Wishful 3D file format

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Post: #16
OneSadCookie Wrote:Did it ever occur to y'all that if this were possible, somebody would have done it? There's just too much variation in features required to satisfy everybody with one format, whilst still keeping that format manageable.

this is doomed. DOOMED! DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!!!!!!!!!!!

You mean like a format that supports skeletal animations and is exported from multiple editors? Because that's a very simple, specific, feature that can't even be satisfied by a centralized format that popular editors support. The reality of the situation is every editor has their own format and nobody wants to do something that shares.

I simply do not forsee significant problems in trying to accomplish this task. It'll take the community and the willingness of the people to strive toward completion, but I'm confident it will benefit all and be worth any work. If you don't wish for members around here to ban together and try to do something sensationaly cool it'd be best to simply step back and watch the magic emerge, see what we are capable of. We are programmers and we are up for challenges, maybe you should learn a thing or two from our joint efforts.

Granted in the design stage we will have take time to "cut the fat" so to speak, but it's all part of making a powerful, scalable, and all around kick-ass implementation.
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Post: #17
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Post: #18
OneSadCookie Wrote:this is doomed. DOOMED! DOOOOOOOOOOOOMED!!!!!!!!!!!
Okay C3PO, I think we already know that or else nobody would have suggested it to begin with. Seriously, I respect all of the guys here for what they know (even you) and if they wanna play around a bit then there shouldn't be anything wrong with that. I've been thinking lately about participating in an online collaboration, which I've never done before. I don't know what it would be but this looks very interesting to me, please refrain from peeing in the tea.
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⌘-R in Chief
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Post: #19
The only problem I see with XML is the extra baggage to carry around. An XML parsing engine might have several thousand lines of code, while something more specific might have far less.
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Post: #20
Squeletal support is important, but why not start with a simple vertex interpolation-based format? Consider it a test, if we can't agree on the details of such format, then anything more complex would be a waste of time.

I made a simple vertex interpolation-based format (binary) in just a couple of days for my uDG entry, and so did other entrants of this and past years contests.

What I'm saying is, even such a basic format could be extremely useful, so it won't be necessary to reinvent the wheel every time one needs to display some simple animated models.
Also, having a standard basic 3D format would obviously facilitate the creation of exporters for apps like Blender or Wings 3D, or standalone importer apps.

The file should have the basic features only, at least for version 1, namely vertex, normals, textures and faces (triangles only would be a nice simplification - that's what I used in my own format)

Just an idea...
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⌘-R in Chief
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Post: #21
Another couple of questions: Who actually has the know-how to design the format? Who actually has the know-how to write importers? In what languages and using what APIs? What 3D modeling software does anyone here have who is able and willing to write an exporter for?

I have the least amount of knowledge possible of 3d model formats so count me out of design, and I'm too much of a newbie to do importing or exporting. But one thing I do know, is that I've got a limited budget (as many of us here) so I'm reduced to using free modeling tools. Currently I'm using Wings3D as is ThemsAllTook. I don't think it does any animation stuff at all though. Blender certainly does, though despite trying to learn and deal with it, I don't get along with Blender very well. So anyway, I do see Wings or at least Blender (since it is so popular) exporters as necessary just to tap into the "I'm poor and can't afford xxxxx" group of us.
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Post: #22
A universal 3D file format. A lofty, yet honourable goal! Smile

As you've already noticed, every 3D editor developer uses their own format. Lots of reasons why, patents probably being one of them. Also, it's more than likely that each editor requires the data in a different format to suit how that particular editor works (or doesn't as in the case of 3DS Max Wink ). I'm also convinced that if you ask a developer to write something like a file format, that umpteen other developers have already written, they'll always change something or add in something new because they're convinced it's better that way.

As for XML, have you seen the filesize of an XML file output from Cinema4D ? something like 2 megs for a 6 poly cube! XML is a great way of doing data by comittee Smile It definitely has its uses, but not for 3D files.

When it comes to games, most games companies tend to develop their own in-house format that suits the apps they're using and more importantly the games they're working on. A general purpose format for iDev tutorials isn't too bad an idea. The iGame 3D format looks straightforward enough and looks easy to explain and parse. Can iGame 3D files be output from all the main 3D editors though ? (ie have you written plugins or converters for all of them yet ?)

.Obj may be a good enough format to adopt for basic work, due to it being available from most editors, but it is buggy (depending on the editor) and limited.

Oh, and I second the vote not to give it the vanity extension .idg. It doesn't describe what the file is, even if you did recognise that the file was something to do with iDev. While I'm not a fan of file extensions determining file type, at least OS X lets you do longer extension types, so why not call the format .idg3D if you actually end up doing a new file format ?
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Post: #23
Zwilnik Wrote:The iGame 3D format looks straightforward enough and looks easy to explain and parse.
I have to admit, I kinda like the iGame3D format as well. From a purely qualitative standpoint there's something kinda ugly about it but it seems very functional. It also seems helpful that they've been kicking it around for a few years already.
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Post: #24
Zwilnik Wrote:Can iGame 3D files be output from all the main 3D editors though ? (ie have you written plugins or converters for all of them yet ?)
What would be the point of that?
We have .wtf, .obj, .3ds, .lwo, .coal, .mesh importers, and exporters to .obj, .3ds, .mesh, and .wtf.
.obj, .3ds, .lwo alone gives us 167 "game ready" 3D models from turbosquid to pick from or 5,000 if we don't mind pulling polygons and paying money.

Noobs with no money will use iGame3D, pro graphic artists like Charles Goran will use products they are familiar with like lightwave and import into iGame3D, just like he did before, and just like he does with Anark (which produced the top winning UDG game this year)

We don't own major 3D apps if we did, we'd get our money's worth from the purcase by using one of the formats they come with, or that are downloadable like the MD2 or Md3 file import exporter, or the ultra snazzy FBX, you know the cool format you can preview animation in a quicktime player with. We could then tell all future users of iGame3D "now that you are using this great freeware, go buy yourself a five hundred dollar 3D program so you can make content with this amazingly awesome free plug-in" maybe even go the Torque route and say "and buy a PC"

On the PC there are dedicated applications to converting hundreds of 3D formats. I've seen PolyTrans in Game Developer magazine for at least five years.

Over at versiontracker for Mac OSX, there is a crappy 2 listings of useless software that convert to 3dmf.

Here's a detailed list of 3D formats from a decade ago (,ie, blazing fast 133mhz processors!)

Here's Paul Bourke's dream SCENE format also from a decade ago.
Why do I know that guy's name? Probably his list of 3D formats.

Anyway, maybe the solution is not a garage-gang-bang-band-aid 3D format, but a need for a mac app that handles all of the formats for simple conversion, one that can be expanded on. Or at the very least a central repository of how to parse the formats, it took me hours to find decent 3DS and .LWO spec info.

In the end, you might make yet another new 3D model format, but when M$, Adobe, and Intel, et al. come along with their multi billion dollar marketing power and applications that directly support their format, your new format isn't going to add up to more than a novel experiment?

Where a 3D format convertor, like PolyTrans, lives forever!

cough cough,
Quote:Monday, November 15 @ 12:29:25 CST by admin (587 reads)
Universal 3D Format Gains Momentum As Adobe Announces Support In Acrobat 7.0 Software
Intel and 3D Industry Forum to Propose Spec as an ISO Standard
SANTA CLARA, Calif., Nov. 15, 2004 -- Intel Corporation and key members of the 3D Industry Forum today applauded Adobe Systems Incorporated's announcement of support for the Universal 3D (U3D) format in Acrobat 7.0* software and Adobe PDF*. Developed by Intel and the 3D Industry Forum, the U3D specification marks a significant step toward turning 3D graphics into the next ubiquitous office media.

Quote:Specification: Universal 3D 1st Edition Publicly Available
Friday, January 07 @ 19:16:21 CST by admin (8 reads)

The Ecma General Assembly has approved our Universal 3D File Format 1st Edition as an Ecma International standard (ECMA-363). The vote in the GA was unanimous in favor of adoption with the exception of one abstention. Thanks for all your contributions and diligence in getting timely completion of the specification. This positive step will enable exciting new applications. The specification is available for public download here as well as Ecma-363.

Follow the link for more info and the spec, etc

the quick and dirty
Quote:Standard ECMA-363
Universal 3D File Format
(December 2004)
This Standard defines the syntax and semantics of the Universal 3D file format, an extensible format for downstream 3D CAD repurposing and visualization, useful for many mainstream business applications. Salient features of the U3D file format described in this document include: execution architecture that facilitates optimal run-time modification of geometry, continuous-level-of-detail, domain-specific compression, progressive data streaming and playback, key-frame and bones-based animation, and extensibility of U3D format and run-time.
........
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DoG
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Post: #25
I am not looking for a universal cure, just something that many people can use specifically for games.

By using shitty intermediate file formats, things are complicated and messy. And, artists do use commercial 3D packages more often than a programmer does. Writing a plugin for C4D or Blender is all the same.

The idea is that the file format should be able to represent the 3D model/animation with at least the same fidelity as the 3D app it was created with. A novice developer should be able to use the simple features, like frame based animation, but should not have to switch file formats once he gets to supporting bones in his game.

Also, by making the format extensible, people should be able to customise the file format and/or loader for their games, while benefitting from the plugins for popular 3D editors.

There is nothing that stops you from writing a converter from/to another file format, too.
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Luminary
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Post: #26
So, I ask again, what's wrong with md5?

It's modern, it does skeletal animation, other people are likely to write import and export scripts for us, and documentation on the format is readily available on the web. Why reinvent a perfectly good wheel?

What's needed is a well-thought-out library for loading and animating an existing format, not a new format entirely. There are more than enough of those already.
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Post: #27
OneSadCookie Wrote:So, I ask again, what's wrong with md5?
I'm actually not opposed to the idea of going with md5 myself. However, I've read very few things about it to tell you the truth. The only place I've seen any description of it is at doom3world. Do you know of a good link to a more formal spec? I agree that there will more than likely be many importers and exporters (and editors) for it in the future, most all of which will be pc based. It might be prudent to pursue md5 for the Mac right away. Something like a Milkshape for the Mac using md5 might make for a useful community project.
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Post: #28
AnotherJake Wrote:I have to admit, I kinda like the iGame3D format as well. From a purely qualitative standpoint there's something kinda ugly about it but it seems very functional. It also seems helpful that they've been kicking it around for a few years already.

Actually only since May 13 2004, prior to that we were using meshwork format, because that is what at the time 17 year old Tobi could afford when he wrote his first 3D game engine for UDG 2001. Worked fine for Antack, and hundreds of demo tests, and making hundreds of models in iGame3D, but in the end we started having to hack the format for it to do more, specfically starting with bones and animtions, then the absurdity of meshwork storing its textures in the model, and once our modeling tools surpassed most of meshworks (hey we have undo, thats 100% better!) it seemed kind of cruel and unusual punisment to tell people "buy meshwork".

If I could have caught Tobi before he entered the secret lab, I would have repeated the mystical "support quake model formats" mantra and simply supported a model format with tens of thousands of free models available, usuable on like 20 AAA games.

If this site wasn't always stretching for the next half baked, half thought out contest, access to previous UDG source would provide an excellent resource of code for
various formats. Tank Worlds .3ds files imported nearly flawlessly into iGame3D, I think I had to mess with a line of text or two to get the textures fitting pefectly. Their Native C4D level import is just amazing



OneSadCookie Wrote:So, I ask again, what's wrong with md5?

It's modern, it does skeletal animation, other people are likely to write import and export scripts for us, and documentation on the format is readily available on the web. Why reinvent a perfectly good wheel?

What's needed is a well-thought-out library for loading and animating an existing format, not a new format entirely. There are more than enough of those already.
You know its a cold day in hell when I agree with OSC completely, without any "if ands or buts". Break out the hot cocoa and horn muffs.

Unofficial MD5 Spec page
Found at this thread

Python Script for MD5 import/Export for Blender can be found here
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Post: #29
ok... so we like MD5, my question is:
what modellers does it work with? how do we convert to it? do we have a cocoa loader for it yet?
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Post: #30
Yeah, to be truthful, I don't care what the format is, existing or not, as long as there is broad support in our community for it and it offers a scalable platform to work with. IOW, if some guy wants to have a single static model loaded in his game, can he use the same modeling program, file format, and loader code to do that as he can in the future if he needs key frames, or skeletal animation?
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