I've got an idea how to finally introduce tangent-space normal maps into wz engine without
changing model format.
Few years ago Vexed showed me that wz's renderer already supported smooth shading
technique. This feature is enabled only for terrain because its mesh has enough polygons to look good when shaded. Units have very lowpoly meshes( just cubes) and shading causes lighting artifacts on them, so it's disabled.
Currently wz without textures looks like this.
The idea is to add a new pie3 type flag that will enable shading on a model. If shading is enabled new models will look so, like all triangles are placed into one smooth group in 3d editor and don't have hard edges.
This shading technique will allow us to precalculate vertex normals to smooth co-joined triangles and could be used in shader calculations for tangent-space normal mapping(and many other good stuff).
-Artists will be limited a bit when creating models - can't use 90* angles.
-New models will "eat" a bit more triangles to avoid 90* angles.
-Increased loading time into a map.
-Will be significantly increased modelling and texturing time.
-New models will be much more detailed via normal map.
-Tangent-space normal maps are easily editable in 2d editors like gimp, photoshop, xnormal and others.
-No need in swap to a completely new model format.
-Fits wz's step-by-step development flow.
I want to know what do current coders think about this idea? Should we prepare a patch for the master branch? Is anybody interested in such update? I don't ask you to make this, just some searching.