Freeworld3d - experience with Ogre? What works and doesn't

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RoundSparrow
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Freeworld3d - experience with Ogre? What works and doesn't

Post by RoundSparrow »

Ok, looking for a topic on Freeworld3d ... anyone using it to design outdoor worlds?

What works, what is compatible with Ogre, etc?

Did you give up on it and switch to something else? Any feedback!

Thank you.

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Post by spookyboo »

I didn't like it. I like A.L.E, but it is limited. I'm writing my own terrain/world editor now that will import the heightmap, lightmap and prop. file exported from A.L.E. From that point I am able to texture the terrain, add water, skybox, skydome, etc. and with one press of a button it deploys all files including a .scene file to the destination directories.
It´s evolving slowly, but I´m hanging on.

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Post by Falagard »

Here's my opinion - I've used Freeworld extensively.

Some screenshots and a demo below:
http://www.ogre3d.org/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=8397

Pros:

1. It's the best terrain editor I've found, and I'm using it for my project, but I admit I haven't tried out A.L.E. I've tried TerraGen, GeoScape3D, and that's about it. Back when I was evaluating terrain editing tools, the list of tools was limited.

2. It creates alpha maps that are perfect for texture splatting, which is the technique I've chosen for my game's terrain.

3. The editor itself is pretty good, easy to edit terrains, paint terrains, etc. and calculates shadowmaps quickly and easily.

4. It exports heightmap in 16 bit raw format, and outputs individual alpha layers for use with texture splatting. Texture splatting is compatible with both of Ogre's terrain scene managers.

Cons:

1. Lack of undo/redo system is annoying.
2. Very difficult to use for a generic editor for placing meshes on the terrain since I find it unintuitive, plus lack of undo/redo system for meshes is more than annoying.
3. Meshes don't cast shadows onto terrain.

Other than that, I find Freeworld fantastic and make some pretty sweet terrains with it.

Clay

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Post by rmmt »

You say meshes don't cast shadows? I was hoping the program to be able to generate shadows from trees that I put in. Is there another program that does this? It's very important for me.

Thank you
Ramon Miguel M. Tayag

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Post by spookyboo »

Try Gile[s].

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Post by rmmt »

Thank you. Done browsing thru the site now I'm trying the program out. The workflow I was thinking of was first creating the land with meshes in freeworld3d then moving on to Gile[s] to get the light map done, then combining the base map and the light map back in freeworld3d. Now I'm just hoping that whatever output I come up with OGRE3D can handle.
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Post by Gf11speed »

How does Freeworld work with Ogre if it doesn't support .mesh file format? In other words, how do you read a map file created with Freeworld editor into Ogre?
Coming soon...

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Post by rmmt »

freeworld3d doesn't export a mesh of the land; it exports a height map :)
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Post by Gf11speed »

You can't export your map file so that you can read it in manually to Ogre? (When I say map file, I mean a file that contains coordinates to the meshes that you added in the scene and such).

It doesn't just export a heightmap only does it?
Coming soon...

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Post by Mr.Bloodworth »

Gf11speed wrote:You can't export your map file so that you can read it in manually to Ogre? (When I say map file, I mean a file that contains coordinates to the meshes that you added in the scene and such).

It doesn't just export a heightmap only does it?
Im intrested to know also, as i have been Importing a hightmap i made to freeworld3d, figuring that when i buy it (and can save and export) that there was some file type that holds all the info that the .scene would use(lights textures and positions of the meshes)....and then would just need a converter.

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Post by Falagard »

Yes, it exports such a file, which is an xml file with all the positions/orientations, mesh names, etc. of the objects you've placed. The heightmap gets exported separately from this .xml file. It won't export one big mesh.

I haven't used it, but it's there. You'll either have to use that format and read in the values and load meshes, or convert that xml to .scene xml format.

I'm not using freeworld to place meshes because a) I found it hard to actually place meshes where I wanted. b) I couldn't move multiple meshes at once, or create a hiearchy (place objects on a table, then move the table). c) lack of undo system. d) and most importantly, I had a hard time getting meshes into freeworld. Those I exported from 3ds max had a hard time loading. .3ds files have 8 character limit on texture names, and are loaded rotated along the Y axis. .obj files failed to load properly sometimes.

I highly suggest you keep an eye on the terrain editor that is taking shape here on the forums for hte paginglandscapemanager. I'm currently using Freeworld3d to do my terrains, and then gile[s] to do object placement and lightmaps. The problem is that the process is complicated with so many different editors and formats. If the paginglandscape editor adds the ability to paint layers of textures for texture splatting, then I'll immediately switch over to using that. If/when they add the ability to place meshes on the terrain, I'll use that as well to place meshes, then probably write an importer for Gile[s] to be able to load a .scene file, heightmap and all related meshes into Gile[s] for shadows. If they add meshes casting shadows onto terrain in paginglandscapeeditor then I'll just say screw it and not use giles either for outdoors, only for indoors.

Clay

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Post by rmmt »

I know this is the wrong place to talk about freeworld3d stuff, but since you seem the person who knows what to do, how do I import the exported heightmap generated by freeworld3d into gile[s]? There doesn't seem to be an import heightmap in gile[s]
Ramon Miguel M. Tayag

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Post by psyclonist »

Falagard wrote:I'm not using freeworld to place meshes because
a) I found it hard to actually place meshes where I wanted.
b) I couldn't move multiple meshes at once, or create a hiearchy (place objects on a table, then move the table).
c) lack of undo system.
d) and most importantly, I had a hard time getting meshes into freeworld.
We address a, b and (implicitely) d in our editor. I've thought about c for a while. How much priority do you think it should have? And would a context specific undo/redo system be acceptable (e.g. one which doesn't work for *everything* but in certain contexts like terrain editing, scene node transformation changes etc)?

Sorry for taking this slightly OT, but I'm thrilled to hear your answers :) After all this post is about workflow efficiency, too.

-psy

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Post by rmmt »

I think the undo/redo system should work for every action the user does..
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Post by psyclonist »

rmmt wrote:I think the undo/redo system should work for every action the user does..
I agree. It should. Nevertheless there are good reasons why I thought of limiting it in certain cases.

-psy

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Post by Falagard »

If it's not possible in some circumstances, then I understand. I've implemented three completely different undo system implementations in various applications.

Clay

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Post by soconne »

The next version of Freeworld, 2.0, does have an Undo / Redo system. Currently it works fine for all mesh transformations and I'm working on doing it for terrain editing and painting.

I think its a lot harder than some people think when it comes to memory requirements and memory management.......especially if you are editing a 1024x1024 heightmap or bigger and want multiple undo stages.

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Post by Mr.Bloodworth »

So for I really like the editor.

As an artist its intuitive. (barring the error messages :x )

In any pipe line the less between the editor and the application the better.

And that is where most editors fail. Artists have enough tools on there hands with out having to use 4 programs from A to B.

I'm not alone in this either. programmers seem to love there tools...the more the better. Artists want a "suite" that works for the project at hand.

So, im currently at the wall with freeworld. Its the closest thing to what I want to use to set up my environments for my project. Its simple, and the work flows nicely when creating the composition. The wall its getting anything useable by a programmer out of it other than a high map and color map.

The only other option is to use it as a reference tool, and have the programmer "place" and position the items in the composition with lines of code.

And no offence guys... Let us handle the graphics...and we will let you handle the programming.

The wall needs to be broken and the gap crossed.

2c

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Post by Falagard »

Mr. Bloodworth - programmers shouldn't have any problem taking data from the .xml files that are spit out from Freeworld3d and using those for position/orientation information.

On the other hand, you import .3ds or .obj files into Freeworld3D and place them, you're going to need to create a corresponding .mesh file that matches the same name as the .3ds file.

Regarding artists creating content - I agree 100%! I've been saying that all along, especially when I see programmers automatically generating terrain and texturing it, automatically generating trees and plants. We should be making tools that help the artists do what they want - sure automatically generate an initial terrain and allow artists to tweak it. Sure, automatically generate trees and allow artists to add knots, roots, etc. That's why I dislike SpeedTree - because it generates the trees, and you can't do anything with them afterwards, so I did my own tree rendering system. Not generation of trees, cause any good artist can either a) take one of the many existing tree generation programs, and use it to generate a mesh that they edit and tweak, or b) create one from scratch.

Clay

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Post by Mr.Bloodworth »

Falagard wrote: Mr. Bloodworth - programmers shouldn't have any problem taking data from the .xml files that are spit out from Freeworld3d and using those for position/orientation information.
Well, I figured as much, but he need Wright one if there is one already =)
Falagard wrote:
On the other hand, you import .3ds or .obj files into Freeworld3D and place them, you're going to need to create a corresponding .mesh file that matches the same name as the .3ds file.
I figured it would be as simple as swapping out the Names.extension in the file for that. The position ETC... is the important issue here.
Falagard wrote:
Regarding artists creating content - I agree 100%! I've been saying that all along, especially when I see programmers automatically generating terrain and texturing it, automatically generating trees and plants. We should be making tools that help the artists do what they want - sure automatically generate an initial terrain and allow artists to tweak it. Sure, automatically generate trees and allow artists to add knots, roots, etc. That's why I dislike SpeedTree - because it generates the trees, and you can't do anything with them afterwards, so I did my own tree rendering system. Not generation of trees, cause any good artist can either a) take one of the many existing tree generation programs, and use it to generate a mesh that they edit and tweak, or b) create one from scratch.

Clay
Generated terrain and tress are amazing, but it will never have that hand crafted feel, Or that artists touch!

But the information contained in the wiki doesn't give allot of information on the requirements of any part of it.

The would not really be the issue if all engines used the same *tweaks* and conventions. Currently the only way for me to figure out the requirements for Item A, is to look at what is currently used, and take it apart so see what was used.

The wiki is good for "swapping" out parts.. but, not necessarily for "Creating from scratch".

And I would like to change that as my knowledge increases.

But, when some one asks if there is a "tool" for "this", its not really that good to assume that only programmers are on this site :D

By the way, seen your work. Very nice, would be intrested in talking to you about how you got to that point.

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Are tehre any complete descriptions for the file formats?

Post by Vychtor »

I am interested in writing a one button or commandline converter for FreeWorld3d to Ogre. I have read through the manual and the xml importer/exporter and found them lacking in detail.

The first blind assumption is that XML is a universal format for data, alas it is not. It is a great format for data, but its structure and order are dependent on the data and if your lucky the schema. I will be happy to write the schema for Ogres importer and provide an XSL tranformer (converter) to convert FreeWorld3d over to Ogre in a more seamless manor.

I do need good information to work with.

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Post by Vychtor »

I found the DTDs for the two main supported formats... OgreMesh.xml and OgreSkeleton.xml

Does anyone know if there is a OgreScene.xml?

If not does anyone want it?

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Post by haffax »

You mean dotscene, do you? If so, here is the dtd for it: http://cvs.sourceforge.net/viewcvs.py/o ... iew=markup
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Thanks

Post by Vychtor »

Excellent! Now I am verifying the DTDs and checking up with Freeworld3D to aqcuire their DTD/Schemas or write them. I will be testing all of the variations to make sure I have all of the types successfully converting.
I admittedly am no artist, could someone point me too some "complete-example" .scene files? Ergo, a .scene file with everything in it? (every tag covered)

I know that my artist friend wants drag and drop magic with the conversion... (its like he does not understand the keyboard ~poke~) My first incarnation is going to be commandline with validation of all file types and verification that all resources are present. .scene, .mesh, and .skeleton (XML) these will be converting from Freeworld 3d to Ogre; Followed by From Ogre to Freeworld 3d. After that I will add the GUI for my artist friend and then a in Ogre conversion to freeworld and import from ...

Its definitely going to be fun :)

I have to work this around work and grad school but I plan to have it out and open-sourced before the end of summer.

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Re: Thanks

Post by Mr.Bloodworth »

Vychtor wrote:
I know that my artist friend wants drag and drop magic with the conversion... (its like he does not understand the keyboard ~poke~)
yes, yes i do =)

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