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Learning XNA 4.0 by Aaron Reed

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Chapter 10. 3D Models

In the previous chapter you went to work on some sweet triangles and rectangles, using fantastic colors and cool textures. You’re ready to go out and create the next great game and make millions of dollars and retire when you’re 23, right? Wrong. Unfortunately, I’ve got some bad news for you: there really isn’t a market for 3D triangle and rectangle games right now. How will your Attack of the Triangles game compare against the latest shooters and role-playing games? Umm…it won’t. So, how do those games get such cool-looking graphics when all you have is a simple triangle to work with? The answer lies with three-dimensional models.

Using 3D Models

In the last chapter, I mentioned that you can draw anything you want in XNA 3D if you use enough primitives (such as the triangle used in that chapter). Although that’s true, it would be a severe pain in the neck to try to draw a spaceship or a dragon or whatever else you’re thinking of by specifying each individual vertex in code and drawing hundreds or even thousands of triangles to create the object.

When drawing complicated objects, typically you’ll use a 3D model. Essentially, a 3D model is a collection of points that form vertices for primitives. In the model, colors and textures can be applied. These models are usually created outside of XNA in a third-party modeling application. Popular modeling tools you can use to create 3D models include 3D Studio Max, Maya, Blender, Lightwave, and Modo. Blender is a free ...

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