On the Native Mesh Format

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CMAugust
Posts: 253
Joined: 10 Jan 2016, 00:13

On the Native Mesh Format

Post by CMAugust » 10 May 2016, 15:03

Not to generalise, but probably Morrowind's biggest turn off for players these days next to clunky gameplay is the dated graphics. Unfortunately, while projects like MGE can greatly enhance the visuals (and I think Hrnchamd's recent PBR work is the next big step going forward) the animation side of things is in a different ballpark.

Later engines have their own problems; while Skyrim may have vastly better animation than Morrowind, modding in any new animations is the stuff of nightmares. Even the professional-grade artists, animators and programmers working on Skywind are limited in how they get their gorgeously-modelled new creatures working in game, let alone weapons such as spears.

It's exciting to think what kind of stuff modders of that caliber could produce with fewer restrictions and better tools. If OpenMW can pull this off too, it'll be yet another game changer.

Work on the native mesh format is hoped to continue sometime after reaching the 1.0 milestone. At this stage the missing features include texture animations, skeletal animations, separate collision shapes, and a few other things before its up to par with Morrowind's original .nif format. It's also said that getting it all working will be a monumental task. But I would love to hear further discussion on the subject anyways, even if it's along the lines of "wouldn't it be cool if..."

I've been thinking about questions myself such as:
Will there be a eye for making the new format and workflow intuitive for modellers and animators?
Should they be able to create the mesh, bones, skinning and animation in the program of their choice and export it all into the construction set?
In light of the eventual plan for physics in the future, are there any ideas on how to support cloth physics?
What improvements have Bethesda made to the .nif format in subsequent games, if any, and should the native format follow suit?

Interesting times ahead, to be sure.

Vyrukas
Posts: 27
Joined: 01 May 2016, 08:30

Re: On the Native Mesh Format

Post by Vyrukas » 11 May 2016, 02:49

I'd like to see it to be more usable as well. I'm currently teaching myself how to 3d model when it strikes my fancy, and .nif is a bit burdensome to work with. I'm also pretty excited about the ability to include more attack animations, all sorts of fancy new weapons will finally be able to be included.
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ezze
Posts: 489
Joined: 21 Nov 2013, 13:20

Re: On the Native Mesh Format

Post by ezze » 11 May 2016, 08:48

Vyrukas wrote:I'm currently teaching myself how to 3d model
Super cool, wanna share how are you studying? (if you want to share, open a thread or PM. If you don't, well. Thanks anyway!)

CMAugust
Posts: 253
Joined: 10 Jan 2016, 00:13

Re: On the Native Mesh Format

Post by CMAugust » 17 May 2016, 12:51

For what it's worth I have a digitaltutors.com subscription, though I haven't spent time seriously educating myself in a long while. But really, I'm led to believe there a lot of great tutorials on Youtube these days for free.

Most graphical artists both in and out of the industry use Maya and 3ds Max before Blender, so it's important the native format will be suited to their needs as well.

On that note, can anybody describe what actually are the constraints, if any, on creating brand new meshes, skeletons and animations for vanilla Morrowind? And how a new format (or the nature of OpenMW itself) will better facilitate its implementation?

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johndh
Posts: 124
Joined: 25 Jan 2015, 18:20

Re: On the Native Mesh Format

Post by johndh » 19 May 2016, 01:41

CMAugust wrote: On that note, can anybody describe what actually are the constraints, if any, on creating brand new meshes, skeletons and animations for vanilla Morrowind? And how a new format (or the nature of OpenMW itself) will better facilitate its implementation?
From what I can tell, they have to fit a very specific formula. I spent days (maybe weeks) reverse-engineering the biped armature and getting the body parts to work the way they're supposed to, and it was a hassle that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. As I recall, there's a big de-hardcoding planned for post-1.0, which I imagine will open up the possibilities significantly.
CMAugust wrote: Most graphical artists both in and out of the industry use Maya and 3ds Max before Blender, so it's important the native format will be suited to their needs as well.
I started with AutoCAD. :)
Free/libre assets for OpenMW, updated frequently: http://opengameart.org/content/openmw-s ... sibilities

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