The C4 Engine community has recognized the need to create a new file format for the exchange of 3D scene data along with a set of well-maintained, reliable export plugins for popular 3D modeling software packages. Our current dependency on the open-standard Collada format has become a liability due to its over-engineered and under-specified format as well as the poor reliability of the export plugins available for Maya, 3D Studio Max, and Blender. This has led to many long-standing difficulties in the process of moving 3D scene data from professional modeling software into the C4 Engine. We're fed up with it, and we're going to make something better.
We have designed a new 3D model exchange format having the following characteristics:
- It is an open format, and it will have a freely available specification.
- The format is text-based so that it's human-readable in any ordinary text editor, but it is possible to embed binary data in hexadecimal notation.
- Data is structured in a hierarchical manner using a C-like syntax instead of something overly verbose like XML.
Our plan is to implement export plugins that produce our new format for Maya, 3D Studio Max, and Blender. The source code will be released under an open-source license so that anyone can obtain it for free. The source code will be clean and well documented so that it can be easily modified or used as a template for implementing export plugins for additional modeling packages.
An import plugin that reads our new format will be implemented for the C4 Engine, and the source code will be included in future releases for all licensed users. Even though the new format will become the preferred method of bringing scene data into the C4 World Editor, we will continue to support the Collada format as well.
How Funds Will Be Used
The funds raised by this campaign will be used to purchase the professional 3D modeling packages (Maya and 3D Studio Max) that we will be supporting directly. These are very expensive, but we need them in order to produce and test our new export plugins.
This campaign is being run by the creator of the C4 Engine, Dr. Eric Lengyel. He has over 20 years of experience in computer graphics and game programming, and he is the software architect behind one of the most professionally respected game engines ever built. His reputation for elegant design and clean implementation will show in the final model exchange format specification and the source code for the export plugins.