Skeletal Animation Or A Decent Replica?

SephirothSephiroth Fayetteville, NC, USA
OK, I've got my game where I like it, and I now need to animate the models in my game. Sure, I can load up a detailed world, texture it, light it, etc etc, but if everything is just sitting there, it's not going to be much fun for the players. I have decided to go OpenGL ONLY because when the world was rendered in DX, the frames were so bad it was like playing Doom on a 386/25 or something. We're talking chop-city! I knew D3D was slower but I didn't realize it was unplayable at high poly-counts. Check out Morrowind. It's D3D only now, but the beta had a GL renderer and it was playable on down around a 300mhz system. Morrowind runs slow and choppy on my roommate's P3/800 with 512mb of ram and a GF4 in D3D.

Anyways, enough of my "I want performance AND quality over compatibilty" preaching :D! Can somebody help me out with animating models? I have a copy of GMax (by the makers of 3DSMax) and could use it to create models, but the format of models is my first big step. After that, I need to know how to properly animate them (I have no clue how to make all the triangles stretch and morph while a model breathes or attacks, etc). Whether it matters or not, I free all the texture, world, model, sound, and music memory when a player exits one area to go to another, and then I re-initialize it after the new area loads. I did this so that the memory locations would change each map and (hopefully) prevent cheating in multiplayer, such as wallhacks, trainers, etc.

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