maybe OT: 3d model format

hi all! since i’m on the brink of starting a new game project, i’m currently wondering which 3d model format would be best.

so my question to all of you is:
what modeling software do you use and in what format do you store/load your models?

thx for your opinions

I use my own modeling program and it’s own format. Don’t do that.


You can give blender try.I just started using it and with a little python(and a lot of patience due to the state of API documentation) you can write an exporter for your own format.

[This message has been edited by zen (edited 02-08-2003).]

You’ll probably get a wide range of opinions, but I think using 3ds as a generic model format is a good start. Some of the things I like the most about it include:

  • Almost every serious piece of software that reads/write models will address 3ds in some way. If not, polytrans or deep exploration will.
  • There’s about a million models for free on the net, high and low res.
  • Most of the format is relatively straightforward to parse.
  • It supports multiple texture layers and bumpmap/reflection maps.

Some not so cool features include:
- 3ds doesn’t include normals, so you’ll have to derive them.
- 3ds doesn’t support triangle strips, so you’ll have to create those, too. You can use NvStrip or STRIPE.
- Getting the node hierarchy exactly right for some models seems nearly impossible. Even Deep Exploration and Polytrans won’t necessarily read a 3ds the way 3ds max will.

My two cents.

If you can afford it, buy a modeling package like MAX or LightWave or whatever. All of them come with an SDK to write your own plugins. Write a plugin that can export the kind of model data you need for your game.

Personally I bought LightWave[7]. I wrote a plugin for it that exports models. You can check out the source code in the Spider3D GDK on my webpage After you install the GDK you can find the source files in the s3d_modeler folder. I should have named the folder s3d_lwmodeler :/.

I think if you’re really serious about making a game you’ll have to buy a proffesional software modeling package. All the other stuff out there isn’t very flexible IMO. Even Spider3D isn’t flexible. You’re stuck with what it can do and that’s that. That is a programmers life

[edit]I didn’t know you could write plug-ins for Blender, so you can add that to the list of modelers you can write plug-ins for [/edit]

[This message has been edited by WhatEver (edited 02-08-2003).]

“Hi, I’m thinking of buying a vehicle, but I don’t know which. Could you advise?”

What’s your budget? Bicycle? Sports car? Private jet?

How big is your team? You? Five friends? A 100-person studio?

What do you want to model? Outdoors terrain? Indoors tunnels? Space ships? Finely articulated humans with facial expressions rivaling those of actor-like performer Keanu Reeves?

Are you using any middle-ware? Does it come with tools? Are they sufficient? If not, why?

Let’s assume you want to spend no money, are modling quake-like characters, want to animate them with bones/skinning, and are writing your own renderer from scratch. If so, I’d suggest trying the .mdl format, which supports skinning (only one bone per vert), and is widely supported. Up-and-coming is the .md5 format, which supports multiple bones per vert, but, so far, has less solid tools support.

If you want to model environments that are mostly indoors, or outdoors in canyons/valleys/forests-with-trees-blocking-the-view, I’d suggest the good-old .map format, as there’s a zillion packages that can generate that, and code to load, optimize and render is plentiful.

If your needs are actually something else, please be more precise for more accurate responses.

hi all! thx for our responses. i’ll mostly use the modelling package for creating characters and other objects, not indoor/outdoor scenarios. i’ve just discovered a cool export plugin for 3d studio called FLEXPORTER which generates normals automatically and has lots of other features so i’m probably going to use this… has anyone made good/bad experience with this?