So, what is the optimal model format, that balances work flow, features, and compatibility? It seems most people think iqm is that beast, however I am not so sure.
I have hit a point where I am comfortable sticking to Darkplaces as a mod platform because I like the .dpm model format, and the work flow it creates. It closely follows the half life model work flow, and is easy to code without resorting to CSQC.
The down side of course being that as a mod, restricting to one engine is sort of not considered friendly.
My work flow is as follows:
1) Model, texture, rig and animate in 3DS Max. (I'm using version 7 if anyone cares).
2) Export the base mesh reference(s) to smd. Export the animations to individual smds.
3) Compile the smds into a dpm model.
4) Tweak the origin, rotation, and scale through the dpm model compiler.
I like this workflow. Its clean, easy to go back and make changes, and the animations are easily reusable.
Now, looking at iqm, right up front they have a compiler to build a model from smd files, just like dpm. So in theory the workflow should be the same. It is not however.
Primarily this is in step 4, where you cannot tweak the origin and rotation at compile time. You need to tweak the source files in your source editor each time, and re-export everything, and re-compile everything. So the smooth and easy to use workflow just went out the window due to that lack of feature in the compiler; this can probably be fixed in the compiler.
Finally, iqm compiler has so far generated iqm files that are missing mesh parts (noesis shows this), and crash Darkplaces.
So.. what am I missing, or better, what is the best format to use that will actually work in Darkplaces, and other engines, while maintaining a smooth workflow, and still being skeletal.
I am stubbornly not willing to move to blender for a lot of reasons.