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Better way to check an AImesh
post Mar 26 2017, 06:26 AM
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The problem with the current process of checking an AImesh is that it is very time consuming to generate a navmesh to check that that the AImesh, especially when the only error message is in regards to broken data. For those that are not familiar, the AImesh is the 3d model of a static object that represents how a bot will use a static. It used by the navmesh generation process. Eventually the AImesh will need to be tested by generating a navmesh, but using tools to check the AImesh to make sure it works first can save a lot of time. All the standard check in 3ds Max to include STL check just don't check everything and can still have a non-working AImesh.

Now, I was thinking that since Aimeshes and 3d printing models use the same rules (A clean model, non-manifold or 'water tight', non-self intersecting, all faces with the same direction, etc...), there should be tools to help clean up models for 3d printing that could be helpful for fixing AImeshes. After doing some research and testing I discovered some useful tools.

First of all Meshlab (http://www.meshlab.net/) is a free open source tool, with a lot of model clean up tools. It is not designed specifically for 3d printing but does have that capability to check models for a lot of the same issues as for 3d printing and AImesh creation. This is a good way to check the model before generating the navmesh.

NetFabb ( http://www.autodesk.com/products/netfabb/overview) was bought out by Autodesk in 2015. It is designed for working with CAD software to prepare the models for 3d printing. It has the capability to repair models and does a pretty good job. You can download a free 30 day trial and keep using the basic features after the trial expires, which includes the capability to repair. It will import from FBX format and import into STL which are supported by 3ds Max 9.

I tried makeprintable.com, which is web based and offers free model repair for 3d print capability, but the free version was over optimized, which greatly increased the poly count. It is best to keep the AImesh low poly to reduce the poly count of the Navmeshes.

Meshlab and NetFabb seem promising. I only just started looking into this after spending hours trying to track down the problem with a recent AImesh. The real help will be if these tools will help reduce the development time for AImesh creation in the future by helping to verify that the AImesh works before I use the editor. Generating the Navmesh should be validating the AImesh, not testing it.

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