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Information for beginners!

Hi I'm a student of the university of applied science in graz!

Although we are "greenhorns" in the game development sector, we are planning to program a tool for a stereoscopic 3d cave. The programm consist of a sort of game engine that allows users to navigate through  scenes!

As a matter of fact we have to decide whether we should use openGl or directx! So answering the following questions could lead us into the right direction!


Is is much better to us Directx than OpenGl because of the performance (faster)?

Does directx only works with *.x files or is it possible to use *.max or *.3ds files (parser, interface)?

Should we use a opensource game engine (opengl or directx) and if yes what formats they are able to handle with?

Are there any opensource *.max parsers for opengl or directx ?

And the last but not least question: A personal recommendation on that topic!


thanks for helping me

wipfi
   
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wipfi
Asked:
wipfi
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1 Solution
 
FoXCommented:
Hi - i a a member (and main programmer) of similar group in Poland

Fev months ago we had same problem to solve - we have choosen OpenGl because you can use same code on allmost every software platform you need, OpenGl is totaly Open Source and Free, and is quite simple to use. DirectX has more effects and is easier to use but takes a lot more resources and is designed only for Windows apps.

Whatever you choose - you can use every file format you want - you just need to find documentation for it. I am beginner in OpenGl and i have found ASE or ASC file format best for my work. You can easly export 3ds Max scene as asc or ase file.

ASE files are written totaly in free ASCII text - you can see how every object is built and you can modify every value you need just by using notepad.

My English is not to well so i hope that you will understand everything i mean

blessings
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FoXCommented:
Hi - i a a member (and main programmer) of similar group in Poland

Fev months ago we had same problem to solve - we have choosen OpenGl because you can use same code on allmost every software platform you need, OpenGl is totaly Open Source and Free, and is quite simple to use. DirectX has more effects and is easier to use but takes a lot more resources and is designed only for Windows apps.

Whatever you choose - you can use every file format you want - you just need to find documentation for it. I am beginner in OpenGl and i have found ASE or ASC file format best for my work. You can easly export 3ds Max scene as asc or ase file.

ASE files are written totaly in free ASCII text - you can see how every object is built and you can modify every value you need just by using notepad.

My English is not to well so i hope that you will understand everything i mean

blessings
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joachimcCommented:
The performance of GL and DX are about the same. It's generally much more dependant on your hardware and how you optimize your code.

Any file format that you can write code to read is usable.

There are a few open source engines. It all depends on your requirements. Since you are going to be inside your might take a look at ogre.sourceforge.net it's a very good engine and it uses the very common Quake 3 format.

I haven't seen a parse for .Max. But if you want you could always use the x file exporter that MS has made for Max and use that format instead.

I use DX because I code a game and there is really no nead to have it cross platform. OpenGL is more portable and has more examples though.
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wipfiAuthor Commented:
So what file formats are mostly used by programmes, architects or engineers?

Do professional cards better support OpenGl or directx or will DirectX became the overall Standart even for professionals?
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joachimcCommented:
It all depends on what you want to do. REally pro cards are slightly better at openGL. But if you want to do something for the general public DX if definitely better.

We use Maya. Others use MAX others use Lightwave.
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wipfiAuthor Commented:
Today it's right that OpenGl is for high end cards but what about the future? Now directx sets up new standarts?

Maya has the *.obj file format? Is it very hard to parse are there any open source programms that are able to do so? And what about nurbs in scenes?

 
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joachimcCommented:
Maya is very hard to parse. You normally use the Maya SDK for that.

Yes DX is currently getting faster development since it's more closed standard.

Why don't you try with X files the exporter that is for max and maya is with source code this means that if you feel that some info is missing from the file you can just add code to the exporter to export whatever you like.
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wipfiAuthor Commented:
The problem is that the application should offer the possibility for architects and engineers to view their models. As a matter of fact we will need to support one or more file formats! What we don't know is what are the top formats mostly used by these target groups!

Now we would like to use *.3ds! Is this a good idea or not?
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joachimcCommented:
3ds is very very old.

architects and engineers mostly use Autocad but that's really not a modeling program as Maya and Max.
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PharaoCommented:
If you have the choice:

DirectX is a bit simpler to use and you can get a SDK and what you need from one source (if you like that source is another question)
In DirectX you have a bit easier access to Shaders.

Speed is aproximately the same.
and: DirectX will NEVER get the overall standard I believe. (Why should it? It isn´t even portable)

OpenGL is portable
OpenGL is extendable (good&bad ... you get new functionality faster then DirectX, but atm its often different to use for different Hardware... but they are working on this issue... awaiting OpenGL 2.0)

I started 3DProgramming with OpenGL and didn´t find it too difficult.

if you should use a available engine depends on your timeframe and your focus (if you focus on the app & the result, use one ...if you want to learn the basics don´t)

finally, a link  where you can find much what you need: i.e. .max im&exporter, tutorials, articles (at least in linked sites) http://www.flipcode.com

Manuel
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mphankeCommented:
Hi,

I already worked on this sector and if you are going to go for professional solutions you can try this:

http://www.sgi.com/software/performer/

I worked with this API, which is for Educational purposes pretty cheap and had very, very good results. It handles Channels for you and is compliant to OpenGL. This means you can use OpenGL code inside this API. Further it supports it is easy to implement the CAVE API and it comes with a lot of loaders for typical 3D dataformats.
The best thing about it is now it works on SGI, Linux and Windows. This means one source 3 plattforms!

Martin
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mphankeCommented:
Hi,

I already worked on this sector and if you are going to go for professional solutions you can try this:

http://www.sgi.com/software/performer/

I worked with this API, which is for Educational purposes pretty cheap and had very, very good results. It handles Channels for you and is compliant to OpenGL. This means you can use OpenGL code inside this API. Further it supports it is easy to implement the CAVE API and it comes with a lot of loaders for typical 3D dataformats.
The best thing about it is now it works on SGI, Linux and Windows. This means one source 3 plattforms!

Martin
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mphankeCommented:
Oh, I forgot it is also very easy to do frame and gen lock (just in case you want to use a PC cluster running Windoughs or Linux. )

Martin
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wipfi:
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