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Thread: Game Content Creation and Lightwave

  1. #1
    gryphon designs ltd Afalk's Avatar
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    Game Content Creation and Lightwave

    I've been doing general 3D work for a number of years now, and
    recently had the opportunity to start doign content creation for
    games.

    Being a dedicated lightwaver, I've found a few positive things,
    but many less than positive things that I'm hoping thorugh
    discussion and suggestion, might be addressed by Newtek
    and within the community itself.

    Lightwave's modeling tools allow intutive and high quality
    work to be created in a straight forward way. The texturing
    tools, espescially if you tie in to Aura using the LWPreview are
    fantastic, and the animation tools just keep getting better
    with each itteration of LW.

    ON the downside though, is that once you have your new
    piece of content, you need to get it into a format that your
    game engine can use/recognize, or equally frequent, need
    to hand off your content to a larger production flow that
    all too often uses a different app (Max or Maya most often).

    LW itself can provide the export ability to work with other
    applications like Max/Maya either through the standard
    export OBJ/3DS or the improved export capabilites available
    through plugins like the DStorm 3ds export.

    I've also used the Kaydara filmbox export plugin set, but
    its still a bit shaky at times and has its own limitations, as
    do all the exports.

    For game specific content creation MDL/MD2/X, again, I
    turn to plugins. MrB's plugin packages to be precise or
    the LWMODL for NNW content.

    All of these plugins do allow me to work in the games
    development arena, BUT none of this would be
    needed if Lightwave was actually supported better in
    the gaming industry.

    A number of games (and its growing) have native support
    for 3DS/Gmax or Maya for the creation of objects and
    character models. The toolsets released by the majority
    of game engines and games do Not support LW
    models, which relegates us to the export plugin dance
    detailed above.

    Newtek is also one of the few companies I have never
    seen getting involved with the IGDA (International Game
    Developer's Assoc) either directly or even at the Gamasutra
    portal.

    We have an amazingly powerful and flexible tool in our
    hands. With it we can deliver content as good, or better
    than our counterparts using other apps and methods.

    There are a lot of potential converts out there, and a whole
    market segment that we, as Lightwave users, could expand
    into, but the impression from the Game Development side
    of things has been that in the final analysis, Newtek and
    Lightwave's Community don't take the game development
    market seriously. As a consequence, the game development
    market and its 3d users seem to return the favor.

    I LOVE Lightwave! I would love to see Newtek and our
    community make a serious move into the Game Development
    area. We know it can be done, and done well (Serious Sam
    leaps to mind), but thus far, Lightwave has been relegated to
    the side-lines. I respectfully submit..... "Its time to Play!"

    Thanks for reading through this, and I'm looking forward
    to seeing what you all think.

    Tony

    Gryphon Designs Ltd

  2. #2

    I agree

    more import and export file types would be nice... but converters are there to convert. Milkshape alone can do a lot of conversions for a very cheap price. Games often use their own file types. I think that obj and 3ds file types are great for most games...

  3. #3
    gryphon designs ltd Afalk's Avatar
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    Milkshape is a great tool, and while more/better importers and
    exporters would definately help, what I'd really like to see is an
    increased commitment from us all so game makers and
    game engine developers include LW objects and animations
    natively through their toolsets.

    This would expose the game developer community to the
    flexibilty and power of LW in a practical way, that in turn
    should lead to more LW users getting involved in game
    devlopment, and more non-lightwave users giving it a try.

    On the corporate side of it, having Newtek take a larger and
    more active role in the gaming industry through partcipation
    in things like the IGDA and refinement of LW itself would
    reinforce and stimulate that growth!

    Tony

  4. #4
    Beyond Reality WizCraker's Avatar
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    Its said that the new Doom III engine will support .lwo files natively. Knowing the past history of id Software they will be licensing that engine out to other developers after they ship Doom III. So we will have to wait for the next generation of games for this one. Although some of the other engines do not support lightwave it does not mean Newtek should waste resources on many different file formats for the many games available. I believe the only other engines on the current market that support lightwave is the Serious Sam one, and the Unreal Engine [UnrealEd supports lightwave natively].
    ImageReality.com

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  5. #5
    hey afalk,

    i work in the games industry and although i understand and agree with your sentiment, i think that you're barking up the wrong tree.

    no one is going to go out of their way to create export tools for lw if they don't use lw to make the games themselves. most of the time, maya and max get supported by virtue of the fact that the developers used max or maya to make the game in the first place.

    and it CERTAINLY is not newtek's responsibility to track down every game and make exporters for it.

    really and truly, the best thing that anyone can do is pickup milkshape 3d.

    it takes lw objects and anims and you can export to any and every game imaginable. $30 is well worth it if you need game export.

    that is the way it must be so might as well accept it.

    jin

  6. #6
    gryphon designs ltd Afalk's Avatar
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    Jin -- some great thoughts you had:

    no one is going to go out of their way to create export tools for lw if they don't use lw to make the games themselves. most of the time, maya and max get supported by virtue of the fact that the developers used max or maya to make the game in the first place.
    First off, about this one -- I agree 100% and your comments
    are exactly my point -- LW is not a strong enough pressence in
    the Game industry for 3d Work.

    So ask yourself, "Why dont content creators and developers
    use LW to create game content?" and more importantly, how
    can we (the community) and Newtek encourage them?????

    I do not suggest that Newtek even attempt to hunt down and create in interface for every game. What I do strongly
    suggest is that they take a more active role in the
    game industry and make some effort to get the fact that LW
    is a remarkable tool for game work. Further, that they participate
    in things like the IGDA.

    It is this shift in focus that I think would do the most good.

    In the meantime, I agree whole-heartedly that milkshape is
    a life saver and that it (and the other plugs I mentioned)
    are the best possible solution right now for practical
    game content creation using LW.

    Tony

  7. #7
    Originally posted by jin choung
    and it CERTAINLY is not newtek's responsibility to track down every game and make exporters for it.
    True. I guess people don't understand that part.

    People who make Mods use plug-ins as well. 3DS Max doesn't ship with MDL/X/MD2 plug-ins, you gotta hunt them down. And if the developer is kind enough to share the tools that they used, then they could be bundled with the software.

    Why people don't use Lightwave to make game content? Actually it's more like people bring in their own seats of Lightwave to make content sometimes. I know I do.

    Also it may seem that way but it is all marketing and shady goings on. Money exchanges hands, deals are made and whatnot. That's all it is.

    Does Newtek have the resources to market like that? I don't know and I am not gonna speculate since I don't work there.

    So you want to use Lightwave to make game content? Just do what everyone else does, buy Milkshape. But I use Nugraph, it's fast and I have to animate in 3DS Max anyways.
    Lamont G
    Artist Ubisoft Osaka/大阪

  8. #8
    high five lamont!

    i take in my own dongle too! newtek should be very grateful for die-hard proseletizers like us!

    but as for newtek's presence in the industry, that battle was lost over 5 years ago. that was when they could have and should have contested kinetix for the crown.

    but they lost. even though modeling extreme low poly game assets in lw 5.x was much MUCH better than doing the same task in max at the time. the primary reason for the resounding defeat? NO UV MAPPING!

    that killed them and sealed their fate. but it's not like they really cared at that point. they were in tv and looking towards film and as long as the output was the only issue, they were good to go.

    and in all frankness, lw's primary strength is modeling. and even there, it's primarily because it's FAST and gives you total access to the meshing process. i guess texturing can be considered in that light as well.

    but as soon as you get into layout, it's a lost cause when compared to other apps. everything in layout is CLUNKY, AWKWARD and DIFFICULT. even moving around in the perspective view can be tedious. especially since there's no way to RETARGET the focus of tumbling....

    the best that they can really hope for is the current situation - fans and devotees take in their dongles and expose others to the app and gain a grassroots kinda foothold in the different industries.

    so as long as they keep the system so that it can be used in non lw environments (interoperability), we're as good as we're gonna get.

    and considering the situation of other apps like C4D and such, lw's niche position is NOT BAD.

    jin

  9. #9
    Originally posted by jin choung
    i take in my own dongle too! newtek should be very grateful for die-hard proseletizers like us!
    The bad thing about that is forgeting your dongle at work because you're tired and want to get home.
    Originally posted by jin choung
    but as for newtek's presence in the industry, that battle was lost over 5 years ago. that was when they could have and should have contested kinetix for the crown.

    but they lost. even though modeling extreme low poly game assets in lw 5.x was much MUCH better than doing the same task in max at the time. the primary reason for the resounding defeat? NO UV MAPPING!
    Here, here. I felt the same thing when I started. And I got sooo much sh*t from co-workers for using Lightwave. Never mind that I had less crashes, no guess-work and my models were done quicker. I just UV mapped in 3DS Max.
    Lamont G
    Artist Ubisoft Osaka/大阪

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