Developing a 3-d game

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If someone were to be developing a 3-d game, there are cheap or free tools like Meshwork, Wings 3-D, etc. that will provide the capabilities of modeling, however, what does one use for the actual animation of the character? Does a tool like iGame3d provide that function or does the developer need to create a mini animation app for models?

To streamline the animation process the animation app needs to have an IK system for easy manipulation of the object. Hash Animation Master, Lightwave, Carrara, Maya and a couple other apps for the mac provides this kind of system. Sadly, the prices are really expensive. (Well, Hash isn't that expensive. $200 at Macworld 2003, NYC.) I also understand that some of these high-end apps export (I guess) animation files for games...right?!?

After the launch of "The Adventures of Elballo", I'm going to take a step back for some good old-fashioned app training. I have the skills in 3D character animation using SoftImage and Hash, but want to make sure I spend time learing software that is generally used in production.

Does anyone know what the preferred methods/tools of character animation in MAC game development are?

ProRattaFactor
(Retro-infused games for iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, and Mac)
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Post: #2
Im working on my first 3D game right now, and I'm going to use Meshworks and Keyframing. I will just create a few frames for the animation, and interlope all the vertice depending on how much time went by.
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I can really, really, really recommend Carrara, should you be able to pay the price. It's buggy, but I hear that the newly-announced version 3 is a lot more stable than before.
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Quote:Originally posted by Fenris
I can really, really, really recommend Carrara, should you be able to pay the price. It's buggy, but I hear that the newly-announced version 3 is a lot more stable than before.

how do you go about implementing their models/bones? is their format documented and such?
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Well, the format itself isn't documented, and they don't recommend that you read it yourself. (Although I managed to rectify a corrupted scene file using textedit once, so it's quite easy to understand, most parts) Instead, ask for the free SDK and write an exporter (as I'm doing now - it doesn't expose vertex weighting info in Carrara 2, though, don't know about CS3 yet) or export as OBJ as use the parser here on iDevGames.
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I highly recommend you look at David's two games from uDevGame. His last game will show you how to animate models. (Would be good to get a tutorial from him, but he might be up to his ears in rabbits.)

Carlos A. Camacho,
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OT: Yeah, it would be really great if David would make a tutorial on loading and animating 3D models... hint hint...
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I've used the older version when it was still MetaTools Infini-D. I downloaded and tried the new version "Carrara2" some time ago. It opened extremely fast and seemed to have some really cool features about it. Namely the storyboard function. I was quite impressed. Sadly, it did 'unexpectedly quit' a couple times though. Hopefully the full version doesn't operate the same way.

In reference to "David's two games from uDevGame"... is there a url to access the games?

ProRattaFactor
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Post: #9
Black Shades and ...uh the other one..erk..don't remember. Check the resources here.
Thats all coder specific stuff, so you would have to understand C or C++ or DavidLanguage, whatever it is written in.

iGame3D Pro and dim 3 have animation editors that come with the app, or built in.

This is how its done. You Have a meshwork model, you could convert from 3DS to get it. You can also model, texture, bone in iGame3D Pro(new version soon).

You place bones inside. You attach vertices to bones.
Save

Bring into dim 3 animator or iGame3D.
Create and Adjust the animation and save the animation.
Not sure how dim 3 goes about scripting it but igame3d works like this, lets assume the default "bob" model.

Code:
make "bob" // bob's in the scene
pose "walk1","walk2",.02,.02
// bob will now do his left/right leg/arm walking animation
// the values denote the pause, and morph time
loop
passed 1
multf 1,4
move
// bob is now walking around

axis
randi 1,100,1
seti 2,50
seti 3,90

if i,1,<,2 // if random int. 1 is less than int. 2
addf 2,2
spin
endif

if i,1,>,3 // if random int. 1 is greater than  int. 3
addf 2,-2
spin
endif
// randomly he will turn left or right and get lost somewhere
endloop


there is also a more complicated poseanim routine.
it handles the transition of several poses from one to the other in a single command, you deal with that in the app interface and just call it whenever you need it.
if you've downloaded iGame3D Pro load level levels/3Jedi
to see some jedi doing some poseanims.

You can model in any application you like, as long as you can export a low polygon model to 3DS to convert in meshwork.

Else you have to do some coding and all that to do a model loader and such. Tobi was working on 3DS loader for iGame3D, but got sick of the source code we found(dozens of seperate files for one damn loader!), so it probably won't happen until later on.

It's a real shame not a single 3D app has supported Meshwork format, well except dim 3 and iGame3D Pro.
The source is here in a few uDevGames, don't know whats up with all these big shot companies, can't use some source to write simple loader/exporter???

Oh and we plan on supporting the .coal format sooner or later, thats from the Coalesce app found here.
I believe Robert (bobbimusprime) will be working on a coal model loader tutorial sometime soon.
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Post: #10
Quote:The source is here in a few uDevGames, don't know whats up with all these big shot companies, can't use some source to write simple loader/exporter???


Hmm... Shouldn't be too hard with the Carrara SDK - I'll have a look at it as soon as El Ballo is finished.
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Post: #11
Ivan... you are the man! And thanks again iGame3D.

ProRattaFactor
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Of course I am. Smile Now, where did that poorly dressed alien go? Wink
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Oh to answer your question about high end apps exporting formats for games, the answer is an absolute sorta kinda but not really.
I've not seen a single 3D app that says "Out of the box Export File for use in game engine X".

It's entirely up to game coders to re-invent the wheel every week with a proprietary format. Yet every 3D house says "for use in games".

There are of course 3rd party exporters for specific engines and stuff.

Also I would like to warn you not to trush Hash Animation Master. Wait for this OS X complete re-write, and watch the reviews extremely carefully before wasting any money. In OS 9 the app is crap, crash city. It also has irritating CD-R copy protection, you have to keep the CD in the drive at all times.

If you have the patience of say, Ian Kerr, you can however make cool models, like in his Ancient Arena. He's using .obj as, I'm guessing exported from Hash.

But for the sake of sanity, avoid until they have their act together, and still, There's the spotty costumer support.
Of which Carlos can tell you plenty. My experience with it was "turn off all extensions"..uh--duh..I like to use my $3,000 worth of equipment for more than just a $200 3D app.


Look into Blender at blender.org and wings3D at wings3D.org. Those are options that are free.
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Post: #14
I've spent a little time with Wings3D and it seems really good. It's kinda weird getting used to. The menu names/actions definitely uses unfamiliar terminology (to my skill set at least), but I guess most modeling apps use that terminolgy. I'm used to modeling without the knowledge of vertices, facets and terms of the like. I like 'face', 'point', and much simpler words. It also took me FOREVER (45 minutes - 1 hour) to figure out how to rotate the friggin camera around an object. I forgot that the scroll wheel has a pressable button.

I haven't had that much time to check out Blender. I just looked through the site and it seems amazing. Is there a reason I don't hear that much talk about it? Does anyone on this site use it?

ProRattaFactor
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Blender's UI is horrible. Apparently once you get over the steep learning curve it's a great app, but most people never get over the curve Smile

I personally like Wings3D. I found it very easy to pick up (once I got the mouse into one-button mode and did the cup tutorial on the website).
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