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 Post subject: Defining a standard format for interchanging volume data
PostPosted: Sat Mar 16, 2013 11:37 am 
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Hi all,

To my knowledge there is no good format for storing volume data which is supported by a variety of applications and voxel game engines. If we had such a format then it would make it much easier to build a content pipeline, and would also encourage the sharing of volume data through online archives.

So, I have spent some time defining such a format and will put some effort into promoting it to the relevant parties. This is not supposed to replace your application's own format but just to provide an alternative import/export option. In this sense you can see it as being conceptually similar to COLLADA for mesh data.

The main driving force behind the format is that it is extremely simple, and people should be able to understand it without reading the specification. It makes use of images slices, so you can view the whole volume in Windows Explorer and edit it with Paint/Gimp/PhotoShop if needed.

So, I would very much appreciate feedback to ensure it meets people needs and to establish which parts of the specification are not clear. You can see the document here:


You should be able to comment directly on the document or you can just leave feedback here. I've also prepared a couple of example volumes as this shows just how nice it is to view/edit the data with standard tools:


Thanks for taking the time to read!


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 Post subject: Re: Defining a standard format for interchanging volume data
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 11:14 am 
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Hmm… aren't png and jpg always lossy? You usually don't want your voxeldata to have any loss at all (especially in case of cubic terrain)

Other than that. Great idea @ standardized volume format


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 Post subject: Re: Defining a standard format for interchanging volume data
PostPosted: Sun Mar 17, 2013 7:12 pm 
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Thanks! Actually PNG is lossless so that shouldn't be a problem. I' not sure if it's actually useful to define support for the lossy JPEG format as well, but maybe some people have a use for it.


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 Post subject: Re: Defining a standard format for interchanging volume data
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 1:11 am 
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I will let the folks developing voxel tech in Ogre know about this so we can discuss adding it as an import/export option.

Is there already PolyVox data import/export code on the way, or should the data handling be done in a separate library? I vote for handling it within PolyVox.


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 Post subject: Re: Defining a standard format for interchanging volume data
PostPosted: Thu Mar 21, 2013 10:55 am 
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Currently the support is only in Cubiquity but I think it probably does belong in PolyVox. My main hesitation is that we would need an external image loading library whereas PolyVox has so far managed to steer clear of external dependencies. However, the stb_image.c and stb_image_write.h libraries are public domain and could be dropped straight into PolyVox, so a user wouldn't have to know about them.

That's just for png/jpg though, and I doubt if we'll support the .exr format within PolyVox. Or maybe it goes in PolyVoxUtils or something... we'll have to think about this.

I've added a task here: https://bitbucket.org/volumesoffun/poly ... at-data-to


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