I really agree with snaga that .x support is very good to have, and this opens door for a lot of people (esp. designers) who initially targeted DirectX development.
There are bunchs of artists that just don't have nothing to do with MS, but the fact is this is the only format that I have found in majority of packages, supporting the complexity of animation, and standard enough (yep, quite weird being MS...)
Did I made a list ? I'll make a longer one now, and still will be leaving some out..is only of what I know...
-Maya (4,4.5, 5(all the latest)) (free plugin)
-Max (same here, 3, 4.x, 5.x, and specially good is 6 )(free)
-Hash Animation Master (an excellent kind of independent animation software, loved by even many Maya pros)
-Truespace 6.6, (and 4 with a free plugin) with a coemrcial plugin
-Blender, right now static dx7 and dx8 export. Soon, animated one.(everything in Blender is free)
-Character Fx. Being only 15$, it has allowed doing very ready-to play character models. It exports as *.x version8, as well as md2, OBJs and 3DSs(like keyframe meshes), nebula device native code, Blitz3d engine b3d open format, Milkshape ascii format ...
-Ultimate Unwrap 35$...supports lots of game formats, BSPs (of all types), allows opengl multitexturing, reflection, bumpmapping, etc, preview, and adding very complex materials. 2 UV channels, lightmaps...Animation conversions, import export perfectly of dx8.x *.x format, (throughly tested by me) , conection by free plugin (that any Max user can freely download) with 3ds Max, and most of all, is the best UV Mapping software out there.
-3d canvas. 34 or 70 $.native export as directx.
-Softimage XSI 3.5 (the great package for films, very few users out there, but is increasing as Halflife 2 is going to provide modders a version for modding, and the learning edition is less limited than Max and Maya ones) Again , free x plugin.
-Milkshape, has sveral free plugins to export. Sadly, Milkshape does not support weights.
-deled engine editor (map editor, static x export)
-zanooza modeller. free objects modeller, x export for objects.
-Metasequoia LE (free for non comercial) , excellent modeller, one of the best. *.x export.
Most of softwares do support the dx8 kind of *.x files. The keep quite a lot of compatibility, does not happens with other plugins.
Well, I have been browsing here a bit, and saw already md2, md3, OBJ are made. So...imho, a clever next step would be dx8. As far as i have seen , is readable by dx9 engines. Only see that for example, dx9 specification allows multitexturing of more texture layers, while dx8 is only two. But more than enough for human animated characters.You still can use, as often happens, a more empowered format for terrains and objects, like OBJ, or whatever (don't know if OBJ allows that much multitexturing layers).
Dx8 *.x , I mean, with animation, spline or at least linear interpolation (spline interpolation supported by max and character fx, and surely for the others) , bones, weights (at least 3 bones that could affect a vertex at same time, but seing several engines adding support to 4. This would be seen in terms of java performance.) and animation.
Is not simple, but as mentioned, why not make a common effort for the several projects here?
I maintain that...you could use ase, obj, or x for objects or terrain, but there would quite less formats so much package (free or not) supported formats like this, with such a support for animation features like x has.
Formats that are common between packages are old ones, which even did not support bones... being *.x an exception. (indeed, the bones thing is from v8. v7 only supported hierarchies between linked body parts. Really worse...)
But the 8 version has been a while, and keeps being supported
Since "X" is just a format and no "Winblows" (tm Jeff) "everywhere" I've no problem with a X loader for
I've read in several parts that *.x file is open.
They also give away the dx SDK, after all.
Not to defend MS here. Just that the *.x format offers no problem.
Xith3d - as long as it runs on all Java+OpenGL platforms and no worry to get sued for using it on Linux.
At least know of a pair of several platforms (linux included) c++ engines using *.x files to load the character animations..
If we can use a modern 3d file format (*) with Xith then it's great.
That I think, too. And seen so much advanced demos like reflections, shaders, bumps, etc...I think is more basic much more, the bones and weights type of animation.
Most important thing would be to have some of the most popular formats working in a solid way with Xith...
OBJ is way standard. It opens already to a load of artist modellers. 3ds picks the rest of them, if there were left any
ASE will allow (if really preserving Max standards) the export of lights, etc, as ASE is a scene description format. But still will be closed to Max only, I suppose.
md2 and md3 will come very helpful for may situations, and still are good for animation, the trembling in md2 is not a nice thing to see, but...I prefer *.x, to be true.
Anyway, those could do.
You have more than enough formats. Indeed, OBJ and *.x maybe enough to cover almost everything imagined.
Abies replied in the "Shared Code" thread and said it probably would be too difficult to have a loader standard base for all 3d Java APIs, and he's right. Kevin thinks to,
oh, I see.
too. So let's concentrate on Xith3d loaders. Maybe we could still harmonize the current and future Xith3d loaders so that they're always useable in the same way.
The newst Xith CVS features - amongst other candies - Abie's NormalGenerator if I read the CVS newsletter correctly. That's nice. :-)
(*) Please remember: Obj, 3ds, Ase, ... have been frozen years ago, so no wonder there's no multi-texturing and such.
I haven't actually look at this feature...
But most probably. Is a very usefull feature for terrains.
Not so much for characters. I only do a texture per characters. More realism I can get with simple bumps, speculars (supported both by *.x ) than with multitexturing, in a huma character.
That's why I said *.x of dx8 may not be the best for terrains. Maybe dx9 yes, but again, I'd advice to keep to the most comaptible possible with packages... They are quite conservative also... (8 version is in all of them)
To be fair: Lightwave is a modern format too, and it's up to date. So a Lightwave format would be nice too -
yep...though I so an statistics of user base of LW, and is way smaller compared with Max and Maya... An x export will give export of character bones and animations, for those 3 packages.
Most surely for scenery, I'd do other thing. Exporting multitexturing, lighting, cameras...often is ahuge problem...OBJ, etc, does not support them. Usually game companies make inhouse editors...maxscripts, etc....
Anyway, a very basic java editor, maybe better, to adjust lighting and cameras...or just do that by code.
I have to consult it, but maybe OBJ support multitexturing..it'd be perfect them...only lacking then vertex colors (*.cob supports them)
If *.x 2 levels of multitexturing is ok for you , go for them...
or well, maybe adding dx9 *.x (If I understood well, they read more layers of textures) support...in case *.x v8 files can be read ok , as that version is what packages are exporting...