Wavefront *.obj loader in C++

Josh Vega
  • Wavefront *.obj loader in C++ Josh Vega

    I'm creating a game using OpenGL (via SDL) and C++ (via Visual Studios 2010 Professional). During the game, I will be using 3D character animation. I'd like to use wavefront *.obj files for all the 3D models (with the exception of terrain). The characters will need to have fluent movements (realistic), with as many as 250-500 frames (for walking, running, sprinting, jumping, crouching, crawling, etc.). I'd like to use either md2 or md3, but the 3D modelling/animation tool I'll be using (Blender 3D 2.57) doesn't support either one. The game will only be running on Windows.

    What I need is a small yet powerful *.obj loader and parser that supports animation. It must be written in C++ and be usable by SDL.


    Alright, after looking at all the file formats that Blender can export to...I've decided to go with 3DS because it produces the smallest file format when I export the default cube. Thanks @Daniel For recommending 3DS!

  • Just because Blender offers you an exporter for Wavefront doesn't mean, that the whole animation will be exported as well. Wavefront OBJ doesn't know animation!

    On the other hand it's perfectly possible to implement a exporter Add On for md2 / md3, and AFAIK those already exist.

    That being said, as I understood it, you intend to store the full mesh for each animation frame. This is a very inefficient way to do animation. A better approach would be to just store keyframes and interpolate between those. Or even better: Implement a mesh deformation system that's compatible with Blender's animation system, or implement your own mesh deformation system for both Blender and your program. Animating simple whole object transformations is easy. Mesh deformations in Blender typically happen through the builtin Armature modifier, but it's perfectly possible to implement a own mesh deformation operator as stand in replacement for the Armature modifier.

    ATM I'm developing an export/import Blender Add-On that dumps all the currently loaded data into JSON format; either one big file or a single file for each data block. The main idea is to use it with WebGL (i.e. implementing a WebGL engine that allows to load stuff originally created for the Blender Game Engine). Maybe I can interest you in using JSON for storing model and information.

  • OBJ does not support animation, for more information read this.

    For a compliant OBJ loader, lib-obj comes to mind.

    If you want to home brew, and you can ensure the file only contains triangles; no quads etc, parsing an OBJ is arbitrary (its only text!):

            char prefix[10] = {0};
            stream >> prefix;
            switch (prefix[0]) {
                case 'v' : {
                    switch (prefix[1]) {
                        case 't' : {} break; // texcoords
                        case 'n' : {} break; // normals
                        default : { // points
                            float x, y, z;
                            stream >> x >> y >> z;
                            // put in a mesh etc
                } break;
                case 'f' : {
                    unsigned short a, b, c;
                    stream >> a >> b >> c;
                    // etc
                } break;
                default : {} // skip

    If in doubt, look to the specification.

  • The answer to what you seek is not *.obj because it is pretty much like a bitmap for animation (you can export it with Blender but you have to tell blender to export every frame as a single *.obj file [NOT EFFICIENT IN ANY ASPECTS], like a movie and it's frames). What you really seek is Collada. There is a mesh loader called assimp, and it loads like a million mesh formats (I am using it for my new engine). And what you said about *.3DS is not always true.

c++ opengl animation sdl
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