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Exit: My Model 3D

Making "modeling" software

March 29th, 2020 by Holey Moley at

For a very long time I’ve pursued a side project of developing art productivity software to support Sword of Moonlight. For many years I’ve worked on developing COLLADA as a format for storing “3D” art for use by game projects.

Since mid-to-early last year I’ve been busy developing an actual application for artists to use in place of popular 3D modeling packages like Blender. That’s taken up most of my time, and I was doing it in preparation to work on my personal game project to port King’s Field II to Sword of Moonlight.

Of course, this sounds like a lot of work to do when in the popular imagination it seems like there are already commercial and noncommercial software for doing these things. That’s true, and if I could use that software I would have gladly done so. Unfortunately I exhausted all alternatives in arriving at this course.

Am I saying that all of existing software and resources are inadequate? I guess I am. Or at least that’s what I’ve discovered. Not always for technical reasons, but oftentimes so. Sometimes for ethical or practical reasons or just aesthetic ones.

Sword of Moonlight itself isn’t actually a tool for making 3D data sets. In real terms it requires such sets as raw input, however part of its beauty is you are meant to not develop those sets unless you must. In fact, I think that’s doing it wrong. But it’s a secondary discipline just as essential to the process.

I had thought about how to approach this problem for some time before everything clicked into place last year. I had a feeling it was time. I started developing a user-interface component then that will undoubtedly be used to port Sword of Moonlight’s tools to more computer architectures in the coming years, and after that I began applying it to a 3D art application I could use to finish my game project.

Now I’ve completed work on the first finished version of this software which I’ve worked toward doing in order to be able to publish it and put it behind me so I can focus for the rest of this year on applying it to King’s Field II. The software in its present state doesn’t use COLLADA since there was not time for that. It’s likely similar to the programs From Software would have used to develop art for PlayStation games and Sword of Moonlight — it works exactly as does its MDL proprietary animation file format.

At I’ve published this work in the form of a preliminary demonstration because it’s very early on and there aren’t enough facilities built into Sword of Moonlight to work as a proper tool chain yet. I want to call this software Daedalus but for now I’m developing it as an enhanced version of the software I’ve borrowed code from to get started. A lot of the design decisions are simply those of that code’s authors. I’ve done extensive work on it and there is much more work to be done just to make it operate adequately. Unfortunately that will have to wait.

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