First steps with the XSI SDK

· by Steve · Read in about 2 min · (235 Words)

Even though the resource-unstable branch still desperately needs my attention, I promised myself that I’d start work on the XSI exporter this week. I spent a lot of time reading the SDK docs and basically feeling my way around, and whilst it takes a bit of getting used to (like any new API), I’m pleased with what I’ve seen.

I already figured out the various entry points, got a plugin loading, and sorted out how to write a custom dialog pane. I also have a good idea where I’m going to get all the geometry data from. I’m glad to see that XSI does seem to figure out vertex normals for you, unlike MaxScript which forces you to do it all manually using smoothing groups (which is extremely lame, in my opinion).

Today I’m going to try to get a basic mesh export working, with material divisions (not quite sure how that works in XSI yet, I have to do some more investigations). I doubt I’ll get animation done today, but if the mesh export goes well I might have time to at least start figuring out how it works.

For info, I decided to write a fully compiled plugin rather than scripting this because I think it’s more powerful. For this reason the XSI exporter will export directly to the binary .mesh (and eventually .skeleton and probably .material) rather than to the intermediate XML.