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I want to make a game which would require a 3D map editor. Of course, I would like to avoid creating such an editor. My idea is now to use modeling tools (3DS Max, Maya, Blender) to create the map, and to give game specific objects specified names. This way I'd just need to write an COLLADA -> native map format converter. But I'm not sure if this is possible the way I imagine it, that's why I'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

  • Are modeling tools suitable to create big open world maps?
  • Can this "naming convention"-idea for game specific objects work?
  • Are the modeling tools able to export a scene in chunks / in a way that occlusion culling and collision detection can be properly done? If not: Is there a way to build a suitable data structure from the exported data?
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It might be worth looking at Maya Layout Tools. –  K.G. Jun 10 '12 at 15:52
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In principle I see no reason you can't do this. You might have to wirte script utilities for max(maya, blender), and possibly your own exporter though.

Max has mechanisms for referencing other scenes, and I assume blender and maya have something similar, too. I don't know if these are exactly suited to working on the world in chunks.

For a simple grid-like chunk system though it shouldn't be too hard to write a script that allows you to save and load chunks from different scene files on the fly to edit them.

As for the naming system, that should certainly work as well, you can do pretty much whatever you want when you write your collada or custom file format parser. You could for example prefix occlusion portals with [portal], other things you might need could be [collider] or [physics proxy] etc...

BSP trees are relatively popular for collision detection (mostly for static geometry since compiling them can be expensive), you could compile one from the collision meshes referenced in your map file at any point you like. I don't know of any built in functionality to export one in max, though.

Extending max, blender or maya to a map editor could be a huge or small task, depending on the functionality you need.

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