HOW TO INSTALL COLLADAMaya PLUG-IN

This review will guide you through the installation of the COLLADAMaya Plug-in for Maya 2008 on Windows XP as well as on Mac OS X Leopard.

INTRODUCTION

Multiverse

Multiverse is a platform for developing Massively Multiplayer Online Games (MMOG). It provides all you need for creating your own game: server, client, starter assets and sample worlds. The big advantage of using this network is the simple process to publish a game without having up-front costs.

The 3D graphics rendering engine which is used by the Multiverse Client is based on OGRE (Object-Oriented Graphics Rendering Engine) written in C++. This engine supports

DirectX as well as OpenGL so it runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS systems.

Multiverse provides some tools for building your own world. These are the Terrain Editor (world topography) and the World Editor (objects, assets). You can furthermore create assets and animations in third party programs as 3ds Max, Blender or Maya. Also implement motion capturing data is no problem. Multiverse includes a Conversion Tool which can convert COLLADA files into the Multiverse binary format based on OGRE. The workflow* is as followed:

  1. Create assets and animation with third party tools, e.g. Maya.
  2. Export your data into COLLADA data exchange format
  3. Convert COLLADA files into Mutliverse binary format using the Multiverse Conversion Tool
  4. Import assets with the Asset Importer of Multiverse

* This workflow is concentrated on the topic COLLADAMaya and not complete!

COLLADA

COLLADA is an open XML-based format, developped for easily exchange 3D data (digital assets) between 3D applications. Feeling Software provides several plug-ins available for using this format.

This review focusses on COLLADAMaya because we want to use our motion capture data with Maya and import them into Mutliverse.

INSTALL COLLADAMaya AND ENABLE IN MAYA 2008

Windows XP (Home Edition), ServicePack 2

  1. Please make sure, you`ve installed Maya 2008 as the following steps are based on experiences with this version.

  2. Download the latest plug-in from the website of Feeling Software: http://www.feelingsoftware.com/

    For downloading the plug-in, you have to register first. Don`t be afraid, they won`t send Spam. After registering you have access to the download area.

    go to: Downloads → COLLADA Tools → 3.05 and download COLLADAMaya 3.05B (Win32 + source)

    Please do NOT download only source as the 32bit-binaries include an installer (more easy to use)

  3. Run the downloaded installer and follow the instructions. It is recommended to use the default settings so Maya can find this plug-in on its own.

  4. Run Maya 2008 and go to the plug-in-manager: Window → Settings/Preferences → Plug-in manager

  5. You should now see the COLLADA plug-in. If you cannot see it, please click on Browse and browse to the location where you installed the plug-in. You must choose the

    COLLADA.mll file.

    The Maya.env file includes the paths to all available plug-ins. You can manually change this file instead of using the Browse button.


  6. Set the plug-in to „loaded" and „auto load" and save you preferences: File → Save preferences.

You have now successfully installed the plug-in. Go to the next chapter for changing the Export Settings.

Mac OS X Leopard

  1. Unfortunately it is not as easy as with Windows to download and install the plug-in from Feeling Software. The file they provide doesn`t run automatically. You have to change some entries in the script and compile the plug-in again.

    If you are no programmer and you don`t have any idea how to change the plug-in for your system, you can use following plug-in:

    http://www.nabble.com/ColladaMaya-plugin-for-Mac-OS-Leopard---Nvidia-CG-2.0-td15718299.html

    Somebody else was compiling the Feeling Software plug-in. I tried this out and it seems to work. So download this file and uncompress. I put the folder into the applications folder but you can run this from each location on your harddisk. It doesn`t matter.


  2. You find the instructions for installation in the file InstallationInstructions.txt or as followed.

  3. Please make sure to have Maya 2008 installed in the default folder which is /Application/Autodesk/maya2008. Otherwise the following script doesn`t run and you have to modify it, which again implies programming skills.

  4. Open the Terminal of MacOSX (simply go to spotlight in the right upper corner and type Terminal). A new shell opens. Use the „cd" command to change the current directory to the uncompressed folder and run the script by typing: „./MacInstallColladaMaya2008Release.sh"

  5. Run Maya 2008 and go to the plug-in-manager: Window → Settings/Preferences → Plug-in manager

  6. You should now see the COLLADA plug-in. If you cannot see it, please click on Browse and browse to the location where you installed the plug-in. You must choose the

    COLLADA.mll file.

    The Maya.env file includes the paths to all available plug-ins. You can manually change this file instead of using the Browse button.


  7. Set the plug-in to „loaded" and „auto load" and save you preferences: File → Save preferences.

You have now successfully installed the plug-in. Go to the next chapter for changing the Export Settings.

EXPORT SETTINGS

Change the settings of the Export Options to the following. These settings are the same for Windows XP SP2 and Mac OSX Leopard.

Maya2008: File → Export all → COLLADA exporter

exportSettings

SUMMARY

If you export a model you can easily try out your created DAE file. Just import this file into another 3D Program. I tried out importing my file into 3ds Max 2008 and it

worked very fine. Please keep in mind to install the plug-in first for this program, too.

You succeeded your preparation for building worlds for Mutliverse. But as you can read on its webpage, you have to pay attention on some restrictions while modeling your

assets. So we have to try out if our exported model really works with Multiverse.

Please stay tuned to find further information.