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First off, please see this thread -- http://www.hash.com/forums/index.php?showtopic=9110 -- for the previous discussion on this. It's in the SDK forum though, and I thought this forum might be more appropriate.

 

Off and on for the past two months, I've been working on a Torque exporter for A:M. I did not want to say anything publicly though, as Arthur Walasek was originally going to be working on this. I contacted him recently though, and he gave me the go ahead to post this.

 

The plugin is not finished yet, and there's still a good deal of work to be done on the animation side. Most features for static models have been implemented though (LoD support, collision meshes, textures, bones, billboards, etc). I've posted a work in progress page at http://www.obsidiangames.com/products/amxdtsplus/ , for those who are interested in what has been accomplished so far. There is also a gallery page with multiple test screenshots.

 

If anyone has any questions or comments, I'd love to hear them. The two obvious ones that I can think of are cost and OSX support, and I honestly don't know about either at the moment. Before I can say whether or not it will be a pay or free plugin, I need to look into some Torque licensing issues. On the OSX topic, I don't currently own a Mac, so I'm not sure how that will work. When writing the current code though, I've attempted to keep it as standard as possible, in hopes that it could be easily ported when the time comes.

 

I will post more news as soon as I have any. I've recently been working on some issues with AMXtex (DirectX .X exporter), and have one more feature to look into, but I should be able to pick this back up in the next week or two.

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This is excellent news. I hope you get the animation working good. I don't make games, but if I was going to (which I have been thinking about) Torque is probably the way I'd want to go. Nice!

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Wooaahhh, Chris!!

This is amazing news for all the budding games designers and artists who have been waiting for a method of getting their creations from A:M into a game engine format. What you have achieved so far looks very promising!

 

I would like to see how well Torque handles a complex landscape with two or more animated models with the level of detail of the Sierra walk example. Does she retain that level of smoothnes in Torque?

 

I haven't downloaded the SDK yet but I guess I'll have to soon to see the full results of your work.

 

Well done, Chris!!!

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Oh, wow, just found this thread and the old one. Torque is the best thing I've seen as far as low cost/ high performance game engines. I'm going to be using it for commercial products in the near future.

 

The only problem has been the torque DTS format and the pipeline to get AM models into the game. I've put a lot of painful work and money into that effort.

Even seriously trying to learn polly tools to fix models already in the pipeline. And I hate trying to learn new tools just because my old ones are incomplete in this one area.

 

So, if you can equal or exceed the quality of the GameSpace/Milkshape exporters, you will have an incredible resource for AM game developers. I will spend money immediately to buy it - even beta versions.

 

The AM animation export is very important. It is relatively easy to export static object from AM and get them into Torque through the AMXtex to milkshape route or even AMXtex to Ultimate Unwrap 3D, but the bones, texturing and animation generally has to be redone in whole or part in another tool if you want to use one of the supported, full function exporters available such as GameSpace or the bigger 3D apps.

 

Thank you so much for taking on this effort.

John

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The work you've been doing to open up homebrew game development to A:M users is excellent. Thank you so much for all of your hard work.

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Thanks for the kind words everyone. I'm really excited to get A:M working with Torque, so hopefully I'll have more good news to share in the near future.

 

As for a more complex textured example like the Sierra model, I haven't attempted any yet for a couple of reasons. One of the requirements for Torque models is that texture sizes must be a power of 2 (64x64, 128x256, etc). Also, I don't think material colors are used, so the model needs to be fully textured.

 

I haven't had time to search the 2005 CD for any models using this type of setup, which is why I'm using that basic box test model. If anyone knows of or has an example model that fits the bill, I'd be happy to test it and show a screenshot of it in the engine.

 

I'm also not sure about the animation smoothness, as animations aren't implemented yet. That's next on the list though, so we'll see. It should look the same as other A:M exported models though.

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CHRIS YOU ARE THE MAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

The reason I purchased AMXTex was to get A:M models to the Torque engine(through milkshape then ultimate uw)

 

Your progress has been phenominal!!!!!!!

 

Seriously this is some of the best news I have read all month. Keep going you definitely have a customer in me!

 

dingo

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Chris,

 

On the Torque Page on your website, you show screen shots with the Level of Detail slider. Inside the Torque showtool.

 

Did you create different models in A:M for the LOD or did you let the Torque engine delete the detail on it's own. If you modelled for each LOD level did I guess that is how the blue cross texture shows up on the final LOD?

 

dingo

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First off, I'll start with an update, as it's a big one. I've just this weekend gotten animations working! Animations can be included inside the DTS file export, or they can be exported separately as a DSQ file. I have not done *extensive* testing yet, but my test animations include basic rotations, scales, and translations, and they look exactly the same in the Torque viewer as they do in A:M. Additionally, I've tested animations that start from a posed position (not the "at rest" bone layout), and they work as well. There are currently some issues if posed animations are included in the DTS file, but they work perfectly from a DSQ export. I'm not sure if it's a problem with Torque or with the AMXdtsPlus exporter (it's likely the exporter), but we'll see.

 

This is just a starting point, as there are still a lot of animation options that have not been implemented. My next task will be to work on testing and polishing the animation export and adding the missing options. I will also try to upload a new image to the website to demonstrate the animations, and will probably include a zip with the DTS/DSQ files for people to try out. If I have enough time, I will try to create an animation example using a humanoid model, but that may need to wait a bit.

 

To answer Dingo's question regarding the level of detail export, each LoD in that example was modelled separately. And yes, that's why the texture exists on the billboard LoD. Currently, my feeling is that you'll be able to get varying levels of detail in the following way -- Export your model multiple times using the PLY (or other) exporter, each time at a different patch per poly setting. Then import them back into A:M, clean up any holes, and manually assign LoD settings to each model. This way, you can match all bone settings and model orientations, and animations should work the same with each LoD.

 

That's all for now. As soon as I have something new to report, I'll let everyone know.

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Woo Hooo!!!

 

Go, Chris, go!

 

It's sounding better every time you post. :D

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Excellent! Keep it up.

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How goes it?

 

Specifically the animation exporting.

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Things are moving along nicely. I've been really busy working on the animation portion of the exporter, which is why I haven't been able to add anything to the website this past week.

 

I recently found a section of the Hash SDK that I was not previously aware of, which allows plugin writers to add their own properties to various parts of models and actions. This is great news for the Torque plugin, as it allows for the addition of Torque specific properties. Even better, all of these properties will be saved to and loaded from the Hash model and action files automatically by A:M. Hats off to the Hash team on this one, this feature is just amazing.

 

The sequence properties that I've added so far (mostly working, but not fully tested) are: Start Frame, End Frame, Frame Rate, Cyclic, Blend Sequence, Blend Reference Frame, and Priority. I'll be working on ground transforms and triggers next. Visibility animation has been problematic, but I hope to revisit that as well.

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I can't believ how quick it seems you're moving on this. Awesome job so far.

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This is good stuff. I've been waiting for it all to evolve. I've been working in the video game industry now for a little over 3 years. It all started with getting a small group of people together to make our own game using Animation Master and the Torque 3D Game Engine. That has been a valuable experience that has helped me every day since.

 

Way to go Obsidian Games! Make it happen! ...and Kudos!

 

Frank Silas

http://www.franksilas.com

:ph34r:

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Great to hear that news. I am learning some Torque now (just the artistic aspects), and really cannot think of any better 3D app for creating DTS and DSQ.

 

Please, keep us informed about the development day by day ;)

 

Ansiouxly waitting the release,

Gustavo Muñoz

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I recently found a section of the Hash SDK that I was not previously aware of, which allows plugin writers to add their own properties to various parts of models and actions. This is great news for the Torque plugin, as it allows for the addition of Torque specific properties. Even better, all of these properties will be saved to and loaded from the Hash model and action files automatically by A:M. Hats off to the Hash team on this one, this feature is just amazing.

Chris,

 

Does this help for exporting to the Torque Shader Engine?

 

Do you have a copy of the Shader Engine, would that help in development of the exporting materials?

 

Peace,

 

dingo

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I've uploaded three new AMXdtsPlus gallery images to the website. You can view them by clicking here. One shows the current working export dialog, another shows the additional properties that I mentioned earlier, and the last one shows an example animation (Thom from the A:M CD). I've also added a zip download of the test model and animation in DTS/DSQ format, so anyone that has a Torque model viewer can take a look.

 

dingo - The properties I mentioned do not currently have anything to do with materials. I do hope to look into that later on, but for now I'm focusing only on the initial model and animation export. And I don't have a copy of TSE yet, though I do plan on getting one at some point.

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I have the Torque Show Tool Pro, but I haven´t been able to see the thom example you posted. I am on a Mac, and maybe this is the problem, but as far as I know it shouldn´t make any diference... Any thought?

 

Thank you for your great work,

Gusavo Muñoz

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GusM -- Hmm, that's not good. It may be the fact that you're using a Mac, but I was also under the impression that it shouldn't matter. The Torque code is actually responsible for creating the DTS file (once it has the info from A:M), so I'm not sure why this would be happening.

 

Do you get an error when you load the DTS file, or does it load ok and just not display? Also, can you see any information in the Shape Properties window (Detail level, Subshapes, Skins, etc) or Material list window in TSTPro? And does the DSQ file load ok, and show up in the sequence window?

 

If anyone else having trouble seeing the Thom char, either on the Mac or PC, please let me know.

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Loads fine for me on PC(Windows XP).

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Sorry, my fault. It works ok now: turned out to be a problem with my folders and directorys, now it loads ok and even get the action correctly from the DSQ. But it does not show any texture at all (just plain white)...

 

Keep up the great work, once finished it will be a tremendous resource for getting A:M used in games.

 

Gustavo Muñoz

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That's good to hear, I'm glad it's loading on Macs.

 

As for the color problem, do you have the image file (from the zip) in the same directory as the DTS model? It needs to be copied to the same location. Normal material colors don't export to DTS, so I had to create a yellow image and map it onto Thom.

 

If that doesn't work, the only thing I could think of is that ShowTool doesn't like BMP files on the Mac. You should be able to save it as another image format (jpg, png) and have it load ok though.

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Yes, it was the bmp, thanks again ;)

 

Another issue: once loaded thom, rotating the view shows the center of rotation far from the grid and the model. Maybe there is some bad offset in the nulls jerarchy...

 

Regards,

Gustavo Muñoz

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Excellent, I'm glad the image is working. As for the center of rotation issue, it looks like that was caused by the bounding box being oriented the wrong way. I found the problem when I was loading the Thom model in the game engine, and have since fixed it.

 

Also, just a quick update. Things are continuing to move along nicely. As I said I would be earlier, I've been working on triggers and ground transforms. Triggers weren't too difficult, and appear to be working great. The ground transforms required a bit more work than I had expected, but I think I have them working. I hope to have a few more images uploaded to the website soon, and maybe another zip file. I'll be sure to post here again when they're available.

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I've uploaded two new images to the AMXdtsPlus gallery page. Both of the images are taken directly from the Torque FPS demo game, and show off some of the recent progress with the exporter.

 

What I've done in these scenes is replace the default orc character with the Thom character. Thom only has two actions right now, idle and run, and both are very basic. They work in-game and get the point across though, which is what I was aiming for. Thom also has a weapon mount point, so he can hold the default crossbow. Additionally, when he's running, he will leave behind footprints and clouds of dust, courtesy of the trigger option. You can see this in one of the pictures if you look closely.

 

I've also added a zip file with the newest DTS/DSQ files. They can be viewed in the Show Tool Pro, or for owners of Torque, you can run them in game. I'm not sure if it will run with the free demo, as I've only tested with the demo that comes with the TGE purchase. I think they're the same though.

 

I do have to take a small break from coding AMXdtsPlus, as there's a bug with AMXtex that I need to look at. I should be back to work on this soon though. If anyone has any problems with these files, or has any questions, please let me know.

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Amazing work you're doing. Really impressive stuff.

 

Hey - did the demo of the Action Bird game ever come out?

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Wow!

 

New Player loads just ok, really impresive work. Thank you so much ;)

 

Tested in OsX3.9, SDK TGE: I have seen footprints and dust, heard footsteps, and even got water FX running Thom near the lake :) I also have been able to use the crossbow to fight with the same Thom. Light effects also working nicely here (both interior and exterior) over the Thom model.

 

If you could get a model with a bones setup identical to the one in the original player model, you could use the original actions for testing purposes. Not to mention it would be a great resource for building good Torque models once your plugin is finished... :)

 

I am working in Macs, so I cannot offer for testing your current builds. But maybe I could help you other ways...?

 

Keep up the great work, it will be a great step forward for A:M users interested in game production.

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GusM - That's great, I'm glad to hear that everything's working on the Mac. Thank you for testing it out and posting your results, it's good to know that everything's working on both platforms.

 

That's true about the bone setup. I will probably try to do that at some point down the road, once my work on testing A:M-exported actions is complete. Having the stock Torque skeleton would definitely make a good resource for A:M'ers.

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It's going well. I don't have anything new to show off at the moment though, as I've had to take a break from adding new features.

 

All of the features that I've added to this point were to show that they would work, but they don't necessarily all play nicely together. Right now I'm going through the code and trying to fix that -- cleaning up the code, fixing bugs, plugging memory leaks, etc. It's a slower process than adding new features, as I have to hunt down exactly where everything is happening. As I said though, it's going well, so hopefully I'll be back to working on new stuff soon.

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I just wanted to check in and let everyone know that work on the DTS exporter is still going well. I'm still in the middle of cleaning up the code, but I have made some progress that's worth sharing.

 

One of the bugs that I've been working on fixing has to do with multi-LoD (level of detail) models. I recently found that while multi-LoD export worked for standard (non-boned) meshes, it was broken for skinned (boned) meshes. Either nothing would export, or only one LoD would actually animate (the others wouldn't move). I just figured this one out, so now it can export and animate multi-LoD skinned meshes.

 

I haven't updated the Thom model download to show this yet, but I will try to do so in the near future.

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I've said it before Chris but I'll say it again....you're doing great work. I'm sure many people appreciate it. I do even though I don't use it. Hopefully someday.

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Cool. The LOD stuff sounds great. It will be a dream when we can model and animate in A:M and then use it in Torque. Any plans about later works in map or dif export? Let me know when you need some mac testing.

 

Keep up the great work,

Gustavo Muñoz

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Thanks again guys, I appreciate it. Especially during this slow-going phase of programming, it's nice to have the encouraging words!

 

As for map and dif export, I haven't given it any thought yet. Once the DTS exporter is stable and has been released, I may take a look at it. I haven't done any work with the existing map/interior tools yet, so I'm not sure how those programs and formats work. Also, I'd know that Garage Games is coming out with the "Torque Constructor", so I'd like to see how that goes. It's certainly possible though.

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Frankly - the main reason I consider buying AM is because of this exporter. So yes, keep up the good work!

 

What I am looking for is a tool that can export the animations (dsq?) and the models (dts), so that I can have a variety of models all utilizing the same animations. Do you think this will be possible?

 

(PS: I won't buy AM at this moment because the money back guarantee doesn't seem to work for the german distributor, as they tell me)

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Thanks, dirkk, I hope I can get that A:M sale for you!

 

AMXdtsPlus should definitely do what you're asking. I just tested fitting the Eddie model on the CD to the test skeleton I created for Thom. It's not quite a perfect fit, as they were not designed to use the same skeleton. However, once I exported the Eddie model to dts, I was able to use Thom's dsq animation on it, and it worked well. It would have worked better had both models been designed to use the same skeleton, but this should be easy to overcome by designing models to use the same skeleton from the start.

 

If there's interest, I'd be happy to upload the model to my website. Just let me know and I'll put it up there.

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I've uploaded a zip with four files -- the Thom model, Thom image, Eddie model, and Thom_sequences. You can

download it here.

 

I haven't done any texturing work on Eddie, so he will show up without color. You can see how the Thom skeleton doesn't quite fit him, but the Thom animations play pretty much the same. Again, if they had been designed from the start to use the same skeleton, it wouldn't be a problem.

 

Also, another quick exporter update. The exporter now allows you to choose the file name to export to (previously it forced itself to the A:M project name), and you can also check & uncheck the model and sequence boxes on export to exclude any objects that you don't want to export (previously it ignored these selections and exported everything). It will also now automatically change the file extension (dts or dsq) depending on what type of export you choose (model only or model+sequences = dts, sequences only = dsq).

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I apologize for the lack of updates these past few weeks. I've been trying to get into contact with Garage Games regarding the licensing of the exporter, but have not heard back from them yet. Hopefully I'll hear back soon, and can work on getting a beta released.

 

In the meantime, I've been touching things up, and working on new features. I just finished adding IFL support, so you'll be able to export animated textures. I put an example up on the gallery page of my website, so feel free to take a look (image #11) and download the zip file.

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Cool, it looks really promising... Thank you for the great work, and for the news. And count with almost a mac beta tester (me);)

 

Best regards,

Gustavo Muñoz

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Thanks again GusM!

 

I have another update to share. I've added detail maps to the exporter -- you can view the example image by visiting here, and scrolling to the bottom of the page (image 12).

 

Detail maps allow the model to contain a second texture on top of your base texture, to give more detail to the model. I've set it up so that you can add them to either standard textures or IFL textures. The example on the site contains one of each. Enjoy!

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Cool :)

 

Working great also in my Mac TST Pro so far.

Keep us informed, thank you very much.

 

Regards,

Gustavo Muñoz

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Hello again! I've been very busy with other real-life work, and have not had a lot of time to work on the exporter recently. Hopefully things will slow down in the next couple of weeks.

 

In the meantime, I do have some good news to report. As far as the code base goes, I've added two-sided materials, which is a step in being able to add sorted meshes. Two-sided materials effectively double the number of polygons in a model, which is not good, but they are good for smaller models that need it (transparent boxes, flags, etc).

 

I also have some other news that may be of interest to some A:Mers (Hi GusM!) . I recently purchased a ....<Drumroll>...... Mac Mini. I've done some initial testing, and have been able to get AMXdtsPlus compiled on OSX 10.3 Panther. I've added a screenshot on my website gallery, so feel free to check it out!. Unfortunately I have a *LOT* of work ahead of me on the Mac port. The Hash code works flawlessly, but there are a number of issues that I need to figure out on the Torque side. As I said, I can get it to compile, but it will only export an empty DTS file. This has to do with some critical Torque code that by default, is not very compatible with OSX. Hopefully I'll be able to figure it out though.

 

Last, but not least, I've had some requests as to what exact features AMXdtsPlus supports. Below is a list of the features that are listed on Alex Swanson's Torque DTS Exporter Matrix. I've added the status of each feature as it applies to AMXdtsPlus. This should give you all an idea as to what features still need to be implemented.

 

That's all for now, I will report back as soon as I have more news.

 

AMXdtsPlus DTS Feature Support

 

Geometry

Meshes - FULL SUPPORT

Custom Bounds - FULL SUPPORT

Auto Bounds - NOT SUPPORTED

Collision Meshes - FULL SUPPORT

LOS Collision Meshes - FULL SUPPORT

Nodes - FULL SUPPORT

Billboards - FULL SUPPORT

Triangle Stripping - FULL SUPPORT

 

Animation

Bone Animation - FULL SUPPORT

Sequence Export - FULL SUPPORT

Blend Sequences - FULL SUPPORT

DSQ Export - FULL SUPPORT

Ground Transform - FULL SUPPORT

IFL - FULL SUPPORT

Morph Animation (outdated) - NOT SUPPORTED

Mesh Visibility Animation - NOT SUPPORTED

Triggers - FULL SUPPORT

 

Optimization

Levels of Detail (LOD) - FULL SUPPORT

Auto LOD (eg. MultiRes) - NOT SUPPORTED

Auto Billboard-LOD - NOT SUPPORTED

 

Textures

Apply Materials - FULL SUPPORT

UV Coords - FULL SUPPORT

UV Animation (outdated) - NOT SUPPORTED

Detail Textures - FULL SUPPORT

Decals (not supported by TGE) - NOT SUPPORTED

Sorted Meshes - PARTIAL SUPPORT

Translucent (Unsorted) - NOT SUPPORTED

Additive - NOT SUPPORTED

Subtractive - NOT SUPPORTED

2-Sided Materials - FULL SUPPORT

Env. Map - NOT SUPPORTED

Bump Map (not supported by TGE) - NOT SUPPORTED

Self Illuminated - NOT SUPPORTED

NoMipMap - NOT SUPPORTED

ZeroBorder MipMap - NOT SUPPORTED

 

Platforms Supported

Windows - FULL SUPPORT

Mac OS X - PARTIAL SUPPORT

Linux - NOT SUPPORTED

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Great news, thank you very much again for your great work ;)

 

Did you allready post your progress at the GG forums? I think a lot of Torque artists would be very interested in using AM for creating contents.

 

Regards,

Gustavo Muñoz

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No, I haven't posted anything yet on the GG forums. I might wait a little longer, in hopes that I can fix the problem that I'm having right now.

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I also have some other news that may be of interest to some A:Mers (Hi GusM!) . I recently purchased a ....<Drumroll>...... Mac Mini. I've done some initial testing, and have been able to get AMXdtsPlus compiled on OSX 10.3 Panther.

 

Unfortunately I have a *LOT* of work ahead of me on the Mac port. The Hash code works flawlessly, but there are a number of issues that I need to figure out on the Torque side. As I said, I can get it to compile, but it will only export an empty DTS file. This has to do with some critical Torque code that by default, is not very compatible with OSX. Hopefully I'll be able to figure it out though.

Hey Chris,

 

I just saw Jay Moore from Garage Games and some of his team this past weekend, and they are ready to give you as much support as you need on the Mac platform. So, if you're running into any issues, give him a call (or drop him a line) and tell him I told you to contact him.

 

Greg

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Greg,

 

Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. I'm going to be very busy the rest of this week, but I will definitely contact Jay as soon as I've had a chance to put together my OSX Torque notes.

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I just now got the first Torque models and animations exported from A:M on OSX - both the box model and the Thom model exported perfectly. I have not tested any of the other ones (IFL, detail texture, etc), but I will do so as soon as I get a chance.

 

I was wrong about the problems I was having; it turned out to be something else entirely. I think my lack of XCode knowlege was throwing me off. Anyway, the changes that I had made to the Torque code ended up working fine, and though I have a bunch of bugs to work out, things are looking good. From what I've been told, debugging A:M plugins on the Mac should be pretty easy to set up, so hopefully I can find the bugs and fix them on both the PC and Mac.

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