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Obsidian Games

New Version of AMXtex DirectX .X Exporter Released

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Version 2.08 of AMXtex, the DirectX .X exporter, has been released. It can be downloaded at http://www.obsidiangames.com/products/amxtex/ .

 

This version includes a number of fixes and improvements, most importantly to bone export. There were a couple of issues with boned models either not showing up properly in a model viewer, or not loading at all. One of the changes has to do with bone names. DirectX uses a strict naming convention, allowing only alphanumeric characters and the underscore character. AMXtex will now enforce this convention, and will replace any non-standard characters.

 

Additionally, I am considering whether or not to stop maintaining versions of AMXtex that run on older versions of A:M (currently versions for A:M 8.5 - 11.1 are updated in sync). Support would not end for those versions, only new code additions. By focusing on adding new features and fixes only to AMXtex on newer versions of A:M, it would allow things to get done faster and more efficiently. If anyone still uses older versions of A:M with AMXtex, would you please contact me either through email or private messages?

 

I have one more question for everyone, but Mac OSX users in particular. Now that Hash has released a Mac SDK, I'm considering whether or not to port AMXtex to OSX. I understand that the .X format does not work on Macs, but I'm curious to know if any Mac A:M users are on programming teams that are using the .X format. If there is enough interest (and if I can get a Mac), I'd be willing to consider it. Your feedback would be appreciated.

 

Thanks!

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it seems like you're fighting the realtime/game war on several fronts! ' ' )

 

again sounding my one note, are there any .x web viewers/animators available?

 

i'm also mildly interested in the torque environment, but they seem rather plug-in happy... or is that not the case?

 

-jon

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The realtime/game aspect is definitely my primary area of interest. I'd love to see A:M used more for these types of apps, as it's a great tool for making this type of content.

 

I'm not sure if any native .X web viewers exist. WildTangent makes a web viewer for 3D models, but I believe you need to use their converter to get .X files into their web format.

 

As for Torque, they do have a number of add-ons available. However, the base engine (TGE) seems quite capable by itself, and there are tons of community-provided add-ons, tutorials, code snipets, etc. I think it just depends on what type of game you're looking to make. They have demos and/or videos for most of their main products, so that should help out in determining what you'd want.

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Just want to add my support to your effort. Anything that opens up new job markets for the AM community is only a good thing. Cheers!

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i'm not too concerned about promoting a:m or job creation... i just wanna make cool stuff on the web.

 

sounds like we're all hapier due to your coding efforts! ' ' )

 

-jon

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I did some searching, and it looks like Quest3D uses .X files, and has a web viewer. I have no knowledge of the product aside from briefly browsing their website, but that might be an option for web development. It looks like it's IE only though, so I'm not sure if that will work or not.

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I've released another update to AMXtex, bringing it to version 2.09. It can be found at http://www.obsidiangames.com/products/amxtex/. This new version is a more minor update than the previous version, so it's not a critical update. It does include some useful changes though, which are:

 

1) Introduced a new export option called "Ignore Duplicate Normals". This option is available when exporting duplicate vertices, and forces AMXtex to export only one normal per vertex. Vertices belonging to more than one poly typically have normals for each poly that they're associated with. This is a good thing, and you'll likely want to leave this option turned off. There are cases, however, where using this option can give a smoothing appearance between polys.

 

2) Fixed a bug where a certain section of the export was running twice, which slowed down model exports.

 

3) Updated the export dialog to store all export preferences, and improved the logic between the options to prevent conflicting options.

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What ever happened to the direct to Torque exporter I remember some people working on that did it ever get anywhere?

 

Also I have a license of AMXtex, is this new version a free upgrade?

 

Peace,

dingo

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You can keep upgrading for free. Once you purchase AMXtex once, there are no more fees associated with it.

 

As for the AM to Torque exporter, I'm currently working on that as well. You can find info at my website, and there are also a couple of threads on it here in the Game Dev forum. Here are the links:

 

Obsidian Games - AMXdtsPlus Exporter Page

Torque Game Engine DTS/DSQ Exporter News

Torque

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I am wondering if its possible to add some interactive buttons to the viewer, I mean for interactive web viewing. I am in the process of delivering 3d interactive tour for my website.

Is DirectX viewer suitable for this purpose? I tried AMtex demo last year and felt that navigation is dificult, like driving in reverse.

 

Thanks.

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I'm not sure I understand what you mean. Did you find the exporter interface difficult to understand, or the directx model viewer?

 

The old viewer that used to be available on the website was just a basic .X viewer. I've since removed it from the website, as the MeshViewer utility that comes with the Microsoft DirectX SDK is *far* superior, and is what I now recommend. That might be something to check out, as I've found it quite easy to navigate around.

 

As for displaying .X files on the web, I'm not sure if there are any such viewers available. It would have to be a specialized web plugin though, rather than a stand-alone executable.

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Sorry, I meant the .x viewer, your plug is is fine, just could not find the latest viewer at Microsoft under DirectX, downloaded and installed the runtime but where is the viewer?

Thanks.

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It should be in the DirectX SDK, which is a much larger download than the end user install (100+ megs). It includes a lot of example apps, including the meshviewer app. I'm not sure that Microsoft provides it separately from the SDK, so you may need to download the whole SDK to get it. The SDK download can be found at the Microsoft DirectX Developer Page, and the app is named "mview.exe".

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You can find the X file format reference inside the Help files that come with the SDK download, or you can find it by searching msdn.microsoft.com for "X File Format Reference".

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Wow, lots of questions! :) I'll try to answer them one at a time.

 

I use a shareware payment service (SWREG) that processes all purchases. You can get to them through the purchase link on my website. They accept all major credit cards, paypal, checks, wire transfers...pretty much everything.

 

As for the VAT issue, that's the European Union's "Value Added Tax". I'm not extremely clear on the details, but I think it's a recent tax that affects all eCommerce purchases for EU members. Perhaps someone from the EU would be able to go into more detail. It will only affect your purchase price if you live there, so you can safely ignore it if you live elsewhere.

 

On the DirectX version issue, AMXtex no longer uses any DirectX code. This was done partially so that it wouldn't matter what DirectX version user's had installed, and also so that it would be possible (if there was a enough interest) to port it to the Mac version of A:M.

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Just to let ya know Chris, I use your exporter religously and daily. Thanx for the continued support and effort. I am currently still using version 10.5 for all of my work, but am looking to update AM in January to the latest version.

It is only my opinion, but I think that it is a good idea to stop development for older versions, so that you can continue to improve functionality on the newer releases. Quite franctly I have only had a few problems with the older version, it is very stable, so I see no reason to continue efforts with it if it is tying up too much of your time.

In a year or two most people that use their PC's to work will have 64bit processors, and all the latest and greatest anyway, so the older software wont beable to keep up, with the demand, of spectular, normal, and hight maps which are all the rage, and an important part of the next generation game engines.

Ok i started rambling...in short, box up the old exporter in it's last stable release, and end it. Than start a new exporter version 2.0 and charge us again for a new version, cuase I've been using your software for a few years now, for only $25 or whatever it cost, which is rediculous. Your time and energy are worth more than that.

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Chris,

Is there a maximum polygon count your .x exporter can produce? I keep running into max polygon problem with the 3ds exporter plugin. I think it is 64K. I need to get a much higher polygon count out of AM to eventually convert it to an .stl file.

Thanx

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SandGroper -- Other than what I mentioned before, there's really no other reason that it doesn't use the DirectX libraries. I just figured it would be good to be as flexible as possible, so if someone can run A:M on a PC, they can use AMXtex.

 

 

triath5147 -- Thanks a lot, I really appreciate it. I still can't wait to see your finished game, you'll have to post on the forums when it comes out!

 

I don't think I'll increase the price on the exporter, at least for the forseeable future. I'd rather have a decent price and have more people use it than increase it too much and have no one use it. And though I appreciate the thought, I've always said that current users would never have to pay an upgrade fee. Even if I were to change that for newer versions, all previous owners would be covered.

 

As for the older versions, I'll probably stop adding features to the 8.5 version, as I don't think too many people use that anymore. It's not too much trouble to keep the 9.5-current versions in sync, though that may change in the future if the Hash SDK introduces new features that aren't available in the older versions.

 

 

plasma -- As far as I know, the exporter should go as high as you want in terms of polygon count, at least until you run out of system memory. I know it can go beyond 64k polys. There does seem to be an issue loading large models with the most recent Microsoft MeshViewer app though. It will not load a model that contains bones if there are more than 65,536 (2^16-1) triangle polys. It can go beyond that if there are no bones though. Unfortunately, I don't know for sure why this happens.

 

You should be able to download the unregistered version of AMXtex and test out your models. They won't be textured, but you should be able to test out any other limits that you can think of.

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Groper:

 

There is no reason to have a direct export to Game Studio model format becuae MED imports the X format, infact you need to beable to edit the X file in MED only because when u have animations, you can delete un needed frames, and also you have to rename all of the frames, from Frame 1,2,3 etc. to walk, run, jump etc. not to mention u can assign multiple materials in med, keeping all of ur UV coordinates intact from the X file.

 

Chris:

 

Yes, I have screen shots but unfortunately the demo version the programmer was going to release, isnt getting released anymore. But May 1st the game was completed and went to the publisher, They expect on average that the game between testing, and store testing, will take about 6 months before it hits the shelves, So expect to see it for christmas this year. Also I didnt really mean up the price from whatever it is now ( dont get me wrong, everyone likes free), just that I think it would only be fair to you, if you charged for revised editions. E.G. if you move to a version 2 u should charge again, and all updates to version 2 would be free, than charge again for version 3 and so on. It was just my opinion, I really didnt expect people to cry about it.

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Chris,

I was able to export a 9 MB .X file from a 900K A:M Model. (By the way it seems to work fine in AM12). This is way beyond the resolution that I need but it was good to know that I have a way to get a high quality (yes I know, polygon) model exported out of A:M. I can then exchange the format to an .stl file. Thank you!

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Plasma,

 

I have AMXtex also, and am also working on an stl model. How did you export to such a high resolution is there a way to go above 16 polygons per patch?

 

Of course there is the variable setting but it does it automatically. I'm using 2.04 (I know I need to download the new version.)

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This was done partially so that it wouldn't matter what DirectX version user's had installed, and also so that it would be possible (if there was a enough interest) to port it to the Mac version of A:M.

So how many of us Mac developers need to ping you in order to get a Mac version? This not only would work well for Torque, but we have an isometric game engine we're using now that uses 2D sprites, and our programmer is looking into bringing Hash models directly into the engine (he's talking with Garage games and using their SDK to create a 3D version of his engine).

 

Greg

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Greg - Did you mean to post this here, or in the Torque exporter thread? I'm interested to hear Mac developers' feelings on both the .X and .DTS exporters, but it seems that you're referring to the DTS exporter only.

 

As for porting them, I do plan to port the DTS exporter to OSX, and the X exporter if there's enough interest. I just need to get a Mac before I can start looking into porting it/them.

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SandGroper - I'm not aware of any problems with the MED editor, though I don't have a 3D GameStudio license, so I can't test it. I don't recall anyone reporting any problems with AMXtex and MED to me.

 

On page 2 of this thread, triath5147 talks about using it, and since his team has finished a game using AMXtex to get their models into 3D GameStudio, it would seem that they work well together. That's about all I've heard though.

 

If you're aware of any specific problems with it, please let me know and I will see what I can do.

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Greg - Did you mean to post this here, or in the Torque exporter thread? I'm interested to hear Mac developers' feelings on both the .X and .DTS exporters, but it seems that you're referring to the DTS exporter only.

 

As for porting them, I do plan to port the DTS exporter to OSX, and the X exporter if there's enough interest. I just need to get a Mac before I can start looking into porting it/them.

Well, I posted here since this is where I saw your comment that I quoted.

 

And I'm sending you a PM.

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No problem, I'm just trying to keep track as to whether or not there's any interest in AMXtex on OSX (I'm guessing not, but you never know).

 

And I've replied to your PM.

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Unfortunately, there's nothing I can do about that one. As it says in the faq, single textures per polygon is a limitation of the .X format, and not AMXtex. If Microsoft extends the base .X format to allow for it, I can certainly add it to the exporter, but until then, one texture per poly is the way it is.

 

I would imagine that it has to do with keeping the .X model data as simple as possible, and making it load and display faster in real-time (as opposed to having to render multiple textures per poly, which would slow it down).

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http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=11369

This sounds SDK is now accessible to bone weight...

If it is true, please update AMXtex for exporting bone weighted .x model!

With that function, AMXtex would be a perfect tool for me. (I believe it is not only for me.)

 

It looks like that link is from July, and I believe that at that point, weights were not available for the export portion of the SDK. I also have an AM report in with Hash that has not been closed out, so I'm not sure that it's been added yet. I will take a look at the V12 SDK and see if it's been added though, as this would indeed be a great feature for people making characters for games.

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no matter problem solved , forgot it was a plugin hahahaha :lol:

 

just out of interest , why does it not like 9.51b when 9.51e is ok?

 

cheers

 

groper B)

 

I don't remember the specifics at the moment, but I believe Hash put out something in the 9.51e patch that fixed some problems with all of the earlier 9.5 versions, which was causing some issues with all of the exporters.

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hi Chris, i realise this is alittle off topic, but since you are active in this thread cuurently I will ask. How are things going wwith your new job? And is it still effecting your development of AM plugins? If so I hope it is resolved soon. I can only speak on my behalf, but I'm sure others will agree, that we sure appreciate your support of AM and your dedication to putting out impressive exporters.

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hi Chris, i realise this is alittle off topic, but since you are active in this thread cuurently I will ask. How are things going wwith your new job? And is it still effecting your development of AM plugins? If so I hope it is resolved soon. I can only speak on my behalf, but I'm sure others will agree, that we sure appreciate your support of AM and your dedication to putting out impressive exporters.

 

Things are going great, thanks for asking. As for the plugin issue, I'm 3/4 of the way through the process, and still going. I just need to hear back from one more group, and I'll be able to move forward (one way or the other). Keep your fingers crossed!

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chris another question for you , why is it that the plugin of .x only shows when a model is there? and how do you also show the animation .x plugin instead of the static .x plugin?

 

the reason i say this is because the screenshots in the help file show different named .x plugins!

 

one for static models and one for anaimtion models.

 

There are a number of options available in the Hash SDK for setting specific names and choosing when to display the export option. They're all coming from the same plugin file, though. Since the user can choose different export methods (single model, multiple models, or animation), I just set it to use a different name for each export option. It just seemed to make more sense to specify exactly what option the user is choosing.

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chris , whats the best way to buy your software? :D

 

The best way to get it is to go to the Obsidian Games Purchase Page, and follow the link and directions found there. You can pay by credit card, paypal, check, etc. The vendor that handles the sales takes pretty much anything.

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so if i pay via credit card , whats the turn around for the software to be sent to me? :huh:

 

You won't get the software sent to you -- you need to download that from the Obsidian Games website. Once you make the purchase, you should get an email within minutes containing your registration information. Just enter it into the plugin, and you should be all set.

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No problem, I'm just trying to keep track as to whether or not there's any interest in AMXtex on OSX (I'm guessing not, but you never know).

@OG: for OSX it would be more interesting an exporter for FBX. Read this thread.

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Hi Chris,

 

I use AMtex daily as well, I export my models and actions to DX this way.

 

My partner wrote a prog that animates and views them for me, I have seen some interest in a viewer/animator prog, so perhaps you two should talk shop.

 

I have found limitations that we have needed to apply to make things work in our favor.

we use 1 poly per patch, left-handed view consistantly to avoid model flipping and rear facing models, we have to avoid 5 point patches, creases, and keep the bone count very low as it eats up RAM really fast for our purposes.

 

It would be most sexy to be able to use higher functions in AM in Direct X, such as mucsles, smartskin, 5 point patches, springs, glow and particle effect, materials, hair, lightsourcing ported from chors & actions, animated textures, and such. No one has really focused on being able to do this for direct X that I know of. Having a high quality Xporter for not only AM, but any of the biggies would be nice, if AM could port to DX, then the big guys would have to port to AM to port to DX. I see a huge market potential there.

 

As an artist, I do not use Mac's, only PC. To answer your earlier poll for the mac port.

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Hi Chris

 

I dont think there is much use for a mac directx exporter.

 

I dont know what fbx is but I'll look into it.

 

This is an interesting engine that uses some format called collada:

 

http://www.terathon.com/c4engine/index.php

 

There is a free java converter but it doesnt do animations. I don't know how the collada format works. But may be interesting.

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I put an enhancement request on the AM tracker. I was hoping they would forward it to you.

I was asking for a way to mass export all the actions for each particular model. Basically, I have 30+ actions to port each time I make a small change to the model or any of the actions, this leads to extreme tedium reporting all of them several times an hour.

I tried this: Right CLick Actions folder > Export > (this is where AmTex would be?)

The other pluggins are there, so I was thinking this is the way to do it. Perhaps the ability to shift select the actions I want to port, then right click that selection and go to Export > (this is where AmTex would be)

Then have the popup window as which Dx model to port to. A concern would be memory management. If you port around 50 actions at 30-120 frames each, it could lock the system if it tries to eat the whole banana at once. I already have to open a group of actions, port each one, then close that group and open the next group, even at 30 actions per model. The groups I port at a time is about 8-10 open actions. (1gig RAM on my machine) I suspect it is a RAM limitation, and perhaps could be configurable to allow more ported at once if you have more RAM, and less if you are closer to the system requirements for AM, and AMTex.

 

If there is a better way to submit enhancement requests, please let me know. B)

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