Tonight I’m going to discuss interchange formats for a moment.
As of now, I’m currently getting my hands dirty with the Irrlicht-1.8.1 rendering engine. But, unlike its well-known rival (Ogre3D), it doesn’t have its own format for animated meshes. So, what’s a plucky soon-to-be 3D animator to do?
Well, if you take a look at Irrlicht’s supported animated formats here, you’ll see that only a handful are actually useful (or mature enough) for games. So, without further ado, here’s a link to a Blitz3D exporter that you can use for Blender (the open-source 3D animation software I recommend you use as part of the pipeline).
Blitz3D is a binary interchange format which specializes in skinned, bone-based animation. In the last article, I showed you some Blender tutorials regarding a gingerbread man. Given that the model was rigged and animated using bones, you’ll want to use this format to represent it as a 3D game asset.
You can begin to bring the exporter into Blender by going to File > User Preferences, clicking on the “Import-Export” tab on the left-hand side (so you can see what formats are currently installed/enabled), and continue by clicking on “Install from File” at the bottom. From there, you’ll just need to navigate to the zip file, select it, and then click on the “Install from File” button in the upper right. If everything goes well, you should now be presented with the option to export the Blitz3D format. (Don’t forget to check the box to the right of the add-on description so it gets enabled!)
Now that you have this new tool in your arsenal, feel free to start creating lots of animated characters for your game. The sky’s the limit! 🙂
That’s it for now! I’ll continue to keep you posted as I make more progress with my game design efforts.