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sony
04-22-2012, 08:56 PM
if lightwave is so easy to use, then why dont gaming companies use it instead of maya or autodesk.

3D Kiwi
04-22-2012, 09:14 PM
Just because something is easy it dosnt make it the best.

roboman
04-23-2012, 12:19 AM
The game projects I worked on, the programmers wanted stuff in 3ds/max format because that is what they had and already had a lot of software tools for. As for Maya, I'm guessing when they do a game based on a movie, the assets they are getting were more then likely done in Maya. So they have tools and software for that also....

Philbert
04-23-2012, 12:39 AM
Unfortunately many game engines are specifically geared to work with autodesk products and not so much with LightWave. In some cases I found that there was no way at all to get LightWave animation into a game engine. Many of them may also be dependent on certain features that LightWave doesn't have like smoothing groups. I know that was the biggest thing I heard about when I even mentioned LightWave on the Polycount forum. That said it's great to see that Unity has a link with LightWave 11 now so that's a big step forward.

DrStrik9
04-23-2012, 01:03 AM
Isn't more money going into game development than any other form of entertainment now? I don't do games, but it would seem odd that LW would be excluded for not being able to interface content with game engines.

Philbert
04-23-2012, 01:42 AM
Well if the LW content can't be imported to the game engine, what role would LightWave play? I don't know how much money goes into games but I do understand they earn more than movies.

rikka+
04-23-2012, 02:38 AM
Shadow of the colossus was done in Lightwave,imo one of the best videogame ever done.
Last guardian probably is made with lw as well, and we are talking about SCE Japan Studio.

The programmers wanted stuff in 3ds/max format because that is what they had and already had a lot of software tools for.
Well said, i think it's just a sort of "safe pipeline", just this.

Philbert
04-23-2012, 02:43 AM
SotC was done in LW, that's correct, but that was also a long time ago. Doom 3 and Unreal Tournament 4 also had LW in them.

GandB
04-23-2012, 07:35 AM
I too have heard the issue with no smoothing groups in Lightwave; which is odd, since even the cheap modeling apps have it. It's been said around here till we're blue in the face that although a small number of games used LW somewhere in their pipeline; NT doesn't take the game development Community seriously. Though I haven't used it yet; I've been hearing of issues with the LW11-->Unity pipeline, especially concerning texture transfers.

Game sales vastly outpace movie sales, for quite some time now; with no sign of letting up.

Skonk
04-23-2012, 07:50 AM
There was an issue with LW 11.0.0 exporting a version of FBX which the current version of Unity didn't like; but that's been fixed in 11.0.1.

I've found it very reliable getting content into Unity and the automatic updating of assets when you modify them in Lightwave has worked perfectly so far.

I haven't tried transferring animation yet though.

The lack of smoothing groups is a problem though thats for sure; there are workarounds but really Newtek should put a priority on adding proper support for this.

GandB
04-23-2012, 09:27 AM
How has the textures transferred? Have you tried Normals, spec, etc?

Skonk
04-23-2012, 09:34 AM
For now just a standard texture but I don't imagine it being a problem; even if they didn't automatically transfer its only a couple of clicks in Unity to apply the maps back on.

I'll have to try it though cos you may be right about it.

I'll set something up now and see if it works.

I'm assuming though that for textures to transfer they would have to applied using lightwaves layers system; rather than nodes. If thats the case then I dont think normal maps can be imported automatically because the layers system has no input for normal maps.

But i'll try it.

GandB
04-23-2012, 09:47 AM
Appreciate it.

Skonk
04-23-2012, 10:01 AM
Yeh I had a quick mess about.

As I suspected, it only automatically builds surfacing based on the settings in the standard surfacing properties (ignoring the nodes); and since there is no normal map option outside of the node editor it wont just show up automatically when you bring the content into unity; you just have to add the normal map to the material in unity which isn't a big job, its just a couple of clicks.

Just having the normal image stored in the project folder is enough to expose it to unity so its already there to be selected when you click the texture picker in unity.

GandB
04-23-2012, 10:18 AM
Thanks again; and you're right, it's not a big deal to do it that way...though it would be nice. ;)

Bliz
04-24-2012, 07:08 AM
The 'smoothing groups' thing is just a red herring. It's not some special 'extra technique' It's a way Max lets the user control whether faces in the internal mesh data, are considered attached. Lightwave and Maya control this with a smoothing angle (maya not so well ironically as you have to recalculate the normals every time you change the smoothing angle).

The practice of manually splitting off the geometry that you want to have a hard edge on, in LW, is what happens to max and maya geometry anyway once it's processed and fed into the realtime shading engines.

So Newtek copying Max's smoothing group wouldn't improve the situation at all and would bloat the file format for no good reason.

The main reason LW is under represented in the game industry is current pipelines based on and evolved from legacy code. If you had a pipeline back in 2003 that used maya4
to export assets, then in 2004 it's cheaper [in development time] to upgrade your maya seats and adjust and recompile your exporter plugins, than it is to ditch maya4, buy LW seats and rewrite your exporter plugins from scratch. Rinse and repeat every year since and the situation gets more entrenched every year.

I've seen this scenario at EA. Around 2002 or 2003 EA [in the UK at least] moved from MAX to Maya. Once they made that move a decade or so ago, it made it very difficult to overcome the momentum of the pipeline. And to this day, EA studios in the UK have a whole suite of very advanced plugins to generate game content in maya. And these plugins are intensely interwoven with their own game engines.

So while small indie game studios can use what they want as far as content creation goes, the middleware providers like Unreal, Unity, Marmalade etc. are going to provide plugins and support for the apps that their big clients use.

So at the end of the day, it's simple economics at play. Like I said in the vray thread, if a section of the LW community want to be able to export to a particular game engine or render engine, then they themselves are going to have to take charge and develop the functionality themselves or pay someone to do it for them.

The silver lining is that Newtek seem to have a solid handle on supporting FBX. So where FBX [Autodesk] go, Lightwave should be able to follow.

MentalFish
04-24-2012, 12:48 PM
NewTek have a focus on making sure LightWave will be as good as possible to use with Unity, so the FBX exporter is under constant scrutiny by the betatesters and its developer David.

In terms of smoothing groups, they are less "in need" nowadays as the smoothing/sharpening of a model tend to be defined by its normal map rather than a smoothing angle. Unless you are going for a certain look where smoothing groups would be needed that is.

Btw, have you guys seen my tutorial on how to bake highpoly models into lowpoly? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWBCfoc8u1I

kopperdrake
04-24-2012, 04:48 PM
Another reason LightWave isn't used in games as much is many companies try to streamline their pipeline which often means getting artists to use one piece of asset generation software. Maya has become popular due to its flexibility in more complex pipelines. A decent Technical Director can write the scripts to fulfill many of the artist and animator requirements, and it makes sense if you're employing a TD to smooth the pipeline that your artists use one piece if 3D software to fall in line. That doesn't mean you can't use other pieces of 3D software, it just means you need the tools in place to allow simple 2-way data flow between the artist and the engine, or between artists on one package with those on another. IMHO NewTek are doing the right thing with their IO focus, both for film and games.

shrox
04-24-2012, 05:34 PM
Lots of stuff done in Lightwave at all studios. That's just how it is. All the games and TV stuff I have worked on used Lightwave...

Philbert
04-24-2012, 06:11 PM
The 'smoothing groups' thing is just a red herring. It's not some special 'extra technique' It's a way Max lets the user control whether faces in the internal mesh data, are considered attached. Lightwave and Maya control this with a smoothing angle (maya not so well ironically as you have to recalculate the normals every time you change the smoothing angle).

The practice of manually splitting off the geometry that you want to have a hard edge on, in LW, is what happens to max and maya geometry anyway once it's processed and fed into the realtime shading engines.

So Newtek copying Max's smoothing group wouldn't improve the situation at all and would bloat the file format for no good reason.

Having detached polygons sounds like it could be problematic to me though. That may be what happens behind the scenes but isn't the game engine looking for something called a smoothing group and not finding it in LW exported files?


Lots of stuff done in Lightwave at all studios. That's just how it is. All the games and TV stuff I have worked on used Lightwave...

Not at the game studios I've applied to, they all wanted me to work in max or maya.

Cageman
04-24-2012, 06:17 PM
It is about philosophy... You either limit your talentpool by choosing a specific 3DCC tool and write plugins/tools that ties into the gameengine, or, you make a gameengine work with standard formats, such as FBX. No matter how fancy your tools are for a specific 3DCC tool, 95% of the shadingwork still needs to be done in the engine (just one of many things that needs to be done in-engine, so to speak).

This is why I think FBX and Collada will increase a lot as a vessel for transporting data from a 3DCC tool into the engine, rather than some fancy, overworked, but still dissfunctional plugins written for any specific 3DCC tool (often also limited to a specific version of that 3DCC tool).

Just saying...

EDIT: Obviously, this means that you, as a games developer, get away from the need of learning the SDK for a specific 3DCC tool (or several), as long as you follow some guidelines regarding the standard formats (FBX/Collada etc). The 3DCC tool of choice will therefore not be crucial for the development, so, in essence, every artist can work with their favorite 3DCC tool as long as it can export an FBX/Collada within certain standards.

:)

shrox
04-24-2012, 06:21 PM
Having detached polygons sounds like it could be problematic to me though. That may be what happens behind the scenes but isn't the game engine looking for something called a smoothing group and not finding it in LW exported files?



Not at the game studios I've applied to, they all wanted me to work in max or maya.

I always model in Lightwave, then export to whatever.

For cinematics it's always been whatever I chose.

erikals
04-24-2012, 06:25 PM
UV tools could be more friendly in LW i guess,
Modeler is superb for game modeling...
making normal maps in LW,... works pretty good i think, no pro though...

erikals
04-24-2012, 06:28 PM
Btw, have you guys seen my tutorial on how to bake highpoly models into lowpoly? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWBCfoc8u1I

love the edge trick, simple and great! \:]

Philbert
04-24-2012, 06:31 PM
Btw, have you guys seen my tutorial on how to bake highpoly models into lowpoly? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWBCfoc8u1I

Great little tutorial. I'm sharing it around my groups.

Skonk
04-24-2012, 06:34 PM
Yeh that tutorial is great.

Question though; how do you create the UV's for the high poly object so that they match the layout of the low poly version like that?

(so the baked color map from the high poly fits the low poly object)

Philbert
04-24-2012, 06:36 PM
The high poly doesn't need uvs because no image gets applied to it.

Skonk
04-24-2012, 06:40 PM
Then how does the surface baking camera know how to generate the baked map?

Tbh I havn't really read up on using the surface baking camera so I must just be missing something.

EDIT: yeh I was missing something, I worked it out now :)

Philbert
04-24-2012, 07:49 PM
Yeah like for DP Normal Cast:

Lowpoly: Gets UV map, NormalCast node with UV map selected, Mark as Unseen By Rays

HighPoly: No UV map needed, Mark as Unseen By Camera.

Surface Baking Camera: Select low res mesh and UV map.

Dodgy
04-24-2012, 08:22 PM
The lack of smoothing groups is a problem though that's for sure; there are workarounds but really Newtek should put a priority on adding proper support for this.

Bliz kind of beat me to it, but this is how I achieve sharp edges.
What I do is split the poly edges and then jitter morph the points in a morph called Unweld. This means they won't be merged when you do a merge operation as the points have different morph targets. As Bliz says most game engines split the points this way anyway to achieve smoothing groups, they just hide it from the user/artist.
Certainly when Team17 moved from LW to Maya, Maya was at version 2 maybe 1, and LW was at version 5.6, and had no proper UV maps, so texturing became problematical. Once they moved, it was just easier to update tools for maya than write new tools for LW. I tended to use Modeler though and export through obj as I hated maya's modelling at the time. I would then animate in maya.

Philbert
04-24-2012, 08:31 PM
That's a really good trick. I didn't know it would deny the merge if it had different morph targets. I just tried it and it works perfectly.

warmiak
04-24-2012, 09:11 PM
..... As Bliz says most game engines split the points this way anyway to achieve smoothing groups, they just hide it from the user/artist.
.


There is not much choice here since to have a hard edge you have to have two normals and thus two vertices - this is how GPUs work and there is no way around it.

Philbert
04-24-2012, 09:49 PM
The one big annoying thing about splitting points like that is that if you now have unattached polys it makes it a lot harder to select the entire object since you lose the Select Connected option.

SubDProxy
04-25-2012, 09:05 AM
We are a small studio (11 people but 3 Animators/Modelers)that makes games for desktop and mobile applications. Our main pipeline is Lightwave with Maya behind it. Maya isn't used that much but the way.

We push everything out to Unity 3D. Lightwave gives us the best option, especially for our programmers. Of course UV Layout, 3D Coat and Topogun are used as well.

Maya is only used for Craft Director Studio since they do not have a plug-in for Lightwave.

Our programmers enjoy the models coming in from Lightwave due to the Layers in Lightwave. When an object is created in Lightwave on different layers, as long as the layers are named they do not have to worry about extra poly names. We had another artist who created an object in another program but never welded any points. When the objects came in to to Unity it showed extra names like polycylinder01, polycylinder02 and so on. Lightwave doesn't do that.

Just my thoughts for the day.

Glen

jasonwestmas
04-25-2012, 10:35 AM
In an animation EXPORT context LW FBX works just fine. Unreal and several other game engines support that format.

It is so hard to compete with maya max and xsi in a context of animation mixing and file management though, that's the best in the business.

In a modeling and texture mapping context, it's very easy to do this without the AD apps. Ironically. I did it for years with Lightwave.