What file formats are you using?

Posts: 129
Joined: 2005.02
Post: #1
I'm weighing in all my options for different formats I want my game to utilize, and I am curious as to what file formats some of you are using for your textures/models/maps/audio, in your projects. Why did you choose to use the ones you are, and any benefits/cons?
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Posts: 320
Joined: 2003.06
Post: #2
textures: png
Because it supports alpha, isn't too large and isn't too lossy.

Because someone else had already written an importer for it, it's human readable, and it does everything I need right now

Maps: obj / png
As above. I have used height maps in the past in png format, but objs are fine right now. I also list positions / rotations etc of objects in an xml file, because it's human readable and easy to load / save.

audio: mp3
Because it's small and good.

Chopper, iSight Screensavers, DuckDuckDuck: http://majicjungle.com
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Posts: 3,591
Joined: 2003.06
Post: #3
textures: png, because it works really well, and it's free, and x-platform compatible, and easy to use, and covers most of the features anyone could reasonably need. jpeg is also good, but I don't use it as much as I thought I would.

models: My own format, because it's just too frustrating to deal with what's out there already. I suppose obj is pretty good except it doesn't handle skeletal or animation info. Of course, using my own format requires me to write a plug-in for whatever 3D package I'm using.

maps: My own format. I would assume pretty much everybody has to use their own format for maps as well.

audio: ogg, because it's free and it works just as well if not better than mp3. The only real con is that it's not entrenched like mp3, so it doesn't have as much application support. Who cares? I'm not writing a music player, I'm writing games. Whatever saves me space and frees me from licensing saves me money, and that's what it's all about in the online shareware distribution business. You could use mp3 if you're comfortable relying on QuickTime for importing, to avoid the licensing fee.
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Posts: 1,563
Joined: 2003.10
Post: #4
Textures: PNG and JPEG. PNG for everything I can get away with; JPEG for the few images that are too large for PNG and don't need alpha channels. Both formats are nice and compact (each in their own way), well-known, and well supported.

Models: Custom. I haven't seen any standardized model format that suits my needs. Some work is/was being done on this by one or more of our forum members...

Maps: Custom. My needs (and presumably most other devs') in this area are far too specialized for any standard format to accommodate.

Audio: Ogg Vorbis. It's more compact and sounds better than MP3 or M4A, and it's free and open source. If I can ever get away with lossless audio, I use AIFF.

- Alex Diener
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Post: #5
Textures and images: PNG usually because it's a free standard, no annoying copyright issues. I occasionally also use Targa and JPEG.

Models: Obj and MD2 although I'm working on others - I only use these for simplicity.

Maps: Custom. You really need to make your own game specific map format unless you are basically copying a game.

Sound: Ogg vorbis, again because MP3 has a lot of stupid copyright and licensing issues which I just don't want to deal with.

In general, just watch out for nasty licensing stuff if you plan to do anything commercial (and just as a general protest of people being stupid with patents).
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Posts: 3
Joined: 2005.03
Post: #6
My choice of file format has usually depended on what loads most quickly. I'm using REALbasic, and I've found that PICT images load about 3 times more quickly than anything else. Likewise, SFIL files load more quickly than other sounds. I think that's because PICT and SIFL are "native" formats; REALbasic relies upon QuickTime to translate other types of files as they are opened. I'm sure that doesn't apply to most programming languages though.
For 3D graphics I'm stuck with the 3DMF format, which can be stored as either text or binary files. For 3DMF at least, binary loads faster. For that reason it might be worth finding out whether models in other formats can be converted to binary.
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Posts: 151
Joined: 2002.09
Post: #7
jessimko Wrote:Likewise, SFIL files load more quickly than other sounds.

since SFIL files don't provide a compression as compact as .mp3, .ogg, etc. they should actually take longer to load.
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Posts: 41
Joined: 2005.02
Post: #8
Well, if the HD access time is less than the codec's decode time, then yes the uncompressed formats would be faster. They would just take up more space. I find it hard to say that mp3's will load faster than raw data.

I'm sure there's circumstances where that's the case, but in general raw data requires less cycles.
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