What can we use to open the example ships .DAEs?

I know 3DS Max, but some of us can’t afford 3DS Max and would rather not pirate it.

GMax doesn’t have Collada support at all.

Wings3D doesn’t have Collada Import.

Blender has Collada import, but for some reason chokes on the textures for the example ships. In fact, the textures seem to be causing problems on everything:

  • ColladaLoader? Errors out on the textures.

  • MeshLab? Won’t load the textures, but will display the geometry (and oddly reveals that there are in fact LODs, which Scole said flat out were not being used in the Polygon Budget thread). Meshlab also doesn’t reveal anything about the object hierarchy, since it’s purpose in life is cleaning up geometry from 3D scans so everything that isn’t a mesh gets ignored.

  • SketchUp? Missing Texture Errors. Loads geometry only…

Honestly, I just want to know what the object hierarchy and naming conventions are supposed to be in order to test if the Better Collada Exporter plug-in for Blender will generate DAEs that work with HODOR, but it seems to me that if every program other than 3DS Max (and presumably other Autodesk programs) can’t properly load 3DS Max’s Collada files, then 3DS Max is the one that’s doing it wrong, and if HODOR is requiring 3DS Max’s broken implementation, then we’re all screwed.

[edit] Looks like Visual Studio will open them with textures, but it won’t display non-geometric data, so trying to parse the document outline to translate it into a Blender object hierarchy is difficult.

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First - We only support what we needed for development, these are development tools.

Second - I want to support other packages. I certainly don’t want people to pirate software as their only option. So let’s talk.

Third - The object layout and format is VERY important. The biggest issue with Blender is that (as I understand it) the node name length is REALLY short (24 chars?) - we stuff parameters into our node names (lots) - and often exceed 128 chars.

If you think Blender & BCE is a possible route for authors maybe we can make that work. I am broadly unable to make promises.

The good news is that Blender is open source, so if you REALLY wanted to change Blender to allow longer node names, you could. :slight_smile: Although having a “Homeworld Remastered” specific version of Blender would be kind of a pain (not to mention the fact that it might not support future Blender plugins because it would fragment the base). I wonder if we could possibly submit some changes to Blender’s trunk to get merged in to make this process a bit cleaner?

Food for thought.

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I personally do not mind not having import support for the .DAE files, but I would like to make sure we can use other programs to export compatible .DAE files. Might we get a checklist of required and optional items in the .DAE, or perhaps get those individual files to export a .DAE and test it on our various programs and report? Something similar to a stripped down design document?

I personally use Wings3D to create new meshes, but I understand it might not be enough to fulfill everything. I think if us modders can figure out a open source or free program workflow, that’d be fantastic.

(BTW, thanks for all the help so far. I’m excited about all the [positive] collaboration going on here.)

A checklist of required/optional is really hard. Because really, each of the examples is an example of ‘required’ to make that ship. If that makes any sense?

It will take a substantial amount of time to document the DAE layout in useful detail (hence release of the DAEs themselves to speed that) - because they are VERY complex overall.

I think our own experiments were that maybe Wings3D was close, if I recall correctly? I really, really want to find a toolchain or supported ‘free’ software to get everyone involved with a low barrier of entry. It might make sense to start another thread with just ‘software import/export results and tests’ for everyone that has time to give it a shot. Somebody is going to stumble onto something that works fairly.

Thanks, that’s heartening to hear. I can understand documentation takes a long time, and agree releasing the DAEs are the best way right now. Perhaps there is some more work that can be done in analyzing the DAE file from our side. I think some of us are eager to start importing ships into the game using the tools, even bare bones.

Will do some more digging around, thanks!

I really only want to ‘talk’ here as it’s sanctioned and where our ‘official’ info lives. Are there other places people are doing this ‘digging’ that I can follow to at the very least know what to help correct or make more clear? If a group is doing this stuff and has something wrong, or is just stuck - I can work on top of those docs instead of blind. I just have no real idea (or time to search) where to track.

Sorry, I think “digging” is perhaps a key word I’m not aware of. I simply meant I will personally do some more looking around at the DAE files, how 3DS Max handles them, and how HODOR works, your tutorials, etc. Between the GBX forums, the tools, examples, and the relicforums (which you are aware, I believe), there’s probably a lot of information people are throwing out. If I ever get anything working through Wings3D, I’ll post it here, of course. :smile:

For Wings3D I had success getting stuff into it by using an online format converter:

http://www.greentoken.de/onlineconv/

and converting .DAE to .OBJ

I want to say that at some point I had tried exporting a .DAE from Wings but it didn’t work with HODOR but I don’t remember. The biggest problem with Wings is that I could never figure out how to import a .DAE, only export.

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I figured out that I can use Visual Studio 2013 to convert the DAE to FBX and Blender will open that. It doesn’t like the materials (converting to OBJ kept the materials in tact, so between the two if there are special material naming conventions that can probably be figured out), but it will keep all the empties and animations (though no keyframes, so I’m not certain how important the animations are).

From what I can tell, each LOD mesh and the collision mesh is parented to an empty that is named appropriately. The LOD0 empty also has a ton of empties that control docking and capture points and stuff, and some of THOSE have more child empties for orientation.

Documenting this stuff is going to take a while…

The good news is that Blender is open source, so if you REALLY wanted to change Blender to allow longer node names, you could.
Although having a “Homeworld Remastered” specific version of Blender would be kind of a pain (not to mention the fact that it might not support future Blender plugins because it would fragment the base). I wonder if we could possibly submit some changes to Blender’s trunk to get merged in to make this process a bit cleaner?

Forking Blender outright shouldn’t be necessary. We just need a HW:RE Collada Import/Export add-on. If the Better Collada Exporter works (or at least works better than the default Blender exporter), then making tweaks to that should be significantly easier than adjusting the main Blender Collada I/O code.

Later I might try the DAE->FBX and OBJ for layout and materials to Blender to exporting with BCE using the swarmer and then diff the result with the original and see how it looks.

The silly thing is I was surprised VS2013 opened the DAE. I simply wanted to examine the XML structure, so I had to rename the DAE to stop VS2013 from recognizing it. It looks like it was created using the FBX COLLADA exporter in 3DS Max, so DAE to FBX seems like the right thing to do.

Yeah, I’d known it had an FBX viewer, so figured it was a possibility that would open DAEs instead of just going to the XML.

Well, DAE files are XML files, so I was surprised it did anything else with them! I recommend any and everyone interested to take a look at the COLLADA specifications for more information for now. Not sure if it’ll help per se, but it’s something.

I imagine that with a little work, anything that handles XML well enough could be worked into a converter to/from blender and HODOR compliant .daes

Well, let me know how it goes and where you get into trouble. If a small tweak to what the parser does now is all it takes to get things over a ‘bump’ and working - I’ll see what I can do. Certainly getting everyone up and running is job #1.

I can tell you right now 3dsMax 2010 will NOT open the .DAE files. Desite being able to import them. So i am assuming the DAE was updated since. 2010 Crashes to desktop at every attempt on the swarmer, or carrier. 3dsMax 2015 has no problem opening ether the turanic carrier or the swarmer. I am not sure about other versions of Max in between, because i dont have them.

2011 opens them, throws an error about containers, but nothing seems to be missing, working through updating my ship rig and will see if HODOR likes them

DAE export can have a ton of options - let me see if I can list or screenshot the ones I use to help smooth that…

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This seems to be working well. Max 2015 is quite happy and it is interesting looking at all of the helper points.
We really need to get a Wiki or something to store all of these steps, gotchas, settings, etc
But so far the tool chain seems to work fine. Now getting all of the settings fulls defined and documented for us and a good idea what should be done and what will break things seems like it may take time.

Okay, tried the DAE->FBX->Import into Blender->Export to DAE again->Run through HODOR, and it almost works. It looks like materials are going to be the big problem with Blender. If I convert to OBJ and import that into Blender, the Material names are super long (like: “MULT[P2Swarmer]_LOD[0]_TAGS[DoScar]Mesh_MAT[Kad_SwarmerThruster” some are longer, but Blender has a 64 character limit on data block (objects, materials, etc) names) and presumably contain a bunch of tags that are necessary for HODOR to pack up the materials.

The FBX materials names are significantly shorter (“MAT[Kad_Swarmer]_SHD[ship]”), but when I just export the FBX directly and run it through HODOR, the entirety of HODOR’s output will be

DAE->HOD: Creating Homeworld2 Multi Mesh File - Version 512
DAE->HOD: Generating Scene Data LOD[0]
DAE->HOD: Generating Scene Data LOD[1]
DAE->HOD: Generating Scene Data LOD[2]
DAE->HOD: Generating Scene Data LOD[3]
DAE->HOD: Generating Collision Meshes
DAE->HOD: Generating Animation Channels

And generating a 138kb HOD. I haven’t tried putting it in-game, presumably it’ll just give me an untextured mesh (if that, since I’m not getting the STAT[shipname] with Shader[ship] line in the output.) If the long material names are the issue, that should be something that we can address just by editing the xml. Though Visual Studio shows the materials with the short names in the original.

Looking at the XML directly, it looks like the library_images entry isn’t in there for the Blender output, so maybe I’m just overlooking something in the material set-up and Collada export settings.

Also the FBX import has some fun scaling issues that I’m going to have to figure out. Looks like it’s about 1% of what it should be.

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