I was just looking at the file types Blender can handle. I might be misinterpreting this, but does this mean natively I can export static meshes created in Blender and import into UT3's Unreal Editor, using say Collada (or Lightwave?) without the need for special custom ASE or PSK export python scripts?
Blender's read and write support includes these 2D and 3D formats:
2D - TGA, JPG, PNG, OpenEXR, DPX, Cineon, Radiance HDR, Iris, SGI Movie, IFF, AVI and Quicktime GIF, TIFF, PSD, MOV (Windows and Mac OS X)
3D - 3D Studio, AC3D, COLLADA, FBX Export, DXF, Wavefront OBJ, DEC Object File Format, DirectX, Lightwave, MD2, Motion Capture, Nendo, OpenFlight, PLY, Pro Engineer, Radiosity, Raw Triangle, Softimage, STL, TrueSpace, VideoScape, VRML, VRML97, X3D Extensible 3D, xfig export
If I'm not wrong Collada is an animation file type? Anyhow, seeing as you can export to Wavefront OBJ you could just get Maya PLE, wait a little bit for a new ActorX to be released for it, and use Maya PLE for exporting into uED.
Create the contents in Blender > Export to Maya > Export to uED. :P
But I've seen people talk about an .ase exporter for Blender so it shouldn't be necessary.
Is it okay to say PSK format is fine for staic meshes as well? That's my main area of concentration. PSK is what XSI Mod Tool exports for UED. I hear Softimage is working on a newer ActorX plugin too to support new UT3 assests!
On XSI Mod Tool last night was was able to follow a cool Noesis tutorial and made a sweet looking time bomb! Maybe later on I'll attempt animated stuff.
In MAX, ASE is fully supported natively, it is the MAX ASCII format. PSK needs an ActorX plugin to export (available from the UDN).
In Maya, you need the ActorX plugin (available from UDN) to export all game specific files. One plugin gets you both Static Mesh, and PSK/PSA export.
Now, if you need to create Static Meshes, you will need to export ASE files. ASE is the safest route, since it is an old format and well documented, and supported by the engine.
COLLADA is a whole different thing. In theory, it should support both static meshes and skeletal meshes. If you save a file out as a Collada document, and import it into the engine, the import process will figure out what type of data is in the file and import it appropriately, although, I have never tested the functionality of the collada pipeline.
It appears the PSK export isn't all XSI Mod Tool does. That was based on a test script from the UDN site I ran which exported that format. I wrongly assumed everything would be the same. With the newest ActorX plugin it gives you two choiced under file/export, both with the Unreal type symbol: "u Export ASE..." and "u ActorX..."
Here is a screenshot from UED after the ASE import from XSI Mod Tool. The static mesh (I made following a tutorial) is untextured since its just a test:
File/Export/u Export ASE... : (dialog box is titled "Save to ASE")
The "u ActorX..." appears to be for skeletal meshes but one of the option tabs does have a save mesh button.
Now figuring how to import the same textures into UED as used in the 3D modeler and apply it to a custom Unreal mesh the same way is the next challange!