COLLADA support

Software: Prefab3D

theMightyAtom, Sr. Member
Posted: 07 October 2011 05:52 AM   Total Posts: 669

Fabrice, while you are putting Prefab together, can I put a word in for Collada support?

I noticed Richard slamming Collada in his Away3D presentation at MAX, and saying the team won’t use resources on it, but I feel it’s just a misunderstanding of what the format is designed and used for.

Collada is used by major game manufactures to take game assets losslessly from one tool to another. It is not designed to be a runtime format. It is designed to be easy (everything is relative smile to integrate into your software for import/export purposes.
Being able to preview collada assets in your actual game engine is also a huge advantage during the development process.

The architecture is written by GPU architects, from a GPU perspective. That is to say it was written and is maintained to reflect the functions and capabilities of GPUs, so if your application uses a GPU, Collada will be able to represent your data.
It is so incredibly useful that it became an industry standard within months of being released.

Saying Away3D will not support Collada is saying Away3D will not fit into the tool chain of most game studios, and that’s a bit unfortunate.
I look forward to leveraging the AWD format for runtime, but for all the other tools in the chain, Collada is the common denominator.

Hopefully Prefab can unify the game design chain, and the game delivery runtime.



Richard Olsson, Administrator
Posted: 07 October 2011 09:46 PM   Total Posts: 1192   [ # 1 ]

A couple of comments on this post.

- We want to support COLLADA, but we do not want to spend the resources required at this point, because it requires a disproportionate amount of work compared to other formats, which are more useful in a real-time, runtime, Flash context. Please see this thread for a discussion concerning the effort and benefits of COLLADA support:

- COLLADA support in Prefab is a great idea (because Prefab is a tool, and it runs locally.) COLLADA support in Away3D 4 is less important in our point of view. However, once it makes it into one it will likely make it into the other. Still however, Prefab 2.0 will not go live for a fair amount of time, so don’t hold your breath. Away3D might have a COLLADA parser before then.

- COLLADA may have been written by GPU experts, but that does not mean that it is tailored for use with Stage3D. A lot of the data structures in COLLADA (and general GPU programming) require a lot of marshalling by the parser before the data can be fed to the Stage3D APIs (which are very limited in terms of the way data has to be structured.) That’s not the case for AWD2 for instance, which was designed with the limitations of Stage3D in mind (while open to advances to these APIs in the future.) So while we have never said that COLLADA does not work with runtime environments (which would be a silly statement) it is incorrect to imply that COLLADA is perfect for use in a Flash context.

- “Won’t use resources” is not what I said, and definitely not what I meant. We are an open source project. All of us have day jobs and we provide our community with Away3D for free, without being compensated (financially at least) for our time.  It’s not a matter of “won’t use resources”, it’s a matter of not having any resources. If we had significantly more time, we would use those to implement COLLADA support. But in the situation we are in, allocating that time would mean that we would have to kill or postpone a number of other internal projects that we think are more important for the evolution of the Away3D platform.

- We are not saying Away3D will not support COLLADA. We are saying that at this point we can’t accommodate this request. If you are working for a large game studio which desperately needs this, consider using the very powerful, plug-in parser architecture to create your own COLLADA parser. The power of open-source really is being able to extend your tools to fit your own requirements; saving a couple of bucks in the process is just a lucky bonus. If your studio really needs COLLADA, you could also help us allocate time to create a COLLADA parser by contracting one of our developers.

Lastly, please do not misunderstand us. We want to support every file format, and every feature that one can imagine, and we appreciate every bug report and feature request. But there are essentially 5-10 of us working on this project mainly in our spare time, and we have to continue to focus our effort on what we think will benefit the platform the most. Right now that is getting 4.0 stable and out the door. COLLADA support will have to come after that (e.g. in 4.1). You are very welcome to continue to share your opinions, and more than welcome to help us out through donations, code contributions or by contracting one of us.


theMightyAtom, Sr. Member
Posted: 09 October 2011 08:39 AM   Total Posts: 669   [ # 2 ]

Hi Richard. This is just a humble request to have Collada in Prefab, so you can get resources from any other software into Away (via Prefab) without having to write your own parser, which I’m sure you can see is a big enough barrier to stop most people even considering Away3D for their delivery platform.

Collada > Collaberation between Software tools.
AWD > Publishing to net as efficiently as possible.

Would you agree?


Richard Olsson, Administrator
Posted: 09 October 2011 11:18 AM   Total Posts: 1192   [ # 3 ]

Yes, I agree that collada support would be good, but i can’t promise you that it’s coming in any particular timeframe. However, I’m happy to be able to tell you that a community member has begun implementing it as a contribution to the engine.

All I’m telling you is that whether or not this happens before 4.0 is not up to us, because we won’t have time to implement it. There is no magical “prefab resource” that we can borrow, because prefab is developed by a single person, and if I know Fabrice he won’t be focusing on collada support for a long time.

So let’s put our hope in our community. If you want to help, Take a look at the following pull request and have a chat with Tim:


Alex M, Newbie
Posted: 11 October 2011 05:10 PM   Total Posts: 2   [ # 4 ]

3d Collada repository based on Away3d:


enael, Newbie
Posted: 13 November 2011 04:57 PM   Total Posts: 2   [ # 5 ]

I don’t think u can use a collada file ‘as if’ in real time application. an idea is to make a tool to convert collada file to your AWD. Or u can add your own attributs in xml node (such reference to your own datas files for vertex for exemple), the file will be still valid for any 3D appli.
Maybe something like pycollada can help.


Fabrice Closier, Administrator
Posted: 03 June 2012 12:18 AM   Total Posts: 1265   [ # 6 ]

Prefab 2 has Collada support (originally written by Tim Knip for Away 4 alpha). However the parser was not tested with many files yet. So if you experience problems, please send me dae+assets so I can reproduce the issue.



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