I could (let) convert them however with a tool like Deepexplorer, which can read Ase but not export (just .asc). http://www.righthemisphere.com/products/dexp/formats.htm
So I suppose I've got a problem: would like to import some 3d models to Xith3d but it can't read the format... :-)
Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


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« Reply #1 - Posted 2004-01-20 05:29:32 »

What format are your models in? Could you write the importer and contribute it to Xith?

The MD2 loader, 3DS loader and OBJ loader are marked draft because they haven't been through any rigourous testing or been used in any solid project to ensure quality. (I marked them that way).

The MD2 and OBJ should be complete to the format. The 3DS loader is missing a few relatively important chunks (transparency for one, environment maps/multitexturing being another). However I've not got enough time to get anything done, let alone the 3DS loader. The source is available in each of the downloads and making additions shouldn't be too tricky.

Kev

Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #2 - Posted 2004-01-20 06:16:34 »

Quote
What format are your models in? Could you write the importer and contribute it to Xith?

Various formats like Maya, Lightwave, ...
I don't think I'm smart enough to write importers for these formats.

Quote
The MD2 and OBJ should be complete to the format.

Ok thanks for the info. Also thanks for having developed these importers!
Games published by our own members! Check 'em out!
Legends of Yore - The Casual Retro Roguelike
Offline aNt

Senior Duke




AFK


« Reply #3 - Posted 2004-01-21 08:36:05 »

a maya loader would rock!. but i bet that is well tricky. they seem to change lots of stuff every update they make. maya5 loader would be sweet.

3ds loader is cool Smiley duss animation. hope kev has time to tinker with it more Wink
Offline Java Cool Dude

Senior Duke




Java forever


« Reply #4 - Posted 2004-01-21 09:31:23 »

I heard some dude made a MD3 loader, I wonder where'd he go Tongue
Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 186
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Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #5 - Posted 2004-01-21 09:38:29 »

If anyone does fancy having a go at a Maya Loader, the ASCII format seems to be here:

http://caad.arch.ethz.ch/info/maya/manual/FileFormats/

Kev

Offline xbrain

Senior Newbie




Java games are the Future


« Reply #6 - Posted 2004-01-21 10:20:02 »

How to make approved for model loaders? I coded a MD2 loader from my own , trying to keep code clean and optimized  enough (load < 1sec) to be efficient. I'm currently designing it for xith.

It would be interesting to have a "wish list" to know what kind of model format is the most plebiscited Smiley

XBrain - Don't let others control your Mind...
Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #7 - Posted 2004-01-21 11:56:20 »

Quote
It would be interesting to have a "wish list" to know what kind of model format is the most plebiscited :)

Well, I'd vote for Maya and Lightwave. ;-)
I've been surprised how many (3d) artists using these applications I've met in industry. Interestingly enough, several times they used both: one to model, the other one to animate. I think several professional studios do this, too: Ground Control (1 - my favourite PC game ever) used Lightwave, and if I remember correctly the ID guys do currently do something similar (LW -> Maya, or such?)

Most important, however: not to have hundreds of importers to Xith3d, all with "draft" status (hey Kev, this one isn't intended towards you, I'm more generally speaking :-), but a few very solid ones which include all "common" features.

Also let's not forget the skeleton/animation stuff: if an importer misses this it could be a knock-out argument.
Offline kevglass

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Medals: 186
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Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #8 - Posted 2004-01-21 12:41:06 »

Quote

Most important, however: not to have hundreds of importers to Xith3d, all with "draft" status (hey Kev, this one isn't intended towards you, I'm more generally speaking :-), but a few very solid ones which include all "common" features.


Thanks for metioning that, seem to be in an over-sensitive mood today Wink

However, I disgree slightly with the not having lots of importers. From a commerical point of view its really important to get a couple just right but from a hobbiest view where you don't have the money for the tools (or more annoyingly the artists) its important to support a large range of formats to make use of the free/community art around. I realise convertors can be used to switch between formats but there rarely do a clean conversion. (hmmm.. idea, maybe I'll write a model conversion tool at some point Smiley )

Kev

Offline Yuri Vl. Gushchin

Senior Duke




Speak Java!


« Reply #9 - Posted 2004-01-21 16:05:57 »

Quote
If anyone does fancy having a go at a Maya Loader,


I already started with Maya loader and I have functional parser already. Parser is done with JavaCC, so it is very simple to code if you are familiar with BNFs, grammars, etc. But, anyway, for now it is very application-specific - I have to import animated characters to Xith3D, so this is not only Maya loading part, but alsi skeletal animations, vertex programming, etc. involved.

The best idea is to write full interpreter for MEL that will operate on Xith3D-style scenegraph, but for that we will have to make all Maya-compatible nodes. Writing interpreter is not so complicated, but the most complicated part (for me) is to reconstruct MEL execution environment. And, of course, I don't want to re-invent Maya.

Yuri

P.S. When it will be ready? Have no idea for any public version for now.

Yuri Vl. Gushchin
JProof Group
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Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #10 - Posted 2004-02-14 04:43:16 »

Quote
The 3DS loader is missing a few relatively important chunks (transparency for one, environment maps/multitexturing being another).Kev

With the help of And and Javacooldude you've added transparency recently, isn't it? :-) Sounds fine.
Will multi-texturing be included, too?
In case of that I think I could well use your loader, too.

Btw I'm not familiar with 3d-Studio:
- .3ds is the 3D-Studio binary file format.
- .asc is the ASCII version of that.
- .ase is the 3D-Studio "ASCII Scene Export". Aside ASCII, what's the difference to .3ds please ?

Thanks. :-)
Offline kevglass

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« Reply #11 - Posted 2004-02-14 05:19:37 »

Quote

- .ase is the 3D-Studio "ASCII Scene Export". Aside ASCII, what's the difference to .3ds please ?  


Should be nothing other than ascii.

Not sure about multitexture support, I didn't find anything in the spec to describe it.. but then the spec isn't very good (at least the one I've got). I can try on next patch of time.

Kev

Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #12 - Posted 2004-02-14 07:59:53 »

Quote

Should be nothing other than ascii.

I see. Do William and you share some code when it comes to the task of transforming/computing the 3d-studio data to Xith3d? Or is it better to have two totally different loaders?

Quote
Not sure about multitexture support, I didn't find anything in the spec to describe it.. but then the spec isn't very good (at least the one I've got). I can try on next patch of time.

Thanks a lot! Good importers help Xith3d a lot. :-)  And of course the Xith3d users. ;-)
Offline kevglass

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Medals: 186
Projects: 24
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #13 - Posted 2004-02-14 08:19:56 »

Quote

I see. Do William and you share some code when it comes to the task of transforming/computing the 3d-studio data to Xith3d? Or is it better to have two totally different loaders?


Currently the code bases are completely seperate, although there was a topic recently where we talked about combining bits and pieces.

Tbh, I view my loader as a stop gap, there's a central code base for parsing 3DS files already in existence which I believe there is someone working on the Xith use of..

Kev

Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #14 - Posted 2004-03-05 08:39:17 »

There's a free plugin for Maya, which exports an ASE file. Not animated, I'm afraid...

It's on the Epic game page. For Maya5 for example it's named: ActorXTool_Maya50_230.zip Maya 5.0/5.0.1
Anyone maybe with experiences on this plugin?


Well, the task of loading 3d models to Xith is still a very tricky one when you depend on external 3d models (be it from (free) Web sites or from designer friends far away). However the task improves, slowly but steady. It's very good to see Kevin's nice 3DS loader improve over the time, as well as David's and William's ASE loader. (I read about in the forum, so far I've just used the 3ds loader).
Would it be a good moment to think about joining the efforts of Kevin's and David/William's loader?

I know a good importer is a very tough task and I'm just a importer user, so it's easy for me to mutter about "let's join forces" blabla. Btw. does anyone need a 50% finished Lightwave importer? ;-)
Basically what's my "vision": for example Kevin works on his animation support for 3DS files and voila - the support's also there in the ASE loader. Because they share some kind of "xith importer base" or such, oh well.
Offline William Denniss

JGO Coder


Projects: 2


Fire at will


« Reply #15 - Posted 2004-03-05 10:38:02 »

It's good that Maya exports ASE (is it the same format do you know or just the same extension?)  The documents on ASE are very scarce, I had a fairly hard time finding something as trivial as the pivot point (and worked it out just by exporting two files and diff-ing them...).

It's crazy that MAX doesn't import ASE files too since it exports them.

Just how would the joint effort work exactally?  Would there really much code that would be shared?  The only code really in the Ase loader which is fairly generic is my TransformGroup chaining (the TG Trees) code.  I was considering plonking that in a generic geom loader class but couldn't see an immediate use for it (if there is one please tell me).  Maybe any animation stuff would be more generic too although as you know it's non-existant in the ASE loader.

I am all for defining some Loader interface which is actually used however - although that's not exactlly sharing code just agreeing on a common way of accessing the data.

Cheers,

Will.

Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #16 - Posted 2004-03-05 12:29:55 »

Quote
It's good that Maya exports ASE (is it the same format do you know or just the same extension?)

The export is an ASCII file, starting with: *3DSMAX_ASCIIEXPORT

Quote
It's crazy that MAX doesn't import ASE files too since it exports them.

Yes, indeed. I read that Maya doesn't export the .OBJ format properly, and it's from Alias, like Maya is. :-|
So now we found a free plugin for Maya to write static ASE files, and on the Maya homepage there's a free plugin to read 3DS files. What's missing is reading ASE files and writing 3DS files. So that you could tell all your 3dStudio and Maya friends: give me some ASE or 3DS file please and let me import it to Xith! :-)

Quote
Just how would the joint effort work exactally?  Would there really much code that would be shared?  The only code really in the Ase loader which is fairly generic is my TransformGroup chaining (the TG Trees) code.  I was considering plonking that in a generic geom loader class but couldn't see an immediate use for it (if there is one please tell me).  Maybe any animation stuff would be more generic too although as you know it's non-existant in the ASE loader.

Well, I've confess I don't know the Java3d loaders. Maybe they already do something we should think of.

For a start it would be important that the loaders use the same interface, so that the user can really change them simply, like:
1  
2  
3  
4  
5  
6  
Loader3DS loader1 = new Loader3DS(flags);  // Like GenerateMipMap etc.
LoaderASE loader2 = new LoaderASE(flags);
LoaderLWO loader3 = new LoaderLWO(flags);
NodeLoaded node = loaderX.load("File.xzy");
...
node.nextAnimationFrame etc.

* Animating a loaded model should basically work in the same way for the user, no matter of the loaded format. Or am I too optimistic about the complexity of animation?
* NormalGeneration: we talked about in another thread. Ideally it would belong to the Xith core/utils package.
* UV maps: don't know how it's handled in ASE and 3DS but for Lightwave (LW in short) you've to double vertex pairs and use new UV pairs when the UV pair isn't the same for one vertex. This however can disturb the smoothing/vertex-normals information, so a general "magic" routine could be nice for all loaders needing such stuff. Comparable to the NormalGeneration one, but really just loader centric. :-)
* Your nice TransformGroup chaining (TG trees) should be a common thing to loaders. I don't know how far Kevin is with that topic on the 3ds loader front.

Quote
I am all for defining some Loader interface which is actually used however - although that's not exactlly sharing code just agreeing on a common way of accessing the data.

Probably an interface would be a good starting point. To standardize the loading process for the user as a first step.
However sharing code could be nice, too. Having your TG-tree stuff in the 3DS loader would be as nice as having Kevin's animation stuff in your ASE loader. And so on. :-)

One day there should be also support for "high tech" stuff like Multi-Textures. 3DS and ASE don't know this feature? Lightwave does; but it's the last activley used (by it's modeler) format basing on geometry. While .MAX and .MB/.MA base on edit-command-history, so that it's probably very difficult to read in a .MAX or .MB/.MA file directly for a general Xith loader. Commercial convertors like DeepExploration or PolyTrans always use the modeler's DLLs to let do the edit-command-history to geometry building, so they only work on the artist's machines...

In the OpenSource area the modeler named Blender is being used in nice ways. {Edit:} However so far I failed to import/export the basic 3DS format (the used plugin reported errors; however I read there are other plugins?).

So we see: not only we Xith users are keen on nice importers. ;-)
Offline snaga

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #17 - Posted 2004-03-05 14:40:40 »

Have you think on just adding *.x format?

I'll explain.I'm a 2d/3d artist.  I have experienced good results with *.x (directx) format.

IMHO most weird and problems bringer feature in format conversions is animation. Even more when traslating bones and weights. For this, imho, best way to go is this format.

See, you are all talking about Max, Lightwavem, Maya...you are gonna need developing time for each..! and trust me, each version adds more functions, usually require heavy remake, so often importers stay tied to an old package version.

dx files, in what is mesh uvs, smoothing, keep compatible since lot of time. A dx5 , 7, etc mesh opens well in a dx8, 9 engine.

dx8 *.x format can be loaded with its bones, animation and weights, in any dx8, dx8.1 or dx9 engine. So it seems quite compatible, at least is in this file format...

Don't take me wrong, I'm not a MS fan, is just this format as solved much issues for me. The format can be text or binary, and carries things like interpolation (spline or linear) , materials(several values of it), vertex colors , bones, weights, keyframes, etc, etc.

And as far as I know you don't need to support all.

- Maya has got a free plugin for export x. And it said to wrk very well. That'd do for character animations, but..also for objects, levels, etc Smiley

-Max has panda exporter. version for Max 6 works pretty well. Anyway, the user needs to get used a pair of sessions with it, as there are tricks. But it works well. Also free.

-Lightwave has also a free dx8 exporter (I tend to thinkdx 8 version is the more standard)

-XSI also has a free one.

-3d canvas

-blender (soon)

-truespace 4 with free plugin. 6.6 with comercial plugin.

-Hash animation Master with cheap plugin...

-Milkshape, but as Milkshape do not support weights (for human type of joint blending)  it's seen not so nicely.

-free deled editor (this is only for level editing)

- free zanooza modeller (objects, very good)

And there are several more. But don't want to bore you...

Just i keep not understanding why engines make 3 times the effort to support 3 packages instead of this format and they're done... Wink

Just a comment.

Smiley


Offline snaga

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #18 - Posted 2004-03-05 14:44:46 »

btw, in what refers to character animation, if weights per bone is to performance wasting (it ws for old pc games) , stick with md2.

But...imho that one has several problems/limits (of course much more limited than *.x)

If were to add md2, I think first in sometype of interpolation between keyframe-meshes (like GameStudio does) , so the engine generates the interpolation between two OBJs. I know obj is generally supported in java, and is one of the best, if not the best static mesh format.

Of course, the way to use less memory is a bone based format instead of interpolated keyframe meshes (wether if you do with md2, or my idea of interpolated OBJs)


Offline snaga

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #19 - Posted 2004-03-05 14:48:25 »

Bombadil...

Blender already even import/export md2 Smiley

but also 3ds, OBJ (I have imported a 2000 tris character into blender, modelled in Wings3d) and several others.

animations, if bone based, are way mor ecomplex to add to a format.
Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #20 - Posted 2004-03-05 15:58:33 »

Quote
And there are several more. But don't want to bore you...

Your comments are welcome. Eventually one of the "artist's front" joins the discussion, that's nice. :-)

Quote
Just i keep not understanding why engines make 3 times the effort to support 3 packages instead of this format and they're done... ;)

Well, apparantly most of the Xith3d users tend to do hobby games programming (*), so depend on those many free 3d models floating around on the Web. Probably most are in some Max or Maja format, also Lightwave I saw a lot. It looks like the .3DS format seems to be very popular probably because it can do all the things the other "older" formats can, plus animation. On Turbosquid for example many artists transform their models to the .3DS format, even if they used another modeler to create it (and many forget to tell the converter to do hierarchy export, and so the resulting .3DS files are flat and you can't do any nice TransformGroup-tree transformation).

Does the X-format support multi-texturing? Well, there's some natural hesitation when I hear the word Microsoft, SCO, ... ;-)  Also I think it wouldn't be trivial to do a X to Xith3d loader from scratch...


(*) At least this is what my small poll says, named Do you use Xith3d for a project?
(Btw please vote, guys and girls :-)
Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #21 - Posted 2004-03-05 16:05:41 »

Quote
Blender already even import/export md2 :)
but also 3ds, OBJ (I have imported a 2000 tris character into blender, modelled in Wings3d) and several others.

Wings3d I love because it's so intuitive that even a non-artist like me managed to create a sphere. ;-)  Also it reads and writes my tested 3DS model files so far.
Unfortunately no textures, no animations. :-(
So I thought well let's try Blender. Its rendered output looks lovely (the screenshots on its W3 site), however when I tried one 3DS import  plugin (Python, has been on an external, dark, W3 site) it failed miserably. :-|

Which 3DS and OBJ plugin do you use? Do they run with the current Blender version? (v2.32) ?

Thanks.
Offline snaga

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #22 - Posted 2004-03-05 18:57:31 »

Quote

Your comments are welcome. Eventually one of the "artist's front" joins the discussion, that's nice. :-)


Thanks for the welcome. I don't come here often, is more curiosity that makes me browse forums quite diferent from my activities, from time to time.


Quote
Well, apparantly most of the Xith3d users tend to do hobby games programming (*), so depend on those many free 3d models floating around on the Web. Probably


well, floating around the web, is more all about md2,(if wespeak about animated character models) and usually not available for comercial projects... Static models...well, yes, 3ds is perhaps the more extended, sadly. As OBJ is much better. In 3d softwares, almost all open and export an OBJ.

Quote
 most are in some Max or Maja format, also


In *.max (3ds max native. As 3ds does not retain most important information) or *.ma or *.mb (maya ascii and binary)  are quite very hard to find, in inet, and more for free. When are in those formats, usually is for sell, and curiously way more expensive than a lwo , dxf or 3ds. Turbosquid is an example of this. In turbosquid, though, make a search there, with maximum cost  "'0" , heh, TONS of models, mostly static, none rigged and bones, but tons of objects, for free! Go and try..unless they changed the policy..

but..if no readme is included in zip, with permission of allowed use , you can always have problems with the original author...

Quote
Lightwave I saw a lot. It looks like the .3DS format


Oh, I see..if you mean just static objects, not rigged and animated with bones characters, then usually is the old formats. people call 3ds a Max format. Well, I'd call it a 3d Studio 4 msdos version (I used it in 1996)  

I mean, if what you want is just convert static objects for a ship, building, weapon...There are already plenty of free converters out there, no need to support all static formats :

- Cross roads. Is free. http://www.europa.com/~keithr/crossroads/

this other converter is quite nice too, not crippled demo .Is full. Only your ethics, say the author, would make you pay the twenty dollars after 30 days Smiley
http://www.micromouse.ca/fileformats.html

- LithUnwrap, is free and also uv maps.(it is the old version of Ultimate Unwrap)
- Many of the free modelling packages already support this formats, so you can ocnvert with them


-this is one of the best converter available for cheap $... :
http://www.meshbox.com/

-But if you are going to buy something, I'd advice Ultimate unwrap. 35$, and also is the best uv mapper in the world surface. It does support animation for x format, md2,  animated export, lwo,dxf,OBJ, 3ds, lots of games formats, quake mdl, md2, md3 (only import static objects) , quake1,2,3 BSP,  Halflife BSP... etc.

-speaking about that, a free uv mapper here:
www.uvmapper.com  Search there the classic or beta version. Is free, open and export OBJs as well as a bitmap uv template (texture with wires painted)

-Besides Wings3d you have an excellent free modeller (again, ethically for non comercial, not crippled) called Metasequoia. Is VERY good. Also can be used to convert : cob, x , dxf export. Imports 3ds, lwo, obj , etc. Has functional uv mapping, and even allows a bit of basic 3d paint :
remember to download the 2.1a 'LE' version
http://www21.ocn.ne.jp/~mizno/main_e.html

and here, is a jewel...

While maybe the best convertors are there are comercial : Ultimate Unwrap, Milkshape, MeshBox, and of course Deep Exploration (300$, but Okino Polytrans is even more expensive)  this one simply rocks as a converter. Still, most of what it does can be done with the uv mapper Ultimate Unwrap.  
Well, the jewel is a download of an old version of Exploration, which was free, able to use. This guy has a download in his page and seem to be "correct" to use it. Support lots of formats, and conversions are made with ease :

http://www.dsmith.gmaxsupport.com/Essential_Tools.htm

search in page for "3d Explorer" and download it quick! Smiley


free models :
http://www.3dmodelz.com/Free/downloads/downloads.php


Indeed, what lacks is converters of animated and boned formats. usually Ultimate Unwrap and Milkshape the only cheap way. Being imho Ultimate Unwrap better.


Quote
seems to be very popular probably because it can do all the things the other "older" formats can, plus animation. On Turbosquid for example many artists transform their models to the .3DS format, even if they used another modeler to create it (and many forget to tell the converter to do hierarchy export, and so the resulting .3DS files are flat and you can't do any nice TransformGroup-tree transformation).


many softwares don't even support hierarchy export in 3ds...for that is way better directx7 , or 8. (*.x)


Quote
Does the X-format support multi-texturing? Well,


just two levels, if I remember well.

Quote
there's some natural hesitation when I hear the word Microsoft, SCO, ... ;-)


Well, don't thing I'm fan of it.. Wink Is just that the format suit my needs...Indeed I play sometimes Age Of Empires, and was distributed by Microsoft...But for example, I much prefer Mandrake Linux than ms windows, is just that get forced also to use Windows...


Quote
 Also I think it wouldn't be trivial to do a X to Xith3d loader from scratch...


No, that for sure...nor any other bones and weights format...

But imho is the most universal of those and still can be used for static objects.

But yep, surely and if is for playing with a virtual machine or browser (the 3d animation, I mean) I suppose it'd better be light in hardware demand...weights are a bit more heavier than simple bones...
Md2 for this is better, but always that the count of triangles don't go very highe, neither the frame number. And you'd better use md2's linear interpolation to avoid a mesh per frame...just the keyframes.
Md2 is quite universal, and some packages export it by plugins.

In the cheap way, with OBJ and md2, you should be covered.

I for example, can export md2 with Ultimate Unwrap, Character Fx (an outstanding animation tool for 15$, bones and weights, exports dx8 format, md2, separated 3ds or obj frames, etc. With Lua you can make your format, too )  , or Milkshape. A Max user could use Max Qtip free plugin.

Yep, definitely. You have it covered for now with obj and md2. maybe you will look into *.x in the future, but is way more complex.


Quote
Wings3d I love because it's so intuitive that even a non-artist like me managed to create a sphere. ;-)  Also it reads and writes my tested 3DS model files so far.


Is probably the best free modeller out there. But you may like Metasequoia LE too.  Anyway, Wings is totally free, open source, Metasequoia is not...somehow.

Quote
Unfortunately no textures, no animations. :-(


Animations? Blender...Or Art Of Illussion...


Quote
So I thought well let's try Blender. Its rendered output looks lovely (the screenshots on its W3 site), however when I tried one 3DS import  plugin (Python, has been on an external, dark, W3 site) it failed miserably. :-|


there are several plugins for 3ds import export...

soon they will be included in an import -export dialog in Blender.

scripts for export import here...
http://www.elysiun.com/forum/viewforum.php?f=5&topicdays=0&start=0

for example, an updated 2.32 obj import export script.
http://www.elysiun.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=21310&start=15

remember you need surely for Blender 2.28c, 2.30, 2.31, and 2.32, if I remember well, Python 2.2.3 installed

2.32 is the more advanced, I recommend it.

This guy is making a huge effort on getting done lots of import export plugins. basicly has a working md2 export import for Blender, but is not complete, though maybe usable.
http://bane.servebeer.com/programming/blender/index.html

A 3ds one, but has more serious issues, or maybe fixed already, etc..

For OBJ, I suggest better the other link I gave above . That is, the obj_io_modif232b.py script.

here, another guy with other converter plugins for blender. They're said to be good. And lots of formats(take care, this is only for 2.28!!!!! ):

http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/scorpius/blender_suites.htm


one nendo plugin from this guy..take note...Wings support also nendo format...
http://www.redrival.com/scorpius/io.zip

there's even an exporter for doom format, md5. And that one has bones and weights...used now by neoengine, a very good free 3d engine. (c++ based I think)

And a dx 8 in the works, the static export already works.....oh, i laready said that..

btw...I must emphasize that things like the blender io suite, and others, are gonna be inserted in Blender menus for one of next Blender versions...most logical...


at last, a list of formats specs :
http://www.dcs.ed.ac.uk/home/mxr/gfx/3d-hi.html

Quote
Which 3DS and OBJ plugin do you use? Do they run with the current Blender version? (v2.32) ?


I plainly can't stand 3ds, so I don't know Wink
But OBJ, with OBJ_iomodified python script.

My guess would be...try Bob_holocomb one (no material export)  or...the Scorpius IO suite.... there's also a 3dsconverter.blend..it'd be just open that file...

First of using a plugin, check the plugin is for your blender version (if not, have several blenders installed)  and of course, the correct python version for the correct blender...

2.28 till 2.32, is for sure: python 2.2.3.
and configure the stuff in Blender. Tell it in preference where is located your python folder. Quite easy.



Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #23 - Posted 2004-03-06 12:21:40 »

Quote

Many thanks for all the useful infos and URLs. :-)
(Btw Kevin & William: did you know the quoted 3dspec site already?)

So you suggest to use OBJ for static models, and MD2 for animated on the "affordable front"... Interestingly.
Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #24 - Posted 2004-03-06 12:29:09 »

In the LWJGL forum (and probably the JOGL too) there's some talk about importers, too. A few are available already, some others are in the pipeline: they parse the 3d model file and you've to build it with "the raw OpenGL way".

Maybe we could join forces with the LWJGL/JOGL guys, too. I think at some shared low level loaders for several model formats, which just offer the parsed data so they could be used as base for higher level Xith3d loaders als well as directly for the LWJGL/JOGL people...?

So whenever there's some improvement on the low level 3d model parsing front (animation, smoothing groups, texturing UVs doubling, etc etc) both groups would benefit.
Current working loaders (like ASE, 3DS, OBJ) maybe could be used as codebase or whatever...

What do you think?
Who feels competent to start a thread in a forum where Xith3d and LWJGL/JOGL users would read and write? :-)
Offline snaga

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #25 - Posted 2004-03-06 14:09:51 »

Quote
So you suggest to use OBJ for static models, and MD2 for animated on the "affordable front"... Interestingly.


yep; md2 is exported by many softwares, there are some models for comercial projects (usually ver bad quality) and lots of them for just the coder make tests...

OBJ is supported for most softwares, it does support smoothing, info, materials and its attributes (quite a few) , supports quads, (though real time 3d is all tris) , has no count limits like otehr formats, no weird naming problems like 3ds, and usually is better understood by softwares. Also, is asciii, quite simple, and better standarized than other formats.
It does not support vertex colors, though (neither bones or weights) like direct x *.x does.

Quote
In the LWJGL forum (and probably the JOGL too)


lots of 3d libraries for java , aren't they? they do all the same? I mean xinth, lwjgl, jogl, java3d...Well, I'm a non programmer...And quiet "foreigner" to java..


Quote
there's some talk about importers, too. A few are


Euh, if you take part on those (i don't frequent these forums) , maybe a good idea to link this thread in those sections, as I see most programmers don't know of these matters, and can get handy.

Quote
Maybe we could join forces with the LWJGL/JOGL guys, too.


sounds clever...

Quote
I think at some shared low level loaders for several model formats, which just offer the parsed data so they could be used as base for higher level Xith3d loaders als well as directly for the LWJGL/JOGL people...?


the more standard, the less problems later, and more re-usability of models/formats...

Quote
So whenever there's some improvement on the low level 3d model parsing front (animation, smoothing groups, texturing UVs doubling, etc etc) both groups would benefit.
Current working loaders (like ASE, 3DS, OBJ) maybe could be used as codebase or whatever...


there's an open model format, called Cal3d, which supports weights and bones animation. Maybe some of you could have a look at it, if in real need of bones and weights, and really think the performance hit using them is not gonna matter...if not, keep using md2.

And at last, someone please do secretly a porter from cal3d <----> directx  *.x ....It's a joke Wink


Quote
What do you think?


is a long way, and a  hard way. If you join strentghs, way better Smiley IMHO.



Offline snaga

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #26 - Posted 2004-03-06 14:16:22 »


btw, question apart...sorry the little off topic...

Do you see too far the moment when mobile phones are ready to play 3d java games...? like a quake 2 with some limits...?

or is that a huge nonsense...?

I mean , in mid cost phones.

that'd rock.

this thing of 2d sprites tires me...though heh, doing for the money...

Offline Bombadil

Senior Duke





« Reply #27 - Posted 2004-03-06 16:01:14 »

Quote

yep; md2 is exported by many softwares, there are some models for comercial projects (usually ver bad quality) and lots of them for just the coder make tests...

Nice to hear. Kevin, who did the OBJ and 3DS loader for Xith3d, also did a MD2 loader. I haven't used it so far, though...
Isn't there a MD3 format, too? I've read something in the JavaCoolDude thread with MD3...

What's the disadvantage of MD2? I mean if you suggest to use OBJ for static models, there's something MD2 doesn't cope? :-)

Quote
lots of 3d libraries for java , aren't they? they do all the same? I mean xinth, lwjgl, jogl, java3d...Well, I'm a non programmer...And quiet "foreigner" to java..

Well, Xith3d is the OpenSource high level 3d API for Java (similar to SUN's frozen Java3d), whilst JOGL and LWJGL are low level 3d APIs. JOGL is "just" an OpenGL binding for Java, so that you can call OpenGL commands from within Java. Xith3d bases on JOGL.
The 3d loaders for Xith3d and JOGL/LWJGL don't do the same in total, but parsing the 3d file format they all have to do. So I see some work being doubled which shoudln't be.
Well, I'm just the teeboy, a Xith3d _user_, not a 3d loader developer. I am not good (yet?) at 3d...

Quote
the more standard, the less problems later, and more re-usability of models/formats...

That should be the ultimate goal; however I'm still too new to 3d in order to start such a thing for Java 3d APIs. But I think I'll start a thread in a parent forum.


Quote
Do you see too far the moment when mobile phones are ready to play 3d java games...? like a quake 2 with some limits...?

or is that a huge nonsense...?

I mean , in mid cost phones.

There's Embedded OpenGL, a sub-set of OpenGL intended for the mobile market. In case a JOGL for Embedded OpenGL would work with J2ME (the Micro-Edition of J2SE,  Java2 Standard Edition), there could be 3d in Java for mobiles... Not sure about a high level 3d API like Xith3d, though. :)
Maybe we should ask that question in the JOGL forum?
Offline snaga

Senior Newbie




Java games rock!


« Reply #28 - Posted 2004-03-06 20:18:11 »

Quote
Nice to hear. Kevin, who did the OBJ and 3DS loader for Xith3d, also did a MD2 loader. I haven't used it so far, though...
Isn't there a MD3 format, too? I've read something in the JavaCoolDude thread with MD3...


md3...Could be ok, but I am yet to know if it does interpolation between meshes or not. I suppose it does.
basicly, md3 works this way...different part of the model, like head, arms, legs, torso...are separated objects. Then it is added a polygon where it will be the connection between 2 parts. This polygon is called "tag" .

Why, well, In my opinion Id Software did this mostly for two reasons : exchange heads between different characters, as well as body parts, so add more variety and less artist work required, or better said, many more different characters made with just a few.

Also, as though Unreal engine already could have done weights (and probably Id) it was too performance cost. So, bones an weights were not used. (an skeleton inside, with a list of the strenght that each vertex is influenced by one, 2 or 3 bones. These days even with 4 bones. I think the more bones which affect a single vertex at same time, the more lowdown for hardware. But not totally sure...)

So, Id made another way: each of it's model 'pieces'  instead of moving like an articulated mecano,  well, in fact is that, but the engine code does generate a fake blended joint. I think it gives 50% weight to each of nearest vertices to the tag. Or something like that. The artist don't control how "human-like" is the bending. One of my reasons to hate the format.

Other than that...md3 has some advantages over md2.

md2 disadvantages:
-bad shading.Somehow, seems lighting is not too good over these models.
-Vertex trembling. For an acuraccy problem, by format design or something (related to don't know what precission thing)  the vertex doesn't know where to stay , often, and that makes these characters like wobbling. Is not heavy noticed, but enough for an artist to , if possible, avoid the format. Even though, I rather prefer md2 than for example, half life smd models. That is: bones, but no weights. Robotic bendings. joint deform very uglily.   half life artists had to work a lot on tweaking that problem.

md2 what does is store a mesh on what is called a keyframe. (well, technical explanation is not exactly so...)
I mean, each mesh is a keyframe-mesh. So, the engine interpolates a kind of morphing of position (don't know if also of shape too, I suppose it does) .The result tends to be smooth. And at least, shoulder deform as they should.

To be true, I have seen not much md2 models in realtime, but those which I saw, have the subtle trembling.

MD3 does not have this. So , the thing I wonder (I must know this) is... Does md3 allow also keyframe meshes interpolation? does the format actually forces to cut in pieces the model? I am lately guessing is only needed if is to load in Quake 3 game, but not actually if you use in other engine.

As far as I know, md2, md3, bsp Id formats, are free, so you could even adapt the thing to your needs .What is not free is the Id software tools to produce them but there quite a few open source and freeware for this output.

if md3 does the interpolation, and can be single piece (the morphing will make it smooth) ...  Then I'd see mor epoint on using md3 than md2.

there's another big doubt I have about the format, and is if in the final engine (java in this case) it can be put the interpolation setting...I mean, in the case the md3 or md2 output, that value is not added...if any coder knows here, I'd like to know...As I have a way to create md3 with a free md3 compiler, but seeems it does not create the interpolation. So I yet don't know if is that the freebie does not make it, or that the md3 format, doesn't do that great md2 interpolation.


Quote
What's the disadvantage of MD2? I mean if you suggest to use OBJ for static models, there's something MD2 doesn't cope? :-)


well, even obj doesn't do all either. Maybe x format will be better. I suppose textures are a huge waste in a java engine...maybe vertex colors are cheaper, and that's not possible in an OBJ file. But anyway, I never liked vertex colors Wink Its quality depends on hi res polycount...so...

md2 does not support vertex colors either.

But OBJ has better shading. And for the trembling, it'd be crazy to use md2 also for statics. Better md3 fo rthat matter , if want to avoid OBJ..  :?

Another good format is truespace COB. It supports...smooth shading (like x and obj...and somehow md2) ...vertex colors (like x) ...quads (like OBJ.While these is non relevant to coders, is nice to some artists, but a nonsense, really)  ..textures, etc. But like 3ds, has some serious limits and problems with material names. (3ds also is limited to 65k tris or so.(think of a terrain mesh..) )

well, seems md3 supports interpolation...judging by a paragraph in this site, a viewer of md3 animations, made in java and gl4java.
http://md3view.fragland.net/about.html

linear and a smoother one...I suppose on what the final engine is able to support.

here's a tutorial from an opengl place. It speaks about interpolation for the md3 format, so I guess it has it. Indeed, md3 has a better one, called slerp, as I mentioned.  
http://www.gametutorials.com/Tutorials/OpenGL/OpenGL_Pg5.htm

definitely: it allows interpolation. I read in a indy game that they were gonna use single piece md3. If so, md3 would be a winner...
http://www.vagrantsoft.com/josh/downloads.html

I guess md3 has all  my requests.... But anyway, ading both md2 and md3, simply will support a bigger number of artists.


Quote
Well, Xith3d is the OpenSource high level 3d API for Java (similar to SUN's frozen Java3d), whilst JOGL and LWJGL are low level 3d APIs. JOGL is "just" an OpenGL binding for Java, so that you can call OpenGL commands from within Java. Xith3d bases on JOGL.
The 3d loaders for Xith3d and JOGL/LWJGL don't do the same in total, but parsing the 3d file format they all have to do. So I see some work being doubled which shoudln't be.
Well, I'm just the teeboy, a Xith3d _user_, not a 3d loader developer. I am not good (yet?) at 3d...

Quote:
the more standard, the less problems later, and more re-usability of models/formats...

That should be the ultimate goal; however I'm still too new to 3d in order to start such a thing for Java 3d APIs. But I think I'll start a thread in a parent forum.


good, I think this may come handy for more than one java developer...

Quote
There's Embedded OpenGL, a sub-set of OpenGL intended for the mobile market. In case a JOGL for Embedded OpenGL would work with J2ME (the Micro-Edition of J2SE,  Java2 Standard Edition), there could be 3d in Java for mobiles... Not sure about a high level 3d API like Xith3d, though. Smiley
Maybe we should ask that question in the JOGL forum?


Well, not actually needed...I have made  a search, and seems already some games like tomb raider in very low resolutions have been working in certainnokia models...I suppose soon it will get more common..



Offline kevglass

JGO Kernel


Medals: 186
Projects: 24
Exp: 18 years


Coder, Trainee Pixel Artist, Game Reviewer


« Reply #29 - Posted 2004-03-06 20:24:06 »

The MD2 format does not cause the trembling. There's not reason I can think of that would cause the trembling other than bad engine implementation.

MD3 format is essentially 3 MD2s with transform relating them each to each other.

It would however, like you say, be crazy to use MD2 (or MD3 for that matter) for static models since you'd get a bunch of overhead describing the fact that it was effectively a single frame animation.

The MD2/MD3 format doesn't enforce interpolation. Its an implementation detail. Both the MD2 loader and MD3 loader support interpolation. The MD2 loader at least also allows the developer to choose not to interpolate (which is cheaper at runtime).

Kev

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