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Thread: Lightwave CORE and Game Development.

  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Oedo 808 View Post
    However, I thought that there were more areas of concern than the aforementioned that are currently beyond my scope of understanding that hinder LightWave's use in game development, but you make it sound like adding some CA tools to 9.6 is all that is missing to make LightWave the complete package.
    It isn't the only thing, but it is an important one. There's also other smaller things like for example the meta data stuff I briefly mentioned. With meta data I meant like the object user properties thing in MAX (Maya has something similar) where you can write any text you want, can be helpful to add special game properties on an object for the game exporter. A real world example of that is Trespasser (from '98), where they wrote the object scripts in those properties, so they used MAX as a level editor too. With LW it would have been a bit trickier to use it as a level editor too. (With Core those issues are gone, due to the whole node stuff, it's up to par with the other apps there)

    All the talk of what a dev would pick is in general, you have a dev that has budgets and deadlines, so they'll look at what app is the most complete one and can do what needs to be done. But in some cases they mix it up, like ID that used LW for plenty of modeling, and Maya for animation in Doom3. When saying that good CA in LW is missing etc., I think that's in terms of that it would help give it mass appeal to be a big player, not that it's useless in its current state.

    With regard to the thread title having fizzled out to CA. I'll try to sum up the value of Core in game developement. Assuming it has CA that can compete, you'll have CA, plus the flexibility of the new architecture that allows you to do the little things you can in the others, like for example use it as a level editor depending on the game engine of course. It's not going to be a replacement for UnrealEd if you're working with that engine. Though I remember the now defunct(?) gMax had a demo of using it as a level editor for Quake3 (or whatever version), so if you have a really flexible base to work with there's a lot you can do.

    So if it is flexible like it sounds, it makes it easier to integrate more complex game tools in a seamless manor. Maybe interface to the game's material library and shaders for example, so you get WYSIWYG in LW and so on. But again, games were successfully made without all that hooplah, so you don't need it, but makes things easier, nicer, faster, with bigger market appeal.

    Dammit, I really tried to keep it short, but it still ends up a whole page

    The bottom line is, if LW currently does everything you need then that's great. Heck I still use 8.5 and am happy with it, granted I've only done a handful simpler animations so far, so maybe I'll be pining over character studio and hope Core can come to the rescue at some point. (Allthough I'm planning on getting the 9 upgrade because I liked some of the new features, and I'd get Core thrown into that deal, so it wouldn't be a big decision to jump to Core if I like it)

    Quote Originally Posted by Oedo 808 View Post
    Oh, Softimage was the primary package used by Monolith in Aliens vs Predator 2 and I think also No One Lives Forever, mind you, nine years ago you'd have had to have been on the development team for those.
    I'm afraid I can't take any credit on those, only worked at smaller local devs on the other side of the pond

  2. #32
    Pleased to meet you. Oedo 808's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myagi View Post
    Dammit, I really tried to keep it short, but it still ends up a whole page
    Hey, you don't have to keep it short on my account! Seriously, thanks for all the info.

    I really hope that things like hooking in a material library will prove to be possible, and I don't mean in the crazy convoluted way that some things work with 9.6. With the amount of possibilities that Core currently promises to provide, I'll have to give this HardCORE business some serious consideration, as they say, you have to be in it, to win it.

    Anyway, it's 07:10 here and about time I went to bed.

    Thanks again for your time.
    Sentenced to 310 years for crimes against modelling and rendering.

  3. #33
    Of course we still have to wait and see how the CA thing plays out in Core, but for someone that was going to upgrade to 9 either way, this a golden opportunity to get your hands on Core for $100 extra. (I stand corrected, Core comes with the upgrade for free, as the upgrade pricing has been adjusted)

    Just so I haven't give the wrong impression above, I'm first and foremost a coder, I just happen to enjoy doing 3D stuff too which helps for my own one man projects or to test/fix things without bothering an artist. The flexibility thing also means that some things need to be coded (like the material thing), I didn't mean to imply it can all be done without a line of code. The way it sounds, a lot can be done with python in Core, so that gives easier access to this flexibility without going hardcore with C/C++.
    Last edited by Myagi; 02-07-2009 at 10:33 AM.

  4. #34
    Pleased to meet you. Oedo 808's Avatar
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    No worries, I've done a couple of ultra-basic programs, I know what work goes into the more advanced stuff because too much went into those pants DOS based Q&A. I don't need to be a coding master myself, but in the same way you might not want to bother the animator, I'd like to be able to add unique keyframe events for things like PV animations, and not have to bother the coder everytime I want to try something out.

    I wouldn't worry about giving me the wrong idea, I'm quite sure that hooking in a library will be possible and not too difficult for those experienced in that field. One of my concerns was how it will render once it's hooked in, that's all. But the more I read about Core the more it sounds like proper pixel shader reproduction should be viable.

    If you plan to sign up to Core that's good news, it's someone else to bat for the needs of game devs.

    Cheers.
    Sentenced to 310 years for crimes against modelling and rendering.

  5. #35
    At Dexsoft (http://www.dexsoft-games.com) we are offering contents for game developers, we already made thousands of models and textures. I do all my work with Lightwave. The reason was the price and the good feature set. Max was too expensive and Truespace not relieable. C4D missed a few features at that time (texture baking, creating normal maps).

    I really love to work in LW. But often I feel behind the Max users. This is especially very hard and sad since I meet Max warez users regularly (using illegal copies). I am against this kind of behavior.

    But what does Max better in terms of game dev support? They have options to influence vertex normals, smoothing groups. We have to cut the gometry to get hard edges or we have to create additional geometry. Both is not always good in game engines (shadow techniques or polygon budgets in mind).
    Max always supported more export formats. But now I am happy with FBX and Collada. But it really worked only in 9.6. All versions before could not export to game engines.
    Max has some shader tools, real-time previews.

    Another sad thing is the project website at Newtek. At the bottom of this side you will find games. And there is no game for 2008 and only 1 for 2007, 3 for 2006. It became less and less every year:
    http://www.newtek.com/lightwave/projects.php
    Is there a reason for that?

    I really don't want to move. I want to go on with my LW license and I probably have to do so except I pour couple of thousands to Autodesk. So I really hope that the future of LW tools will also aim toward game devs.
    Thanks!
    Last edited by Frank_Geppert; 02-07-2009 at 10:53 AM.

  6. #36
    Adapting Artist jasonwestmas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by warmiak View Post
    Well, there is no such thing as a "standard game development environment".

    The potential for CORE lies precisely in ability to extend and incorporate its features into whatever environment people are working in.

    Every game engine is different and will require slightly different pipeline and thus people will write their own plugins and extensions - furthermore 90% of these extensions won't even be made public.
    Now why do many game engine software companies cater to Max more than any other, package? Most likely there is something simple about the code that makes the conversion of assets into the engine easy. I don't think it is simply because it is an old app that's been tweaked and has a history in game dev, there is a deeper reason than that. So if CORE taps into that simplicity or clean path-making for conversion of assets then we will have Core moving more in that Game Tool direction.

    For example. In the past .lwo and .mdd format have always had something simple and convenient about it so those formats were used in other applications. .lwo especially in the game industry.
    Last edited by jasonwestmas; 02-07-2009 at 11:01 AM.
    All that is powerful or long standing is first conceived in the imagination; supported by the hope of possibility and then made manifest in our commitment of our current physical reality.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by jasonwestmas View Post
    Now why do many game engine software companies cater to Max more than any other, package? Most likely there is something simple about the code that makes the conversion of assets into the engine easy. I don't think it is simply because it is an old app that's been tweaked and has a history in game dev, there is a deeper reason than that. So if CORE taps into that simplicity or clean path-making for conversion of assets then we will have Core moving more in that Game Tool direction.

    For example. In the past .lwo and .mdd format have always had something simple and convenient about it so those formats were used in other applications. .lwo especially in the game industry.
    Again, some simple features like editing vertex normal are missing in LW and are big show stoppers for many game devs today. So you have little or no control over smoothing / hard edges.

  8. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank_Geppert View Post
    So you have little or no control over smoothing / hard edges.
    It's not as simple/convinient, but I wouldn't say no control. Leaving verts unmerged where you want hard edges works, the importer or exporter can auto-merge them after having calculated smoothed normals (so you still have a solid/water-tight mesh if needed). In the end the verts that don't share smoothing will be split somewhere in the pipeline, because one vert would have multiple normals.
    Last edited by Myagi; 02-07-2009 at 01:31 PM.

  9. #39
    I understand what you wrote but I don't have such importer available for all these engines we are providing models to.

    I also think it is better to have a good model right from the beginning, right out of the 3d-application instead of creating tons of adapted importers with workarounds to the mentioned problems.

    I only want to work, I dont have enough resources to code my own tools, I lose money then.
    Last edited by Frank_Geppert; 02-07-2009 at 01:47 PM.

  10. #40
    "Indie" Game Artist GandB's Avatar
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    Now you see my conundrum with the LW vs. Max debate, Frank. Time will tell, I suppose.
    When you know you're a "cup half-full" kind of guy:

    "Sir; they've got us surrounded!"

    "Excellent! Now we can attack in any direction!"

  11. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Myagi View Post
    It's not as simple/convinient, but I wouldn't say no control. Leaving verts unmerged where you want hard edges works, the importer or exporter can auto-merge them after having calculated smoothed normals (so you still have a solid/water-tight mesh if needed). In the end the verts that don't share smoothing will be split somewhere in the pipeline, because one vert would have multiple normals.
    I thought about this over night. I think there might be a more flexible solution compared to an importer. My idea is like this:

    We create the mesh as usual in Lightwave. We break edges to control smoothing and hard edges. Then we export to Collada.
    A new tool reads the Collada file (Collada is simple XML-like text format), calculates the vertex normals and merges the vertices sharing the same position, stores all this info in the Collada file and the import should be fine with most modern engine (C4 like an example).

    What do you think. Can you program this? I am willing to pay. Maybe some others are also interested. We could share the costs.

    Regards,
    Frank

  12. #42
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    Vertex optimization happens as part of Unity's import process so I don't need tri-stripping and can use LW -> FBX happily. Does anyone's pipeline still require manual optimization?

  13. #43
    Used Register doimus's Avatar
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    Good thing is you're having a LW vs Max debate at all, because just some time ago (before v9) that discussion would be pointless. Max would win in any possible way. Now, the fact that debate exists, proves we're getting somewhere with LW.

    I look at it all from the ArchViz perspective, which was the main reason I got LW in the first place. Back in the LW7.5 days we didn't have proper antialiasing, GI, not to mention GI caching, but then came FPrime, new render engine, LWCAD, and now, Lightwave 9.6 is one hell of archviz beast.

    And that was all on the old, "less-open" core. Imagine the possibilities of the new rewrite.
    I think that CORE development cycle will be all about modelling, CA and cooperation with other packages. Just what the gamedev community needs.

  14. #44
    Quote Originally Posted by particledecay View Post
    Vertex optimization happens as part of Unity's import process so I don't need tri-stripping and can use LW -> FBX happily. Does anyone's pipeline still require manual optimization?
    This is not a problem of optimization of normals. Most engines do this. They can calculate new normals if not existent in your Colldada / FBX files, smooth them, whatever. But this exactly is the problem. Sometimes you dont want to have smoothed normals. Sometimes you have a rim, a hard edge, you want to have special shading, lighting. Then you need control to not get smoothed normals.
    And this control can only happen in your modeling software. You can do that in Max and Maya but not in LW. I dont know about the other packs in this special matter.
    Last edited by Frank_Geppert; 02-08-2009 at 05:54 AM.

  15. #45
    Quote Originally Posted by Frank_Geppert View Post
    I thought about this over night. I think there might be a more flexible solution compared to an importer. My idea is like this:

    We create the mesh as usual in Lightwave. We break edges to control smoothing and hard edges. Then we export to Collada.
    A new tool reads the Collada file (Collada is simple XML-like text format), calculates the vertex normals and merges the vertices sharing the same position, stores all this info in the Collada file and the import should be fine with most modern engine (C4 like an example).

    What do you think. Can you program this? I am willing to pay. Maybe some others are also interested. We could share the costs.
    I'll have a look at how the exported data and the tools look, if it's something I can fix somewhat quickly I'll just put up some free tool or plugin.

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