Modeling programs
In the previous tutorial, you can read about what you need in AW in order to get the 3d model into the 3d world. But you also need to have some knowledge in advance about modeling and texturing programs. Not every modeling program is suitable for AW. For some programs, an additonal conversion program is required. Programs can be easy or complicated, and can be freeware or expensive.
Wings3d   Blender   Sketchup
Anim8or   Kerkythea   Truespace
Used file formats in Activeworlds - File extensions :
Not all models can be used in Activeworlds : in Activeworlds, today you can only use models with these files extensions : .rwx .cob en .x
this file extension is used in Renderware, this program doesn't exist anymore, but with Notepad (=freeware) you can still use the Renderware commands, and you will find the commands in the help-pages of the Activeworlds menu.
this file extension is used in Truespace, the official site of Caligari isn't available anymore since july 2012 , so you will need to search to download the software elsewhere on the web (freeware).
this file extension is used in DirectX , this file extension can be used in several modeling programs (e.g. Wings3d )
There also exist conversion programs, which can convert the file extension of modeling program into a file extension that can be used in Activeworlds. Accutrans, Polytrans and Kerkythea are 3 conversion programs, Accutrans can convert into the .rwx entension.
Using models in AW
Some models on the internet have too many polygons and are not created for 3d real-time environments.
Creating a high-poly model or not, depends on the complexity of the object, the importance in your 3d scene, and the type of world you have.
Object optimalisation can be done by using this 5 rules guideline:
1. if you don't see it, don't model it
2. accomplish details with textures
3. count the number of polygons
4. curves surfaces should be moderately smooth
5. avoid too many subdivisions on flat surfaces
In this AWTimes, you can read more about this :
12. Using models in AW - venice3d.net/2013create12.html
Choosing your modeling program
Modeling is creating your own 3D objects by using a modeling program. Which modeling programs do you have ? On Wikipedia you will find a nice overview of the most common modelling programs . The lists are very complete, but there are always new programs or still unknown ones..
* A lot of modelling programs are too expensive for the use in Activeworlds. But several good modeling programs are "open source" (=freeware).
* Some 3d programs are outdated or too simple, some programs are too advanced
* Some 3d programs are made for other purposes (e.g. to make animated 3d-movies, AutoCad -> for architectural design).
Here we have a list of some popular modeling programs :
Truespace (freeware)
This modeling program was especially focused on Activeworlds : the file extension of the models is .cob and can be used directly in Activeworlds. The program has been made by Caligari.com, which has been taken over in 2007 by Microsoft, but unfortunately they had decided to stop the development of the software, and the program had been offered as freeware, until in july 2012 , then the website of Caligari has gone offline. Now you can't download the program anymore from this site, you will have to search elsewhere on the web for the download of this program. Truespace is still a popular program, and it still used by a lot of modelers in Activeworlds.
Version 3.2 --> This is the most popular version , you will find a lot of tutorials for the use in Activeworlds
Version 5.2 --> This is an improved version , and with this version you can also make avatars
Version 7.6 --> This was the last version that has been released , and is rather complex , you can find some tutorial videos on Youtube.
A disadvantage of Truespace is the use of textures upon organic objects. You could solve this by importing into Accutrans and there export to a modeling program which can do this better. Although you can use the .cob extension directly in Activeworlds, mostly the model is exported to Accutrans, where the file is converted into .rwx and where you can add some improvements on the object and also resize it .
Wings3d (freeware)
Wings3d is an open source program, so it is freeware. The program is simple in use. You can export directly into file extension .rwx , without needing to export to Accutrans first. And you can also export with file extension .x , which can also be used in Activeworlds.
A disadvantage of Wings3d , is that you cannot import .rwx -files into Wings3d , you can only export them as .rwx , not import them.
A solution is , when modeling, you save the model first with the .wings extension , and then export the model as .rwx. If you want to modify the existing model, then you use the existing .wings3d -file.

Fortunately, you can import other popular formats in Wings3d, like .obj and .3ds. Models with extensions .rwx or .cob and can be converted in Accutrans into .obj. Then you import theses .obj files into Wings3d.

Another disadvantage of Wings3d is that you can't do any animations .
Blender (freeware)
Blender is also open source and so it's freeware. Blender has a lot of version updates, and is also very popular, so you will also find a lot of tutorials and videos on the web. Another avantage of Blender is that you can do animations and make avatars.
A disadvantage of Blender is that the program is rather complex, there are almost no tutorials inside AWabout it.
Another disavantage is that you need to convert the files before you can use them in AW. A clear tutorial about how to do it ,doesn't exist yet.
Renderware (=notepad) (freeware)
Renderware modeler : this is the initial program to make models with the extension .rwx . The program itself is outdated, and the website doesn't exist anymore. But you just need a simple text editor : notepad, you type the scripts, and you save the file with extension .rwx.
The disadvantage is that you don't have a graphic presentation, you can't see the model itself : you only can see text lines with commands and numbers, and it is rather programming . However , in the help menu of the Activeworlds program , and also on the AW Wiki Pages, you will find all the Renderware commands. and how to do the scripts.
But there are quite a lot of websites with tutorials about how to use Renderware. And Renderware is also freeware, and remains popular. Renderware however is rather used to make adaptations to an existing model : first you make your model with a modeling program, and then you open the file in Notepad, and the modeling work is limited to adding some commands, which is often easier than modeling.
Sketchup (payware + freeware)
This is a program of Google, Google Sketchup has been used to make Google Earth. You will also find a large database of freeware models which you can download and import into the Sketchup program. There is also a freeware Sketchup program , but you cannot export the models in the file extension you want.. This is only possible with the Pro-version and it's expensive ( 495$), but you can also download a free trial version of the Pro-version.
The big avantage is that the program is simple to use, and you will find good tutorials. The disadvantage is that the program is rather suitable for modeling buildings , and not for making organic objects like fruit or animals, for instance , the sphere doesn't exist as a primitive. Sketchup can import AutoCad files. With the Pro-version, you can export into .obj (wavefront) and import in Accutrans. However , the database models are difficult to export : most of the textures need to be renamed, and a lot of surfaces are grouped , there are layers, and also often shadows, which you don't need in Activeworlds. So it is easier to make a model yourself in Sketchup instead of choosing a database model : just make for every surface (layer) its own texture (or colour), and in Accutrans you only need to add the right textures. Or you can import the .obj file into Wings3d and then convert into .rwx.
Besides the extension .skp , the freeware version of Sketchup also uses the extension .cda (Collada), Collada can be imported into Blender or into Wings3d, but of course , then you still need to exported it from there.


3D Studio Max (payware)
3Ds Max is one of the most popular modeling programs, you will find a lot of models on the web with extension .3ds. It is however a very expensive program (3495$ on the website of Autodesk)
FreeCAD (freeware)
FreeCAD is rather for technic drawing. FreeCAD is opensource and freeware.
Art of Illusion (freeware)
Open Source (freeware ) modeling program , the extension .obj (wavefront) can be used for importing or exporting.
Jpatch (freeware)
Open source (freeware ) modeling program , files can be exported into .obj (wavefront) and imported in Accutrans
Vue Pioneer (Vue d'esprit) (payware + freeware)
With this program you can make landscapes and skyboxes , but also models, there is also a freeware version which you can download : Vue Pioneer on the website cornucopia3d.com


Maya (payware)
This is also a popular modeling program , but very expensive . (3495$)
AutoCAD (payware)
AutoCAD is rather for technic drawing. AutoCAD is payware.
Lightwave3d (payware)
This program is also payware (895$) on the website Newtek.com / Lightwave3d.com
Strata3d (payware)
This program is also payware (1600$) and looks like the Adobe-products
3dCrafter (3DCanvas) (payware+freeware)
This program can import a lot of file extensions (also .rwx .cob and .x) , but with the freeware version you can only export to extension .pov . For more possibilities, you pay either 35$ or 70$. There exists a program PoseRay (https://sites.google.com/site/poseray/home-1) where you can import the pov file and export into .obj (wavefront) , you could try this out , and look if this works, then you don't need to use a payware version .
Poser3D (payware)
With this program you can also make avatars . The program is payware (250$/500$) . On the website of Alterlinks you will find a (payware)package in order to use Poser files.
Anim8or (freeware)
Freeware 3d program - import and export possible of .obj and .3ds


Make Human
Sculptris (freeware)
Sculptris works with nurbs, and you start with a sphere of nurbs with a lot of polygons. By grabbing with you mouse over the sphere you can reshape the sphere, but you can also remove and reduce the excessive polygons from the model. This modeling method is particularly useful for creating statues.
CloudCompare (freeware)
Autodesk 123D
3d-conversion programs
On the website micromouse.ca you will find the program , and you will find a large number of tutorials. You can import and export into various file extensions, and also into .rwx for use in Activeworlds. Accutrans is a more then a 3d-file conversion program : you can retexture your models, apply double-sided texturing, resize the object, prelight the object, make a sign or pict object, and make avatars and sequences. You can also reduce the number of faces (cut down verts and faces). In fact it can be considered as a modelling program.
Kerkythea (freeware)
On the website Kerkythea.net you can download the freeware program . You can import from Wings3d, Blender, Sketchup , 3dsMax and Lightwave (support of .obj and .3ds). This way you can export with .obj , and importeren this Wings3d , where you can export into .rwx. So in this way you can use .3ds objects on the web without needing to buy 3dsmax. There is also a forum for Kerkythea.


Cobdump3 (freeware)
With this program you can convert .cob-files (Truespace) into .rwx-files , so no need for Accutrans
Polytrans (payware)
On the website okino.com you will find Polytrans , but it"s too expensive for applications in Activeworlds.
Programs for skyboxes
Bryce (freeware)
This is not really a 3d-modeling program, but is used for making skyboxes, which are also used in Activeworlds . On the website of daz3d.com you can download a free version of Bryce.
Terragen (freeware)
Also this program is used to make landscapes and skyboxes and can be used in Activeworlds. On the website http://www.planetside.co.uk/ you can download a free version with some limitations (see website)