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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 3:51 pm 
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Homeworld used Lightwave (I think) as its 3D modelling tool/format and it is not free. When we open up Homeworld to better support mods we should try and ensure that there are no financial restrictions on the ability to create new content. We should also try and support an open/industry standard format for 3D models. I have to admit to absolutely no knowledge in this domain though. Can anyone recommend:

1) an open/industry standard 3D format we could use that has...

2) free/cheap 3D modelling editors available on all platforms* which support it? (If so, what are they?)

* Windows/Linux/Mac OS X

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2005 5:38 pm 
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lmop wrote:
Homeworld used Lightwave (I think) as its 3D modelling tool/format and it is not free.


Yes, but free, shareware, and inexpensive 3rd party tools could be used, and were used, to create content for Homeworld 1 mods.

lmop wrote:
When we open up Homeworld to better support mods we should try and ensure that there are no financial restrictions on the ability to create new content.


Like Homeworld 2 ;)

lmop wrote:
We should also try and support an open/industry standard format for 3D models.


Er... why?

It's not so much what the game designers used... it's more of a question of the model format supporting conversions to/from free or inexpensive third party software.

Unfortunately the crux in modding HW was the 3D Exploration 3D model conversion app, which could read and write to the HW peo format and thus convert it to any number of formats that various 3D modelling programs could access. Unfortunately 3DX is no longer a "free or inexpensive" option.

lmop wrote:
I have to admit to absolutely no knowledge in this domain though. Can anyone recommend:

1) an open/industry standard 3D format we could use that has...


That would involve a serious rewrite of the HW core, but is technically possible.

lmop wrote:
2) free/cheap 3D modelling editors available on all platforms* which support it? (If so, what are they?)


Again: there is no need for everyone to use a common editor, and indeed such would restrict modders very uneccessarily.

What is needed is a model format that is easily converted to and from.

.


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:57 am 
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zapkitty wrote:
What is needed is a model format that is easily converted to and from.

i.e. an open/industry standard. Now if the current model format fits the bill, great. If not, then Homeworld should support this other format directly because otherwise it doesn't matter how many editors exist that support it - or whose files can be translated to it - if you cannot easily do the final conversion into the format Homeworld requires then all your work is for nought - which is what I think you saying here:

zapkitty wrote:
Unfortunately the crux in modding HW was the 3D Exploration 3D model conversion app, which could read and write to the HW peo format and thus convert it to any number of formats that various 3D modelling programs could access. Unfortunately 3DX is no longer a "free or inexpensive" option.

I wasn't seeking a single modelling application solution either; it would be nice from a tutuorial/how-to point-of-view but is not a requirement. The only requirement is that whatever format is decided upon, there must be a free/cheap editor available on each platform which supports it. (If it really is a standard then all the brand-name applications will support it anyway, so we're not forcing the use of a particular editor; just making it possible for anyone to mod regardless of their financial circumstance.)

zapkitty wrote:
That would involve a serious rewrite of the HW core, but is technically possible.

This, I know. :D Opening up Homeworld to doing modding properly is going to sufficient work that I see no reason to start putting limits on it at this stage!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2005 6:21 pm 
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Whould a simpler route not be to write peo/lif converters for the most popular 3d modeling applications?

MS3D, Rhino, Max, Maya, Lightwave etc...


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 22, 2005 7:22 pm 
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Aurek wrote:
Whould a simpler route not be to write peo/lif converters for the most popular 3d modeling applications?

MS3D, Rhino, Max, Maya, Lightwave etc...


Close. Easiest would be to write one converter for a universally available format, like dxf or 3ds.

Then, assuming that HW's texture-sharing oddities have been addressed, would come a texture tool... as textures in HW are part of the model format and that would need to be addressed.

Given model access and texture access modders could go to town.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 23, 2005 5:26 am 
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Please note that in those scenarios, having done all that work, the game itself is no better than it was before and the current limitations remain. Zapkitty mentions issues with textures which brings us to another aspect of this discussion:

Are there any limitations with the current format (or any of its potential replacements) that would prevent us from making specific changes to the game engine we might want to make?

(Lack of support for bump-map textures for example.)

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 25, 2005 2:35 pm 
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Changes in graphical capabilities of the engine are going to require changes in the file and texture formats. I hadnt thought of that...


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 8:39 pm 
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I feel it necessary to point out that both Spooky and Delphy were narrowing on .obj -> .peo converters at the time that Homeworld modding died.

I would also that, from my POV as an HW modder, that the .peo format does pretty much what it needs to do the way it is. The models aren't the problem, IMO anyway; the problem is the texture size limitations, the overall texture memory limitations, and the engine's poly count limitations. Maybe it doesn't support some of the new eye candy like bump mapping, but overall the .peo has served us well... :)


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 4:57 am 
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Hello Captain Pierce, nice to "see" a new face round here.

Captain Pierce wrote:
...Spooky and Delphy were narrowing on .obj -> .peo converters...

Was that before the HW Source was released (i.e. it was the only option available at the time)?

Captain Pierce wrote:
...the problem is the texture size limitations, the overall texture memory limitations...

Are these limitations inherent to the engine (which we can therefore potentially fix) or the .peo format itself?

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 27, 2005 7:27 am 
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Yeah, that was prior to the Source release; according to them, 3D Exploration .peo's weren't 100% adherent to the .peo spec. ;) Although I think it was just in some obscure way that was apparent only to programmers, not anything as blatant as the errors in 3DEx .lif's... :D

And the limitations are in the engine itself. You can't use more than 32MB total of textures, or you get texture corruption no matter how many times you run things through Liflist. The engine also seems to have a problem if you use too many 256x256 textures, regardless of if you're near that 32MB limit or not.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 25, 2005 6:24 am 
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I'm not really up to date on 3d modelling either but I am aware of 3ds files being fairly popular and easy to come by.

More to the point though, a complete free and fairly known modeller is Blender. (http://www.blender3d.com) It can output DXF files natively, which was one of the formats mentioned earlier in this discussion. It'd be nice if the texture mappings done in the modeller could be transferred to homeworld. This off course does require the format to support it too.

But, what do I know....

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PostPosted: Wed Jun 01, 2005 6:53 pm 
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Well...several months later, I'll chip in too. :p

Blender can spit out uvmaps and all through vrml format. I don't know enough about python scripting, but it may be possible to write a .peo export for it, creating an entirely free mod design process. Blender is what I've used to create the content for BrickSpace.

-Stefan-


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 09, 2007 6:26 am 
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Google SketchUp?

It's free but it can only save in one 3D format (.kmz) unless you upgrade to the Pro version ($315). Investigating some more, the .kmz format is actually just a .zip file that contains a number of other files, including a .kml file which allows you to specify lots of cool things in Google Earth (latitude/longitude; URLs; text etc) and as such is generally useless to us... However, it also allows you to incorporate 3D objects via the open 3D format COLLADA which is the official Playstation 3 format, so it's pretty much guaranteed to support all of the features we might want in Homeworld. It shouldn't be hard to either write an extractor to pull out the bits we actually want (3D texture models) since COLLADA is based on XML, or simply accept that file sizes will be bigger than they otherwise need to be.

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 04, 2007 7:07 am 
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As long as it supports a hierarchical structure and matrix transformations then any general 3D model format should do as UV's are pretty standard. The only problem with making PEO's was the offsets for turrets and the like. There's not many available formats that have that kind of data. I wish OBJ had it built in as that would be the perfect choice, although as a simple text file with object structures I bet it's VERY easily extensible - use comment markers to hide the matrix and hierarchy data from any standard OBJ reader and then add in a second marker to read this commented out data for your custom OBJ (HWOBJ?) file.

Obj exporters can't be hard to write for any number of 3D applications, and if you focus more on the format rather than the applications you can have people modeling in whatever you want. Milkshape always worked great for HW ships. Amazing little application that was.

You could bypass all this by having a native peo export/import written, but I believe there is source for OBJ import/export for a variety of 3D apps already out there, and a tweak might be better than a full write.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 05, 2007 1:42 pm 
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Glad to see you here Crook!

Now, going forward, are we right to assume that turret information should belong in the 3D mesh format? Perhaps what we need is a new type of hardpoint where separate mesh objects can be attached together. I find the concept of putting ships together like legos rather fun. Homeworld did some great things, but I have this vision of something that's less of a harsh mistress to let us do what we always wanted.

Here's the way I see things: we need to settle on a new format and either leave backwards compatibility in the engine or put in a conversion utility invoked as needed.


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