PDA

View Full Version : Is Core for Game Developers?



Frank_Geppert
06-12-2010, 12:17 PM
Hi,

I want to ask you something about Core. Will it be a good choice for game developers? Are there any people with some experience? How good is DAE and FBX export? Does it support vertex colors? Can I edit vertex normals? Is it easy to bake normal maps, ambient occlusion, light maps and other effects into textures?

Does it make sense for me to jump the Core train?

Regards,
Frank

shrox
06-12-2010, 12:25 PM
I've wondering about Core. Is it comparable to the kernel of an operating system, and Modeler and Layout are more just of an interface? And are export and import features handled by Core or by the Modeler and Layout?

Kuzey
06-12-2010, 01:19 PM
Hi,

I want to ask you something about Core. Will it be a good choice for game developers? Are there any people with some experience? How good is DAE and FBX export? Does it support vertex colors? Can I edit vertex normals? Is it easy to bake normal maps, ambient occlusion, light maps and other effects into textures?

Does it make sense for me to jump the Core train?

Regards,
Frank

I think it's possible to create normal maps in Core....was mentioned awhile ago...but not confirmed. I would think the file formats would be updated to industry standard....but that would be a guess also.

But...it's way too early...I would wait if you can. We still don't know what the new changes mean for Core....Rob and Chuck, are currently missing in action :D

Kuzey

BlueApple
06-12-2010, 11:24 PM
I do game work, and until recently was testing Core.

For now, I recommend you dig through the feature list .pdf that was dropped a while back and decide whether or not the feature list in that document delivers the tools you need. What are your needs in terms of animation, mapping, import/export, modeling, physics sims, etc. If what is outlined in the .pdf satisfies your requirements, perhaps you want to jump into the program while Core is still being developed.

If you want to be more cautious, wait until Core 1.0 is rolled out and compare its features and cost with whatever application/s you currently use for game development.

Apologies if this is a vague answer, but the truth is that nobody can say if Core 1.0 is a good tool for game developers because right now there is no Core 1.0.

cgisoul
06-12-2010, 11:50 PM
CORE costs now $895 and once the public version is out it will cost $1495. For $895 you get lw and core and everything nice, so like any other investment that wasn't a hard decision to make, I chose the CORE way. In long term is definitely worth it, plus being part of a brand new app is a very exchiting idea.

Now assuming that an upgrade will be the same price of $695 as shown now, I would have paid $1590 for lw, core v.1 and core v.2 (for $695).

It will be a complete replacement of the lw legacy and it is something that it won't happen over night, however, investment wise, it is a wise decision to get CORE right now, before the public release ($1495). This is a long term investment. Hope this helps someway.

Frank_Geppert
06-13-2010, 05:19 AM
Thanks BlueApple. I just did a search in the feature PDF of Core. I searched for "normal" and there is only "flip normal". So it looks like there is nothing for vertex normals and nothing for normal maps.

CGicore: I understand your position. But for me it is a bit different. I already have a Lightwave license. And I have a Modo license. So I really want to get some features that I miss (like editing vertex normals or a good character animation pipeline).
And because of that I find a price tag of 1,500 quite expensive. It really has to be better than LW and modo (at least in my case) for this price.

grn
06-13-2010, 05:20 AM
I think it's possible to create normal maps in Core....was mentioned awhile ago...but not confirmed.

Kuzey

If the feature is in CORE 1.0, hopefully it is not rushed. I mean not made made formally just to be able to say that "Hoy, we have normal mapping in too.". If it is something like LW3Ds had, it will not be useful when it comes to exported stuff. Have to be able to tweak tangent and binormal etc (max uses smoothed normals) behaviors so that they match the rt engine that you are working with.

If it can make a vertex smoothed box look straight sided in different engines without visible seams, the it's probably good.

One thing that is important is editable cages.

When it comes game development, the FXB exporter should be able to output stuff in older versions too. Sometimes 2006.11 is the only one that works.

cgisoul
06-13-2010, 06:12 AM
And because of that I find a price tag of 1,500 quite expensive. It really has to be better than LW and modo (at least in my case) for this price. Since you already have LW, it will cost you now only $495 for the hardcore membership, where you also get CORE and its builts. Not $1500.
If you choose to upgrade after its first public release, CORE upgrade will cost $695 for already owners of LW.

I sold my modo license and paid $400 for the new LW and Core.
Waiting for my new license to arrive from Hong Kong.
I am aware that CORE is not and will not be a full flag app right at the first, second vesion, but like I said, it's a long term investment and CORE itself, I believe is the new way.

hrgiger
06-13-2010, 10:07 AM
You have to know that CORE 1 will be shipping with an updated modeler and layout so you have to ask yourself if CORE + the updated modeler and layout will get the job done for you.

I can't really divulge a lot because A) CORE is currently in alpha and under an informal NDA and B) I'm not a game developer so I wouldn't understand the needs for one who is. But going off discussions in the CORE forums for the last year, it would seem to me that the needs of game developers are not being ignored by Newtek.

hrgiger
06-13-2010, 10:13 AM
I've wondering about Core. Is it comparable to the kernel of an operating system, and Modeler and Layout are more just of an interface? And are export and import features handled by Core or by the Modeler and Layout?

Shrox- CORE is an application with it's own interface. Both CORE and modeler/layout will handle importing/exporting and the idea is to transfer files between them with minimal to no loss of data.

As far as the feature list for CORE goes, I think that's more of a estimate from Newtek and will most likely not be 100% accurate. For instance, I know of a few tools that we've recently acquired in CORE that are not in the features list and I would not be surpised to see a few things that are listed not show up in the final release. Also, with Chuck and Rob now handling the 3D division, I wouldn't be surprised if they change things somewhat. I'm sure we'll hear more on it eventually.

Lamont
06-14-2010, 05:46 AM
I'm waiting to see how LW/Core handles edges, normals, smoothing groups, UV mapping and a few other things. If it's the same how it is now, I'll have to pass on the upgrade.

Frank_Geppert
06-14-2010, 06:22 AM
I'm waiting to see how LW/Core handles edges, normals, smoothing groups, UV mapping and a few other things. If it's the same how it is now, I'll have to pass on the upgrade.

Exactly. The hard vs. soft edges issue is the reason why I asked about vertex normals. I dont care how they solve it, via smoothing groups, edge modifier or a vertex tool. I just want to have control over the smoothing.

Lamont
06-14-2010, 06:57 AM
Exactly. The hard vs. soft edges issue is the reason why I asked about vertex normals. I dont care how they solve it, via smoothing groups, edge modifier or a vertex tool. I just want to have control over the smoothing.Yeah, instead of making a surface per group or splitting edges. Not the right way.

Silkrooster
06-15-2010, 10:17 PM
Thanks BlueApple. I just did a search in the feature PDF of Core. I searched for "normal" and there is only "flip normal". So it looks like there is nothing for vertex normals and nothing for normal maps.

CGicore: I understand your position. But for me it is a bit different. I already have a Lightwave license. And I have a Modo license. So I really want to get some features that I miss (like editing vertex normals or a good character animation pipeline).
And because of that I find a price tag of 1,500 quite expensive. It really has to be better than LW and modo (at least in my case) for this price.

Keep in mind that the pdf is a work in progress. What you need may be available after version 1 rolls out. But they need to hear from those in the game market, if certain features are needed.

Frank_Geppert
06-16-2010, 01:29 AM
But they need to hear from those in the game market, if certain features are needed.

How can I tell them?

Silkrooster
06-16-2010, 01:41 AM
This thread is a good start. Make up a list of what you would like to see and post it. Though it is possible that it could be missed.
Most of the core conversations are in the core forums, less people so it may be a bit easier for them to find and they may even respond which is nice. They use to have a wishlist email address and forum, not sure if they still exist. Sending an email or phone call to customer support may prove to be the most direct route.

Frank_Geppert
06-16-2010, 06:47 AM
Ok, I will start to make a list here and everybody can join and add additional features needed for game developers. After this I will try to contact Newtek for new features.

Here is what I wish to see in Core as a game developer:


a robust modelling tool
a powerful uv-tool set
vertex painting
skinning and animation (with and without bones)
smoothing and hard edges (e.g. controlling vertex normals)
baking textures (e.g. ambient occlusion, tangent normal maps, depth maps, light maps..)
a reliable im- and export route (at least proper animated FBX and DAE)
a game-like real-time preview of materials (diffuse, spec and normal map, transparecy, lightmaps in second uv-set and detail mapping, maybe even real-time shadows)


A good bonus would be:
- 3d painting
- sculpting

Kuzey
06-16-2010, 07:00 AM
Hi Frank,

You could always join the Hardcore program, test Core for a month or so. See if your suggestions have been taken up or already there...in that time period etc. If you feel it's not what you need, ask for a refund.

It's just an idea...but at least you get first hand experience and see how things are.

ps..There is an email address you can send suggestions to, but I can't remember it.

pss...I do believe there was some form of sculpting tool(s) demoed early on.

Kuzey

erikals
06-16-2010, 07:43 AM
no, Core is not a good choice for game developers, LW96 however is.

FPrime is a great previewer, but expensive,...
http://www.worley.com/E/Products/fprime/fprime.html

LW96 can show normal maps, but it's not all that...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=00Uy7bfODZQ

for UVing, use PLG, it's ok
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=erikalst+plg&aq=f

but as an addition it's best to buy 3D-Coat for UVing, Texturing, Scuplting.
http://www.3d-coat.com/
works great with LW, reads LWO etc. etc...

Skinning in LW, looking into making a videotut for it...

Character Animation, use Maestro (site down atm?)
http://www.stillwaterpictures.com/maestro

Baking textures, use LW's camera bake, or Sensei's new plugin
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?p=1021210

erikals
06-16-2010, 07:51 AM
upcoming Keystone plugin, if you use Unity,
http://vimeo.com/10885521

Frank_Geppert
06-16-2010, 08:16 AM
Erikals:
I already use LW9.6 almost daily. But I also use Modo at the same time. You can believe me, that there is a lack. I love LW and I really enjoy working with it.

But baking AO is only possible with external plugins. And unfortunately they dont work with my 64-bit version.
In Modo it is just a new layer in the render tree.

Baking normal maps from high to low poly can only be done with a plugin in LW. And there is no support for it. In Modo it works with a single right-mouse click at a texture.

You mentioned lots of more plugins, some work in different versions, some on PC, some on Mac, some only 32 bit.

Then there is absolutely no option to change vertex normals to create hard edges. I have to split geometry or create additional edges. This is not smart when you have to keep the polygon low.

And one of the total road blockers is the file transfer workflow. I never managed to get an animated character into Lightwave as is. Even very cheap tools like Ultimate Unwrap 3d, Milkshape or Fragmotion can read and write animated files like FBX, DAE and many game engine formats. Lightwave cannot.

Currently it is NOT a gamedev tool, even when you and others (like me) are making stuff for games with it. But believe me, most of other gamedev people smile about us. They cannot believe that such a simple thing like vertex normal editing is not available. They will not touch it and that is why you merely find any reports about gamedevs using LW nowadays.

And I just hope, that Core changes this situation. But when you say, it is even worse, then my only hope is modo or Blender.

erikals
06-16-2010, 08:32 AM
yes :]
modo is probably the best way to go.

Lamont
06-18-2010, 03:21 AM
yes :]
modo is probably the best way to go.I was interested in Modo for a while, until...


They cannot believe that such a simple thing like vertex normal editing is not available. They will not touch it and that is why you merely find any reports about gamedevs using LW nowadays.Modo has this same issue. You gotta split edges, but that brings up new issues.

PLG is great (more than great), but needs a little more work to get it 100%. If I had to be 100% Lightwave I'd use PLG and xNormal. I use FPrime 3 times a year on average. BUT if I were making tile-based isometric games/pre-rendered assets, you bet I'd be using FPrime a lot more. I could go without major sculpting tools, there's a lot more I'd rather see in Core/LW before that.

-------------------------------------

It's good to read that LW is going to a more universal format. But they need to make sure it plays well with others or we're back at square one.

For mobile/low-poly work (sometimes for Unreal), I'd like to be able to vert light my scenes. Not render out a texture of the lightmap/color, transfer that to vert color data every time I make an update. It got old very freakin' fast. Vert lighting in Maya is great, any lighting system can be baked down into verts as a pull down option.

I want to bake normals, lightmaps, AO without jumping through a half dozen hoops to do so. And I want the proper adjustments in order to get them of great quality.

Stop mish-mashing the vert order/winding order. It's one of the most annoying things.
---------------------------------------------

Modeling tools are almost fine, we need to be able to properly perform operations without things blowing up. Extruding in LW is a PITA, bevels, proper widget locations for operations. Being able to model in different coordinate spaces. Objects being treated like objects, instead of a mish-mash of verts and polys in a vast nothingness till you get into Layout.

I've seen demos of Modo, and it looks like what I'd want in a modeler. The way it handles selections and operations, just dreamy sometimes.

YaGfXg33k
06-18-2010, 12:43 PM
In the LW Wiki, the following statement is made:

Complete rewrite, will not have all of LW9.6's features, will introduce new features replacing sets of LW9.6 features

I don't like that :)

Will an upgrade to Core then provide a version of LW to me that is a subset of what is now 9.6?

erikals
06-18-2010, 12:53 PM
Yes!
and yep, there's no charge for LW96 when you buy CORE

shrox
06-18-2010, 01:06 PM
I am about to be using Ogre in my new job. I am using LW 9.6, anybody have any experience in exporting LW to Ogre?

warmiak
06-18-2010, 01:48 PM
Then there is absolutely no option to change vertex normals to create hard edges. I have to split geometry or create additional edges. This is not smart when you have to keep the polygon low.


Nope, this is exactly how you want to model your geometry if you are modeling for a game engine.

Game engines work with graphic cards and the only way a graphic card can display a hard edge is to have two sets of vertices for each vertex - both with different normals.

Even if you are working with an app that lets you hide this process by supporting some sort of "smooth/hard edge" functionality, in the end it will get exported as separate geometry - so doing it yourself will let you keep more accurate view of your total vertex count to begin with.

PS.
The same applies to your UV coordinates as soon as your end up with discontinuous UV coordinates, it will be an equivalent of duplicating vertices - so even if your model only contains X vertices, inefficient UV mapping can significantly change its vertexcount ( which is what really matters)

warmiak
06-18-2010, 09:18 PM
but you cant see open edges in LW, its a pain. its better from a workflow perspective to mark edges hard or soft which it cant do.

if you are going to do games use max,maya or xsi and use lw as a helper app to model and bake stuff, render textures etc.

I don't mind at all since the whole reason for having hard edges is to affect lighting which is perfectly visible in texture mode.

Cageman
06-19-2010, 01:04 AM
But baking AO is only possible with external plugins. And unfortunately they dont work with my 64-bit version.
In Modo it is just a new layer in the render tree.

I'm not going to argue that the workflow for this is better in Modo, however, baking AO using vanilla LightWave, both 32 and 64 bit has been possible for quite some time.

1) Assign one of the AO nodes (there are at least 2 native ones) in Surface editor -> Node Editor

2) Use surface Baking camera and bake the result to a texture based on a UV-Map.


Baking normal maps from high to low poly can only be done with a plugin in LW. And there is no support for it. In Modo it works with a single right-mouse click at a texture.

Again, this is possible with DPKit. DPKit is a collection of free nodes developed by Denis Pontonnier (http://pagesperso-orange.fr/dpont/main_en.htm) and it is actively supported and updated. Versions for LWx32, LWx64, and Mac are avaliable. There is a NormalCast node that allows you to easily bake Normalmaps from a highres mesh. With some additional mathnodes, you can wire a nodenetwork that also generates Displacementmaps, using the NormalCast node (thanks to Spirosa for that technique).

:)

Lamont
06-19-2010, 06:24 PM
The freakin grid unit options in Modeler: 1, 15, 12.55, 125 and 12. How about let is choose what WE want?

DPKit is great, but when it comes to how we really work with high res to low res complex assets, it's weakness (besides the setup/workflow) is LW's fault of not dealing with vertex normals as tangent spaced normal maps are greatly influenced by them.

It drove me mad when one of the artist would split edges instead of just changing the normal (he came from Blender). I'd get his scene and start vertex lighting it and things would look like crap... I want to go in and edit it, select a vertex and there's like 2~3 other verts sharing that same point I didn't know about, bump the color and see a nice star pattern shoot across the asset. Or go in and edit normals and find all these split edges everywhere. Want to select a loop, oh crap, that's where he split it. Want to modify something... move it and the whole face comes off? You want to edit it a little more, then that means welding the edges, loosing vert color information AND redoing it.

I wasn't the only one kicking assets back to him, OTHER people were kicking assets back to him. Finally got it through that you don't do that...

erikals
06-20-2010, 12:23 PM
...With some additional mathnodes, you can wire a nodenetwork that also generates Displacementmaps, using the NormalCast node (thanks to Spirosa for that technique) :)

cool :]
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106642

Frank_Geppert
06-21-2010, 09:16 AM
Nope, this is exactly how you want to model your geometry if you are modeling for a game engine.

Game engines work with graphic cards and the only way a graphic card can display a hard edge is to have two sets of vertices for each vertex - both with different normals.

This is not entirely true. A game engine just like a graphics card does not only render vertices and triangles, it also knows about directions of vertices, called vertex normals. The same mesh can look different when vertex normals are strange. I saw this in different game engines that lighting can look very ugly when vertex normals are pointing in all different directions.

But at the same time it can be a good tool to control lighting. You could let a group of vertices show in a certain direction to have a perfect flat surface between them and a sharper edge around them.

This is what I was talking about.
But splitting a mesh will produce lots of problems. Stencil shadows do not work with open meshes, collision detection can be an issue as well.

Regarding the normal map:
I personally dont like to setup up lots of plugins, additional nodes and other complicated networks just for a task, that I can do with a single mouse click in another software. That is why I often switch to Modo for modelling and baking tasks. XNormal is no option, I checked and it produces lots of problems when high-poly source meshes are not closed.

warmiak
06-21-2010, 10:57 AM
This is not entirely true. A game engine just like a graphics card does not only render vertices and triangles, it also knows about directions of vertices, called vertex normals. The same mesh can look different when vertex normals are strange. I saw this in different game engines that lighting can look very ugly when vertex normals are pointing in all different directions.


It only relies on vertices - a vertex is a structure containing stuff like position/normal/color/uv coordinates ( everything being optional except the position itself)

Since a vertex can only have one normal at a time - to have a hard edge you need to have two vertices at the same position - both of them using exactly the same data ( save for normals which are different and are the sole reason for vertex duplication)




This is what I was talking about.
But splitting a mesh will produce lots of problems. Stencil shadows do not work with open meshes, collision detection can be an issue as well.


Again, you can keep your mesh any way you want in your 3d app but it will end up being split with possible multiple duplicated vertices ,because there is no other way around it.
As soon as you have a vertex which joins two surfaces with different normals , you will end up with 2 of them .. same applies to uvs.

The only reason I am brining it up is because even when Lightwave tells you that you have say ... 8000 points ( vertices) , there is a good chance that the exported model will contain 10 or maybe even 12 K worth of vertices - something that does matter because vertices are what is being transformed on the graphic card and obviously, there is a difference in terms of performance when transforming 8K vs 12K vertices

Frank_Geppert
06-21-2010, 11:32 AM
while this is all true, what you told, warmiak, there can still be a lighting problem when I dont have control over vertex normals. I saw this more than once.

warmiak
06-21-2010, 12:02 PM
while this is all true, what you told, warmiak, there can still be a lighting problem when I dont have control over vertex normals. I saw this more than once.

Of course, but , as an artist who creates assets for game engines , it is good to be aware how all of this works underneath.

grn
06-22-2010, 12:14 AM
It would be awesome to have a "baking central" - a panel from which you could control everything related easily. All in one place, right under your eyes.

http://3d-output.com/spAce/images/various/lw-texture-baker.jpg

lardbros
06-22-2010, 02:23 AM
If I'm honest ... although I can't say anything specific, Rob and Chuck have seriously got a move on with some of the workflow issues in the old LW and are extending this to CORE too. Rob has got right on it and clearly knows what we need in a production driven environment, and being able to move files cross-platform/cross-application is what we all need. Hopefully, this will extend to game development too, as Rob has said that the original .fbx exporter was being driven by him in the first place.

Also, with CORE having .dae as its native format, it's going to help game dev people no end! Fingers crossed it works well with other apps (i haven't tried as yet, and wouldn't be able to say anyway), but i'm very confident it will with Rob now at the helm.

lardbros
06-22-2010, 05:28 AM
http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106944

Hmmm, interesting...

Lamont
06-22-2010, 06:24 AM
Having DAE as the format of choice for the next installment of LW won't help other than to get your data to another app to fix issues that need not be fixed if LW handled them correctly in the first place.

@ grn - Good mockup. Needs more kittens.:hey:


http://www.newtek.com/forums/showthread.php?t=106944Looks like Members Only.


http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/exhibitionist/membersonly.jpg

grn
06-22-2010, 07:29 AM
@ grn - Good mockup. Needs more kittens.:hey:


No problem,
http://3d-output.com/spAce/images/various/lw-texture-baker-kittens.jpg

Frank_Geppert
06-23-2010, 01:22 AM
After all the good feedback from you I checked the AO features in LW again. I can indeed use a node in the graphical shader tree, but there is also a shader in the standard material editor that can handle AO.

But there is still one disadvantage: I have to set up this for EACH material in the scene. But actually it often makes sense as a post-processing effect to apply to a complete scene instead to single materials.

This reflects very well how my feelings are about Lightwave as it. I like it very much. There are often lots of ways to solve something, but often they are a bit hidden and sophisticated or even complicated. And besides that I can learn something new in Lightwave each month :)

Lamont
06-23-2010, 07:13 PM
But there is still one disadvantage: I have to set up this for EACH material in the scene. But actually it often makes sense as a post-processing effect to apply to a complete scene instead to single materials.
Yeah, it's why I use xNormal or Maya to do my bakes and surface transfers: select target, select source(s), maybe change some settings, hit button. No need to mess with materials/surfaces/add nodes... whatever.

Lamont
06-24-2010, 08:02 PM
What grn mocked up above is close to what's in Maya.

Lamont
07-13-2010, 02:37 AM
You know what's annoying me at this moment? Renaming vertex maps (UV's).

To name vertex maps the same name (so they all appear on one material), you have to open one object at a time, rename it, then close Modeler, then open the next object, or copy and paste into the target UV map name. Copy and paste is hit or miss sometimes. I think someone wrote a plugin that works better than the bundled LW one.