Media Standards

Here you'll find out all about the standards which WorldForge has set for the media area.

These standards are necesary because of the collaborative environment in WorldForge where artists come from such varied and diverse backgrounds come together. Without standards our project would quickly devolve into a disorganized and incompatible mess. Note that this is only an introductory document to generally familiarize yourself Media standards and the tools we use.

Where our media is stored...

WorldForge uses a free product called CVS (Concurrent Versioning System) to house all of our media as well as our code. CVS is basically a very detailed keeper of records on changes made to existing files, new additions to our media collection. You can do all sorts of interesting things with CVS like roll back changes you're not happy with, see a history of what changes have been made to files among many other things. If you're already familiar with CVS and want to check out some of the art we've already created our CVS server's address is cvs.worldforge.org. The modules that you're interested in are media-2d, media-3d and just plain media (which contains our music).

To find out how to configure your computer to checkout (and upload to) our CVS repository check out our CVS howto.

When you feel that you are ready to start creating media after hanging out on the mailings lists and/or IRC you can send a username and password (encrypt your password please) to cvsaccount@worldforge.org.

The types of file formats we use...

Below you'll find a list of the general areas of media and the types of files we accept. Note that these are only guides to help you ensure that your media will be in a format that we can use.

2D Art

This consists of scanned drawings (concept art etc), generated sprites, tiles and animated sprites.

Sprites - PNG (preferred) and JPG
Animations - PNGs each frame will be a numbered and the client will play each file as a frame.
Perhaps in the future when MNGs are better supported we'll move to them.

3D Art

3D media consists of 3D meshes, textures, and BHV files. Note that sprites rendered from a 3D scene are considered 2d art while the scene upon which the rendering derived based is part of 3D. Even so, 3D rendered sprites can reside in the media-3d repository to serve as a preview.
Textures - PNG (preferred), TGA, JPG and BMPs
Meshes - Please provide a DXF for compatibility and native source files for any meshes/scenes you produce (ie OBJ for Maya or 3DS/MAX for 3DSMax users, etc.) If you could also provide a 3DS file for nonanimated meshes and OBJ for animated meshes that would be helpful.
* Again, GIFs are really frowned upon. Its the only format which we can't use due to patent issues. Please use PNGs instead.

Music

Introductory, background and inidental music to be used in games, demos, introductory movies, etc.
MIDI (which can be streamed into better sounding formats
XM/S3M/IT
OGG
>
WAV (not recommended for music)

SoundFX

Sounds that are to used in our games, UI sounds, demos, movies, etc.
WAV (preferred)
OGG

How we name our files...

This may seem like a small matter but once you start to take into account the sheer volume of pictures, animations, meshes, textures and music you can begin to see need for an organized way in which to name files.

There is a very comprehensive document to help guide you naming your artwork called our file naming howto [LINK]. Some of the basic rules however are listed below...

Always use only small letters, numbers or underscores in filenames.

It is advised to add one's initials at the end of the filename; this prevents confusion when two artists create images with the same name. Also add the initials you use to the Author Tags list [LINK], and make sure they don't clash with anyone elses.

The filename tag documentation lays out the standard naming conventions for media filenames. Filename tags are special parts of a media filename, used to indicate various properties of the file, such as for example the author, whether the file is a bump map for a texture, or the direction a character is facing. The naming system for animation frames is also explained in the above document.

Tools you can use...

We would like to encourage all of our artists to use tools that are Free Software. Only through using other Free Software project's tools will they eventually improve and better suit our needs. To this end we like to promote the growth and maturation of other Free Software products.

2D Art
Gimp Linux,
Win32,
OSX [GPLed]
Paint Shop Pro Win32 [~$100]
Adobe Photoshop Win32,Mac, OSX [~$500]
3D Art
A more exhaustive list of 3D Applications with feature comparisons can be found here.
Moonlight3D Linux [GPLed]
Blender Win32, Linux, BSD, OSX [GPLed]
Milkshape 3D Win32 [$20]
Animation Master Win32, Mac [~$300]
3D Studio Max Win32 [~$3500!]
Maya Win32, Linux [~$7500.00!!]
Music - Trackers [Authoring Tools]
MadTracker Win32 [Free]
Modplug Tracker Win32 [Free]
SoundTracker Linux [GPLed]
Music - Players
Modplug XMMS Plug-in Linux [GPLed]
Winamp WSP Mod Plugin Win32 [Free]
ModPlug Player Win32, Linux [Free]
Other Music Authoring Tools
Fruity Loops Win32 [Free]
Anvil Studio [Win32 [Free]
Hammerhead Rhythm Station [Win32 [Free]
SoundFX
Audacity Linux, Win32, MacOS 9, OSX, BSD [GPLed]

So now you're done reading this doc and you're happily staring at me saying,

"Well, I have some vague notion about what's going on but I can't say that I'm ready to go about creating any media yet. I have many more questions before I can start!"

Ah, yes as we mentioned earlier this is only an introduction. You should continue by reading the Artist Orientaion if you haven't already done so. There is also more detailed documentaion available in the media documentation area as well. If you have any applications you think we should list above just send an email to the media mailing list with the application name, what platforms its available on (win32, linux etc). If its a non-free app we'd rather not hear about it tho as there are plenty of those to be found.