3DS Max 2012 SMD plug-ins.Mon, April 11th, 2011 @ 15:43

So 3DS Max 2012 has been released for about 3 days now and already I’ve had at least a dozen emails pointing out that my SMD plug-ins don’t work with the newest version.

I know.

Almost every other release of 3DS Max changes enough in the plug-in API that compatibility is broken with other versions. That requires a new version of the Max SDK, maybe a new version of Visual Studio and often a good couple of man hours re-writing sections of code to work with any changes. For me it’s often more work still as I have a single code source that cross compiles for all versions and I need to know that a change for one version of Max won’t break the others and of course test them.

When will the plug-ins be updated? Well I don’t work a company with an Autodesk subscription license any more and an upgrade to 3DS Max 2012 + Visual studio will cost me about US $2500 – and who has that sort of money lying around? So we’ll have to wait and see. I would certainly recommend you don’t upgrade to 2012 if you’re doing any Valve based modelling right now and if you try the trial, don’t save over your files as you can’t open a 2012 file in an earlier version.

There will however be an update to one of the SMD plug-ins coming soon but only for Max 2011 and earlier. I’ve been expanding some features to the SMD Exporter on behalf of Shawn Olson and Hunted Cow Studios. For most users the upgrade won’t be necessary unless you want the tidier GUI or unless you’re using Shawn’s excellent Wallworm tool.

As for where I’ve been for a year?

Getting a new job, buying an Xbox, getting a girlfriend, travelling the world, working on other projects and generally getting a life 🙂

Responses to “3DS Max 2012 SMD plug-ins.”

Have you considered releasing the source code for your 3ds Max plugins? Personally I’d love to upgrade to 2012. Why?

Nuff’ said 😛

Posted by ScarT
Tue, April 12th, 2011 @ 16:25

By the way. I do have VS2010 and the Max SDK available, so I could give it a whirl if that’s got any interest 🙂

Posted by ScarT
Tue, April 12th, 2011 @ 16:37

Hi Jed!

Glad to hear news from you.
I am fully understanding your reasons about 2012 max plugins, getting a life is much more interesting and high priority task than rewriting code for new SDK 😉

Waiting for the upcoming update.


Posted by Tonkado (a[x]el)
Wed, April 13th, 2011 @ 15:12

@ScarT – I’ve had too many bad experiences with giving away source code to my work. A sad case of putting hundreds of hours into a project and having some little scrote make minimal changes and release and re-brand it as his own and not give me any recognition.

At least being closed source I can control it and, to some degree, guarantee some sort of unified support and quality control.

Posted by Jed
Wed, April 13th, 2011 @ 15:19

Hey Jed
I had a question about the way your importer handles smoothing groups.
They seem to import and retain the smoothing groups really well.
The only problem is when the mesh is turned into an editable poly object the smoothing groups disappear.
Is there any way to retain them and have a workable editable poly?

We have some old assets of ours that we have to modify and we no longer have the source files to work with, only the smds. The normal maps have artifacts if the smoothing groups aren’t set the way they were originally baked with. So at the moment it’s either create new normals or deal with the artifacts.


Posted by Jesse
Thu, April 14th, 2011 @ 06:17


The problem with SMD files is that they don’t store smoothing groups but explicit normals for each triangle in the mesh. That’s how I re-create the smoothing by using those explicit values.

I am working on code to re-create the actual smoothing groups but it’s not a simple thing to do and I haven’t had a lot of free time to do it. I know Canonfodder’s plug-in does it but I’ll happily admit he’s smarter than me. Or he’s doing some sort of ugly hack.

Either way, I am aware that the smoothing data gets lost when you change the topography type. Strangely in Max 2011 it doesn’t seem to happy, well not to me.

For now, sadly, you’re going to have to re-create your smoothing groups by hand.

Posted by Jed
Thu, April 14th, 2011 @ 11:26

@Jed ah! Exactly the same reason why I’m hesitant with releasing anything I make! However I’d still like to see support for Max 2012, so I’m offering my services. Is there anything or way we could work something out? I’m willing to go a long way to see support for Max 2012 in your plugins :D!

Posted by ScarT
Thu, April 14th, 2011 @ 18:48

Just saying, if you register on the autodesk website as a student, you can get the program for free.

Posted by yuui
Mon, April 18th, 2011 @ 14:22

Just a heads-up: Cannonfodder has continued development on his Source tools, including his import/export plug-ins, and released versions of both for Max 2012 (32- and 64-bit). So, if you need SMD support right now, his site is the place to get it. Personally, I prefer Neil’s version for the options it affords, smoothing groups or no. Looking forward to an eventual 2012 release, but I’m keeping 2011 installed until all the *other* plug-ins I use are updated. 😛

Posted by Tom
Fri, April 29th, 2011 @ 15:37

@yuui Well that’s not helping much as I’m not a student. I believe you actually have to provide the details of the school/college and course you’re taking to get it.

@Tom Thanks for the info. The only reason I haven’t made a 2012 version just yet is that I was on holiday for 2½ weeks. I’ve got back and got a legit copy of 2012 now so I can start porting my plug-ins. It’s getting to the point now where I’m starting to wonder how many previous versions of Max I need to support.

Posted by Jed
Mon, May 2nd, 2011 @ 19:31

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