Focus on 3D Models (Game Development Series) Paperback – 23 Dec 2002
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1. Reviewing Matrices and Vectors 2. Introduction to Quaternions 3. Quake II's MD2 Models 4. Loading OBJ Files 5. An Introduction to Skeletal Animation 6. MilkShape 3D 7. The 3ds Models 8. MDL, The Legendary Half-Life Format 9. Enter the Quake : Quake III's MD3 Format 10. Tips, Tricks, and Methods Appendices: A: Common 3D Model Formats B: STL Vector Primer C: Going Above and Beyond
About the Author
After programming for several years, Evan Pipho discovered gamedev.net in mid-2000 and immediately became a devoted gamer. At age 17, Evan has already tackled DirectDraw, Direct3D, and OpenGL in addition to co-creating Ngine.
Top Customer Reviews
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
A few chapters go over the basics of matrix and vector math, and the concepts behind animating models: not essential stuff for what is essentially a model format reference book.
The core of the book describes in detail the following formats: Quake2 (MD2), Maya (OBJ), Autodesk (3DS), Half-Life (MDL) and Quake3 (MD3). All the formats except Half-Life MDL's are described in detail. The author really dropped the ball in the "Half-Life MDL" chapter: Instead of describing the format from scratch, he just tells you to use the Half-Life SDK, because "the Half-Life format is very, very complex."
One minor nit-pick: There is no mention that 16-bit and 32-bit data in binary formats are stored in little-endian format, and must be byte swapped on non-Intel machines.
Even with all this criticism, I rate the book 4 stars, because overall I am happy with the level of detail presented in the file format chapters.
The model formats covered by this book are Quake 2 (.md2), .obj, MilkShape, 3D Studio Max (.3ds), Half-life (.mdl), and Quake 3 (.md3). All of these formats are covered quite well, with sample code showing how to load, display and (when applicable) animate them. The exception is the Half-life format, for which he just uses the SDK, so there's no real information on the format itself. In addition to the specific formats, there are chapters on skeletal animation and useful tips on working with models.
My only real complaint is that about 1/4 of the book's pages are spent on covering vectors, matrices, quaternions, and STL vectors. Although knowledge of these topics is important for understanding the rest of the book, I'd suspect most readers will already be familiar with them. I would have preferred to have these chapters included on the CD instead, freeing up space for more useful information (detailed coverage of the Half-life format, perhaps?).
Overall, though, I was happy with the book. It's compact, inexpensive, an easy read, and it's nice to have the most common formats covered in one convenient volume. If you're looking for an introduction to using 3D models, or just want a physical reference for these formats to keep on your desk, I'd recommend it.
He starts with a good intro to matrices and quaternions, followed by a good intro to modeling concepts, and then describes a few formats in detail. Unfortunately, he doesn't go into any more advanced discussion on how to put things together... i.e. how to *use* the models. A few pages are wasted explaining how to use some basic "C", but I've seen worse...
Overall, I give it four stars because, if you know nothing of the topic, it is an excellent jump start. If you do have knowledge of the topic, then you aren't the target audience.
Just enough to get you started.
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