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Question for those with XNALara experience

Discussion in 'Game Development' started by detritus, Dec 25, 2011.

  1. detritus

    detritus angry angry Staff Member Administrator

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    Not sure how many of you look at my posts about the project I've been working on, but as I'm getting further along in working with Unity, a few big questions have been popping into mind.

    Now keep in mind that I may be suffering from delusions of grandeur, but if with the help of the members here, we can come up with a simple process for my 'vision', I think we could do some really awesome things.

    I need to pick the brains of those of you who have done a lot of work with XNALara models, or just have a lot of experience with different 3D model formats in general. The program I've been learning is called Unity and it can only import FBX files. I know programs like Maya and 3DSMax can natively export to this format, but those are not easily accessible programs for most people. I know very little about how XNALara works so if you guys can fill me in on some of this stuff, it would really help me progress on this. I'm trying to stay as focused as possible on learning the program itself and I honestly think learning the ins and outs of XNALara would take a lot of experimenting which I think many of you have already done. So my questions are:

    1. What format are XNALara models usually distributed in?
    2. What programs are able to import and edit XNALara model files?
    3. Do all models people use in XNALara have rigging?
    4. Is it possible to import XNALara models into another 3D modeling program and create animations for them?
    5. Do any of you have experience in animating rigged models?

    I realize animation is somewhat outside the scope of XNALara as it's pretty much only for posing, but I'm hoping some of you have delved a bit further with it. I really appreciate any information you can give.
     
  2. Unrelated

    Unrelated Club Regular Ryonani Teamster

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    Digging through the data files, XNALara models usually have a .mesh file, and sometimes a .ascii file with some sort of rigging or bone information, I'm not sure.
    Then there's a bunch of other files for the textures and stuff, I've seen .tga, .png, .dds...
     
  3. bryanthunder

    bryanthunder Avid Affiliate Ryonani Teamster

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    1. What format are XNALara models usually distributed in?
    XNALara models are distributed in zip-folders with all content (textures, bump maps, and light maps) all contained within. The program uses the .mesh file.
    On order to edit these model files you need to export the .mesh to a .ascii which can be done from within XNALara itself.

    2. What programs are able to import and edit XNALara model files?
    Through use of a python script plugin .ascii mesh files can be imported, edited, and re-exported to and from Blender. I've done this more than a few times myself so I know it works, the only catch is you need specific versions of both Blender and python for the script to run correctly.

    3. Do all models people use in XNALara have rigging?
    Most models you can find now have been rigged and are good to go.

    4. Is it possible to import XNALara models into another 3D modeling program and create animations for them?
    This is something I cannot answer yet, though I had recently begun toying around with the idea. Seeing as they can be imported into Blender it shouldn't be much of a stretch to export them as a file another program can manage.

    5. Do any of you have experience in animating rigged models?
    As of the present time I do not. I can pose models, and understand the theory behind key-framing and animation but have no experience as of this time.

    Final thoughts:
    XNALara does, technically support animation but it's an extremely archaic version of animation where each frame of the animation must be made and edited by hand. If there is a way to generate the frames in between poses, I've not found it. More importantly however these animations would only be useful in XNALara nothing else.

    Hope this helps.
     
  4. detritus

    detritus angry angry Staff Member Administrator

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    Thanks for the replies.

    Just a few follow up questions:

    Are those specific versions of Python and Blender hard to get / setup?

    Is the process pretty technical or just a matter of having the right versions?

    Can you animate models in Blender?
     
  5. bryanthunder

    bryanthunder Avid Affiliate Ryonani Teamster

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    Are those specific versions of Python and Blender hard to get / setup?
    Is the process pretty technical or just a matter of having the right versions?

    I've had minor difficulties getting and setting them up thanks to the relatively helpful guides over at the TRF.
    You'll need Blender version 2.49b and Python 2.6.2. Getting both is easy as they're freeware and Python has all it's older versions backed up on it's main site so a quick google search will usually find what you're looking for. You may need to find a torrent for the older Blender version but still I had few to no problems searching for either.
    The only tricky part is getting the python scripts for loading .acsii models into blender, and that's only because the folder for the scripts is in a weird place if I recall.

    Can you animate models in Blender?

    Again, I'm not a hundred percent sure, as I've only really used blender for frankensteining models together, but I believe it supports animation.
     
  6. detritus

    detritus angry angry Staff Member Administrator

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  7. bryanthunder

    bryanthunder Avid Affiliate Ryonani Teamster

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    Sorry for the late reply but I'm not familiar with Maya so I wasn't sure what to say.
    While the TRF has some good guides, several are also a bit out of date linking to older versions of files, or broken image links (Though that one seems to be in good shape.) It's so disjointed around there that I have a hard time keeping all the necessary files up to date.
    A lot of times key files (such as the python scripts) are named the same thing making it difficult to tell which version you have and don't.

    I haven't actually encountered lamina faces when importing to Blender, most of the time the model loads up without problems. I imagine it could depend on what model you're using but again, I'm not familiar with lamina faces.