How are bones/skinned meshes specified?
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Author:  zoombapup [ 12.06.2009, 23:54 ]
Post subject:  How are bones/skinned meshes specified?

I'm using 3dsmax 2009 and I've got a character I created a while back for Ogre and I'm trying to make him function in horde.

Basically, he's a bunch of boxes (head, arms, legs, body) so he's not complex.

I've got a box for each bone, which is essentially the same as the body parts. So that its quick to test with.

I can (using the autodesk collada exporter) get the .dae file to export and it shows ALL of the meshes. Which isnt ideal as I dont want the bones showing for obvious reasons.

Now my biggest problem is that it doesnt seem that my animation is working. I can load the animation resource file and it seems to return validly. But when animating the node parameters I get no animation. I traced the code a bit and its basically got nothing in the nodelist in ModelNode::SetAnimParams for some reason.

So, question is. What is the correct method to ensure an animation actually plays?

One other thing, is that the batch count seems incredibly high. Like 1300 or so. Is there any automatic batching? my arms, legs, body and head parts use individual textures so that I can do runtime user-changing of each mesh texture part. Is there a cleaner way to do that using the current system?

Plus, my scale is waaay out, but I dont know how to scale meshes reliably in max in a way that doesnt completely screw the model (stuff like bone bindings etc).

Author:  marciano [ 13.06.2009, 08:43 ]
Post subject:  Re: How are bones/skinned meshes specified?

Converting models coming from 3dsmax should work quite well. Please use either the ColladaMax (better tested) or the new Collada NextGen exporters. Usually we used a Biped with Physique or a Skin modifier with Bone helpers in Max. I never tried using real geometry as joints.

Regarding the batches, is it 1300 for a single character? Then something goes terribly wrong ;)
Horde preserves the meshes that you define in 3dsmax and does not merge them since they could be required by the game code. But usually a model has just a few meshes so that's no problem.

To scale the whole model, you can apply a transformation to the Model node in your game code.

Author:  zoombapup [ 13.06.2009, 08:51 ]
Post subject:  Re: How are bones/skinned meshes specified?

luckily its 1300 for the number of characters in the chicago sample :) but still its a lot. Each mesh has its own texture, but really it should be batched better as the characters are all the same. I guess its fine if all characters are using the same texture but shows issues when individual submesh parts use seperate textures (its a bit like an MMO would do).

I've just this minute downloaded the other exporter (I figured the autodesk one wasnt really very informative).

To be clear, the model is basically a bunch of boxes. The bones are also boxes, the model is basically a copy of the bones. So I have a bone heirarchy and a model heirarchy, a skin modifier placed on the model to bind it to the bones. Pretty simple, but should work.

I have some weird issues with it in Ogre, in that one frame of animation has a weird transform in it. I figured I'd use it as a test case for the pipeline of Horde in comparison. So far the pipeline has been pretty similar, aside from using collada as the format (which I much prefer to some proprietary format). So now its just a case of getting the animation working. The anim file is produced, but doesnt play for some reason.

Author:  zoombapup [ 13.06.2009, 09:23 ]
Post subject:  Re: How are bones/skinned meshes specified?

Hey, waddya know. Using the colladamax exporter works!

I tried the next-gen one and it didnt work with the animation properly. But the colladamax one worked fine. It doesnt even display the bone nodes anymore.

Well, that was an easy fix :)

That was a far happier process than the Ogre export pipeline thats for sure. Having proprietary formats for things like exporters is pretty crazy IMHO, because nobody on an open source team has ever got the time to update for EVERY new release of EVERY 3d app. I just wonder what is going to happen to autodesk support for collada, given the poor showing of thier own exporter. I do hope they take on the use of the open source exporter and actually keep everything up to date.

Nice. Now to play :)

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