Friday, March 21, 2014

Cinder-Assimp, VS2012, and Cinder 0.8.5

If you're in a hurry, absolutely need to get Cinder-Assimp functional, and don't have time to read my drivel...TOO BAD!  I kid, I kid, here's all you need to know:
  • Download the pre-built Assimp 3.0 libs from Eric Renaud-Houde's Cinder-Skinning block and stick them in Cinder-Assimp's lib/msw folder
  • Pop open AssimpLoader.cpp and change line 460-ish from cam.setFovHorizontal to cam.setFov
  • Shake your head sadly at the fact that I'm so desperate for attention that I took a two step process and turned it into the yarn below, which you may optionally read.  Yep, I'm definitely management material.(Optional)

    More often than not, when we need to deal with 3d content here in Lab land, we tend to use Unity as our framework of choice, though with dropping of the thermonuclear bomb that is UE4 on reality this week, that may be changing.  The problem, as you can imagine, is that sometimes we don't really need something as extensive as Unity, but we end up using it anyway because we don't have options, which leads to some really interesting design decisions sometimes.  Recently, we had a project that really only required a minimal amount of 3d content management, so little so that it would've been nice to be able to keep the whole project in Cinder, but since our content was skinned and animated, Cinder's built in OBJLoader obviously wouldn't suffice.  So we were stuck in a situation where really we needed the absolute most minimal subset of Unity's functionality, but because it was our only option, it required quite a bit of one-off development to turn Unity into something like a useable component.  Well, gee Seth, why didn't you just use Cinder-Assimp?  Great question...

...check out the big brain on the Cinder forums.

    Cinder 0.8.5 is an interesting beast, there seem to be quite a few interface changes from previous versions, that, if the dev docs are to be believed, may be re-appearing in 0.8.6.  This was probably the thing that kept us from designing with Cinder-Assimp in mind originally, the fact that we couldn't really get it to work.  Thankfully, we had some time to revisit the project and wrap it up, so I made it a priority to figure out Cinder-Assimp.  If you're a Cinder user, you're probably familiar with Gabor Papp's work, if not, well, it's good, and if he says it worked, then at some point it did, so I figured it was more an error on my part than the block's part.  Turns out I was right.

    First, all credit where it's due, it was actually Eric Renaud-Houde's excellent Cinder-Skinning block that solved the major problem, that of getting compatible libraries.  Sure, I could've just built Assimp myself against VS 2012, which also would have solved that problem, but hey, I'm lazy and am more than happy to let other people do work for me, although I'll probably be running a build of it myself going forward just to make sure I have it.  As much as I'm excited about UE4, I'm definitely not abandoning Cinder...ever.  I like to think of UE4 (or whatever game engine I use) as the infantry and Cinder as Spetsnaz.    Anyway, if you grab the pre-built Assimp libraries linked on Eric's repo for Cinder-Skinning, you can link the Cinder-Assimp samples against that.  But wait, there's probably one more error you might run up against...

...i know, i know, it's always one more thing.

    This..."fix", as I alluded to earlier, gives me a bit of pause, but hey, if you need to get work done, you need to get work done.  But first, consider this:     As you can see, the missing setFovHorizontal() will be (is) returning (here-ish), so my actual advice is to man up and work out of the dev branch and build your own version of Assimp, which you'll probably want to do anyway since Cinder is also moving to boost 155, so why not just build everything against the same boost?  But again, if that's not an option, you can just patch AssimpLoader.cpp to use the setFov() method vs setFovHorizontal() for now.  So to recap (stop me if you've heard this one before):
  • Download the pre-built Assimp 3.0 libs from Eric Renaud-Houde's Cinder-Skinning block and stick them in Cinder-Assimp's lib/msw folder
  • Pop open AssimpLoader.cpp and change line 460-ish from cam.setFovHorizontal to cam.setFov

    Now to finish up some prototypes so I can go to a Systema seminar this weekend and not sleep at the office.  Hopefully I'll carve out some time to play with UE4 as well, although, I had an interesting conversation with Stephen Schieberl, also of Cinder fame, at eyeo festival last year where he alluded to the idea that Team Cinder's been looking at game engines and thinking about how to bring some of those ideas, especially on the content creation side, into Cinder land, so...maybe UE4 is just a passing fancy too.  The future is exciting, my friends, go make something. the future, all UIs will be MADE OF CASCADE PARTICLES!!!

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