Forum

mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Discuss the creation of various model formats for Quake engines, and related matters to modeling.

Moderator: InsideQC Admins

mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby Ace12GA » Tue May 08, 2012 7:02 pm

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.

5) Done.

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.
Ace12GA
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:08 am

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby toneddu2000 » Tue May 08, 2012 8:45 pm

iqm exporter works JUST great on Blender. I also tried to use .smd files sequence like you did but DP crashed too. I think is not the best way. I think IQE is the best method you should use. If you export your model as FBX, you could import it in Blender, export it as iqe and then edit it as you wish, because it's editable! To build the iqm there's the iqm compiler for Windows iirc. Of course there's the blender step in the middle but, hey, you could discover another FABOULOUS tool to use! ;)
Let me know if you have found another simpler step
cheers
toneddu2000
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:39 pm
Location: Italy

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby goldenboy » Wed May 09, 2012 10:40 am

Check out Noesis.
User avatar
goldenboy
 
Posts: 924
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:04 pm
Location: Kiel

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby Spike » Wed May 09, 2012 11:12 am

blender actually has an option to reposition the in-blender viewpoint to match games, or something.

noesis can supposedly import+export everything, which generally means its handy in cases where other tools fail.
Spike
 
Posts: 2883
Joined: Fri Nov 05, 2004 3:12 am
Location: UK

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby Ace12GA » Wed May 09, 2012 2:01 pm

I'm familiar with Blender, and to this point I have been trying hard to not start a "my 3d suite is better than yours" pissing match. To be blunt, I do not like Blender. Yes, I have used Blender many times over the last several years, from early versions to current versions (last version I played with was 2.63 last week). I find it clumsy, cumbersome, and lacking. I do like the polygon modeler, which is more similar to Maya than Max (although, Max's poly objects and edit tools are pretty good in newer versions, after they purchased Maya...). Ultimately, I do not have the time to learn a new suite to the level I know 3DS Max; I have two kids, a 3 hour daily commute, and a wife. I have literally been using 3DS Max since version 1; I'm on 9 now, I think.

I am looking for a solution that does not run through Blender in short.

I did look at Noesis, and I can see that the compiled IQM from SMD files is missing mesh parts, and is incomplete. Clearly the SMD compiler portion of the IQM compiler is broken on some fundamental level. It could have been written for the older smd file format from the HL1 tools, or it could simply be missing something. I honestly don't know.

Is the IQM developer active around here, or somewhere? I would be perfectly happy to provide source data for him to work with if it means he can fix the SMD compiler issues.
Ace12GA
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:08 am

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby leileilol » Wed May 09, 2012 3:32 pm

eihrul developed iqm, you should be able to find him on anynet irc at least.

I only use IQM to exchange to a different format with Noesis, since 'standard' formats done by those big companies such as fbx and bvh and collada really suck :) I use IQM to make MDRs and PSKs.
i should not be here
leileilol
 
Posts: 2783
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 3:23 am

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby toneddu2000 » Wed May 09, 2012 4:01 pm

of course it wasn't my intention to force you using Blender! :)
Iirc Noesis can't import dpm so it could be a problem. I'll check tonight a rather simple process
Keep in mind that, if fbx export is done well you should not suppose to learn Blender. Just open it, import fbx and export it as iqm/iqe. That's it.
But I'm pretty sure that will be another way
toneddu2000
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:39 pm
Location: Italy

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby Ace12GA » Wed May 09, 2012 5:25 pm

toneddu2000 wrote:of course it wasn't my intention to force you using Blender! :)
Iirc Noesis can't import dpm so it could be a problem. I'll check tonight a rather simple process
Keep in mind that, if fbx export is done well you should not suppose to learn Blender. Just open it, import fbx and export it as iqm/iqe. That's it.
But I'm pretty sure that will be another way


Tonight I am going to try just that. I didn't think fbx would export all the bones, rigging, and animation correctly to blender. If it is literally that simple, then I can bare blender for that extra step... Or, maybe I should look at the IQE format, and modify one of the maxscript smd exporters to export to IQE; that would be neat. Or maybe a script to convert SMD to IQE... Just spit balling or course.

I got in touch with the gentleman that maintains the IQM tools; he got back to me very quickly, and I have already given him all the source data.
Ace12GA
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:08 am

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby Ace12GA » Wed May 09, 2012 11:26 pm

Further experimentation has shown me that the path of smd to iqm is not working so far. There are some significant problems with the ability of iqm.exe to properly compile smd files in to an iqm model file. Smd files that work fine with Half Life 2, and Darkplaces dpm compiler, do not work with the iqm compiler sadly. When viewing the resultant files in noesis they are missing large portions of the mesh (whole mesh objects are gone), and the files crash Darkplaces.

I will be trying the path with blender in the middle, but I have to say that so far dpm, while only supported in Darkplaces, is panning out to be a great format. I had some problems with texture paths initially, but otherwise it works great.
Ace12GA
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:08 am

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby goldenboy » Fri May 11, 2012 10:52 am

Whatever works is the best format for you, but I have to say that you seem very set in your ways and expect new stuff to work with what you're currently doing (the SMD thing). This reminds me of mappers unwilling to give up Worldcraft when there are clear benefits to doing so.

Maybe you should just adapt your pipeline if you're looking to use new formats.
User avatar
goldenboy
 
Posts: 924
Joined: Fri Sep 05, 2008 11:04 pm
Location: Kiel

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby Ace12GA » Fri May 11, 2012 2:01 pm

goldenboy wrote:Whatever works is the best format for you, but I have to say that you seem very set in your ways and expect new stuff to work with what you're currently doing (the SMD thing). This reminds me of mappers unwilling to give up Worldcraft when there are clear benefits to doing so.

Maybe you should just adapt your pipeline if you're looking to use new formats.


I am a little set in my ways, not going to lie. With 3D modeling and animation there are substantial obstacles in changing an asset workflow, or switching a modeling and animation suite mid project. While your analogy is largely correct, its not as simple as exporting a .map and opening it in a different editor. I have hundreds of hours of work put into content with tools specific to the suite I am using. Exporting them to another suite is not simple,

I intend to experiment with Blender, and if I can get away with a simple export, import, and final export, I can live with that. It doesn't hurt my workflow much. If, on the other hand, I end up having to re-texture, re-rig, re-animate, etc.. that is not going to work and I am just going to stick with the dpm format.

I've worked with a lot of engines over the years, and the thing that always strikes me about id tech, is the relative complexity of working with 3D models. When skeletal models hit the scene in 1999 with Half Life, Unreal engine was to follow very shortly there after with their own format. The tool and workflow chains for those engines allows an artist to easily work with models, including easy to export to, easy to tweak, etc.. Previously, at best, you were exporting single frames of animation as .3ds files and compiling them, which generated a skinmap on compile, and was generally messy. Seriously, I made models for Quake and Quake 2 with 3D Studio 4 (not max), and it was brutally painful. The QTip plugin for 3DS Max made life a tonne easier, but it was still a lot of work. When Q3A was released, I thought it would be great to work with, but again, the same terrible tool chains, and the same terrible formats. Yes MD3 isn't bad for some things, but lets be honest, its not a great format when compared to HL mdl or Unreal PSA/PSK, which was introduced when Epic made the big change to UnrealEd from a VB app, to a proper C++ app with Unreal Tech 1.5. I think everyone agrees the vertex animation formats are garbage in todays world.

So, I'm being a little stuck in my ways, because I think it should be reasonably easy to get skeletal data into an engine today. I am not stuck on SMD, not at all, however it seems to be a pretty good format to work with. There are exporters for every major 3D suite, it can be used as a transitional step to many other engine formats, and it is well known, and well documented. The whole reason I am looking into this is to try to support a wider range of engines with my content, as opposed to saying "Darkplaces only!". I am personally happy with the Darkplaces dpm format, it works; but I can see that limiting to a single tech is not so great in the Quake engine scene.

The IQM compiler is broken when it comes to SMD support. It does not properly work with a complex smd file. Maybe the solution is a max script that exports to IQE, which is a possibility. I know there have been maxscript based SMD exporters.
Ace12GA
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:08 am

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby Ace12GA » Sat May 12, 2012 12:23 am

toneddu2000 wrote:... If you export your model as FBX, you could import it in Blender, export it as iqe and then edit it as you wish...


Where does one find this FBX importer for Blender? I have searched for the last 30 minutes, and every where I have been says there is no FBX importer for Blender. A link would be fantastic. Thanks!
Ace12GA
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:08 am

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby toneddu2000 » Sat May 12, 2012 7:57 am

Maybe I found something. You could try exporting your mesh with md5mesh and your animation data as md5anim and then convert them as a .iqm model file. In this way, you shouldn't be forced to use Blender!
Md5 exporter
on the iqm site:
"
The IQM development kit can be downloaded here (iqm-2012-05-05.tar.gz, 2456KB). It includes:
...
IQM compiler for MD5, SMD, and IQE models
"

hope it helps

PS:
I think everyone agrees the vertex animation formats are garbage in todays world.

I always tought vertex animation formats were garbage even 15 years ago! :)
toneddu2000
 
Posts: 1318
Joined: Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:39 pm
Location: Italy

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby leileilol » Sat May 12, 2012 11:17 am

the usual md5sucks WARNING: MD5 LACKS NORMALS
i should not be here
leileilol
 
Posts: 2783
Joined: Fri Oct 15, 2004 3:23 am

Re: mdl, md2, md3, dpm, iqm, etc... Optimal model format.

Postby Ace12GA » Sat May 12, 2012 12:30 pm

leileilol wrote:the usual md5sucks WARNING: MD5 LACKS NORMALS


MD5 treats all polys as double sided? That is a pretty odd thing, no normals, considering normals are a major part of a 3D mesh... Thanks for that info.
Ace12GA
 
Posts: 56
Joined: Sat Jan 28, 2012 12:08 am

Next

Return to Modeling

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests