World image with a 'G' inlaid.Graphical Arcitectual Engineers Anonymous

P
robably the most frustrating thing about 3d graphics is attempting to translate you efforts into a useful application. We spent alot of time and effort on useless pursuits before finally causing a split in our group due to some of the issues involved in trying to complete our initially stated project.

I personally worked on continuing attempts to convert useful model objects into something we could use either in OpenGL and/or Blender. The following is the documentation of some of those efforts and a brief explaination of what DID work.
Attempt 1
: Terragen

After spending hours creating the 'perfect' terrain in terragen and exporting it to an object file. I converted it to OpenGL (c++) using 3dWin4. However, all attempts to run this application were thwarted by the fact the we had over 50,000 vertices and for some reason they would not. I decided to move on to another terrain generation app and thought it would be good to find something that would model plantlife as well.

Attempt 2
: Bryce

I didn't have much problem creating a sample terrain and a tree in Bryce, (though Bryce has on of the clunkiest interfaces I've ever used). However, it only exports terrain and not into any useful format. No help here.



Attempt 3
: Vue d'Esprit

Vue is an excellent tool if all you care about is getting a look at what you'd like to do. No exporting what-so-ever. It makes pretty pictures... so here they are.



Conclusion
: Terrain

Creating a custom terrain in Blender became an option at this point. It was made more attractive by the fact that there was a built-in game engine we could use to take care of some of our issues. We did aready have excellent water effects going in OpenGL, this was the cause of our split. We have some nice looking terrain on the blender side and basically made use of plains in OpenGL.

Conclusion
: Plant Models

Our attempts to model trees by had or code were fairly pathetic, so we continued our efforts to find a decent method or conversion tool that would allow us to use existing models. We found some free models we really liked at 3dcafe.com. They were in 3D Studio Max format, so we searched and finally fouind a conversion tool that would export to VRML 2.0 (which Blender imports fairly well). The tool is AccuTrans3D ($20, but has a free 30 day trial). The trees you see in our final blender renders and web game came from this method.

We never finished a good plant model in OpenGL.

Conclusion
: Arcitecture

After several attempts to create a good cabin model in OpenGL and attempting to import a decent one, we had to shift our focus to completing the terrain we had started.