It’s been a while… Some up-dates.Mon, August 29th, 2016 @ 17:46

Wow, is it really four years since my last post? A lot’s happened since then, far too much to go into detail, but anyway some updates.

I get a lot of email about updating my tools, especially 3DS Max plug-ins and Jed’s Half Life Model viewer. As I don’t do modding any more I haven’t had much motivation but I got the itch to do some coding again so have slowly started updating things for my own amusement.

I’ve tested the VTF Shell Extensions on Windows 8.1 and 10 and they work fine. I’ve updated the installer to work properly with these operating systems so you shouldn’t have any problems. As always, make sure you have the correct Micrsoft Runtimes installed (VC++ 2008 SP1) as well. I could have baked them into the installer but that would have made it a 10MB download.

As for the 3DS Max plug-ins, so far the I’ve got the SMD import and exporter to work on 3DS Max 2015 (and should work on 2016 too as their compatible) and I’ve in the process of porting the VTA export and VTF plug-ins. As soon as I’ve done that I’ll look at getting them to work in 3DS Max 2017.

I’m going to be following a general policy that I’ll probably only support the two most recently versions of 3DS Max as long as it doesn’t require me to maintain and entire new build chain. It seems that every other version of Max requires a newer version of Visual Studio and a code re-build. I don’t have the time and effort to maintain that sort of set-up as I did before so as newer versions come out, I’ll retire support for later ones. I’ll still leave the plug-ins for older versions of Max available – I just won’t back port any new features or bug fixes.

As for JHLMV and anything else, most of those need to be re-written from scratch as the original code was written way back in the days of Windows 98 and it’s just broken. Who knows when that will get an update.

Goodbye for now.Sun, April 8th, 2012 @ 13:59

Once again it’s been over half a year since I last posted anything here so I figured I should bring people up-to-date.

A lots happened over the past six months both professional and privately and as a result I’ve been pulled further and further away from game modding and programming.

In short I finally freed myself from a job I’ve been doing for almost ten years and have started working for a large multinational internet company. It’s big boy stuff and it’s a lot of responsibility and taking a lot of my time and energy. Sadly it’s not the game industry job that I’ve wanted since I was twelve but hey, thems the breaks life gives you.

Coupled with that I’ve found myself becoming more and more disillusioned with modding, specifically the Source Engine which had so much promise but just seem to of fallen flat on it’s face. Valve fan-boy that I am I’ve stuck with it but there comes a point when you look at things like CryEngine and UDK and you wonder why the hell you keep banging your head against the wall with the Source SDK. I could rant for hours about it but that’s just a waste of energy at this point.

I’ve also been forced to “kill my darling” by making the tough decision to step down as team lead on Ham and Jam and cease all involvement in the project. Ham and Jam is still going – I think – as I handed it over to the few of the team left. This was probably the hardest thing to do as it represents four years of work and £6000 out of my own pocket invested and was so close to completion. That said, it taught me a lot about how NOT to develop a game and also sadly a lot about being careful who to trust and who to let be part of your project…

So in conclusion a lot of changes and a lot of tough decisions I’ve had to face including the one to stop doing anything with my tools and plug-ins for the foreseeable future. I’m not saying I’ll never pick them up again at a later point, I just don’t know if or when that might be. What little free time I have right now is just too valuable to spend working on something I’ve lost the motivation and passion for. I’ll leave my site up, just don’t expect any updates for a while.

In the meantime I’m sure Canonfodder will keep you provided with Max plug-ins and I heartily recommend you check out and support the work Shawn Olson is doing with Wallworm which has replaced and in some cases exceeded the ability of much of my work.

Until anon, Jed

VTF Shell extensions update – VTF 7.5 supportMon, September 12th, 2011 @ 22:33

I had a bit of free time so I managed to do a quick update of the Windows Shell Extensions, specifically to add support for version 7.5 VTF files.

There aren’t many big changes but as part of an update/clean-up of the code I’ve re-written the Windows Vista/7 thumbnail extension to use the new API that came with those versions. Several people told me that they also run on Windows 2008R2 so I’ve now officially added support for Windows 7 and 2008R2 to the installer. I’ve also changed the version number to 1.7.5 to reflect the version of VTF that it supports.

There are still a few 7.5 version files that it can’t create thumbnails for but it seems that is down to a problem with VTFLib more than with the shell extensions themselves.

IMPORTANT: Please un-install any older version of the extensions you have installed first before installing these. There have been some changes to filenames and trying to install this on top of an older version will cause conflicts. The installer should detect and warn you about an older version but for your own sake, un-install the old version first. You can do this from the control panel under “Add/Remove Programs” or “UnInstall a Program”.

One final note. For Vista/7 you also need to install the Visual Studio 2008 SP1 runtime pack. Links for this are given with the extensions download link. I could of included these in the installer but it would of been a 11Mb download instead of 0.5Mb. :/

3ds Max 2012 plug-ins released.Sun, August 14th, 2011 @ 17:40


I’ve updated all of my plug-ins to include support from 3DS Max 2012 now. The VTF importer now also supports version 7.5 VTF files. I know a lot of people wanted them and I apologise for the delay. Real life gets in the way sometimes and takes priority.

I’ve tested them as thoroughly as I can but if you do find any bugs let me know. Remember to tell me how to recreate the issue you’re having and if possible send me the file that is causing the problem. No, I’m not going to steal your models – yes some people are that paranoid.

One final note – I’ve now officially dropped support for Max versions less then 9. Keeping a separate build environment going for that was pointless as it’s so old so I’m afraid no VTF importer for older versions of Max.

I haven’t added any new features this time around, but I have a few in the pipeline so keep watching this space. For now, just re-download the ZIP file which will have the 2012 included in it.

Quick update about Max 2012 plug-ins, et cetera.Fri, July 15th, 2011 @ 21:18

I’ve had a lot of e-mail and comments here on the blog about updating my 3DS Max SMD and VTF plug-ins to Max 2012 so I thought I should give you a quick up date. It nothing else it might stop some of the hate mail I’ve actually got over it. Seriously, to quote Wil Wheaton, “Don’t be a dick” – I do this in my free time and share it with you for free.

For anyone who has upgraded to 2012 I hope you kept 2011 installed as well and haven’t saved over your source files. The first release of 2012 is buggy as hell and if you don’t believe me, just check out the list of fixes for Service Pack 1. I seriously pity anyone who dived in with both feet. Even with SP1 people are still having problems, I know Shawn Olson (writer of the Wallworm Model Tools) has been pulling his hair out with the CAT animation system.

Anyway, several of the bugs in the first release directly affected my plug-ins. Some might ask why Canonfodder’s tools weren’t affected – well I’ve never seen his code but I’m guessing I use a different area of the 3DS Max API so he got lucky in that respect. I had a lot of problems with the SMD exporter crashing mysteriously and the importer failing to create anything at all.

So without much here ado, here’s where we are.

  • SMD Exporter – Recompiled against Max 2012 SP1 SDK. A few quick test exports seem to be O.K. but I’ve sent it to a few trusted friends to test it more thoroughly. If no big bugs manifest themselves it can go out.
  • SMD Exporter – Recompiled against Max 2012 SP1 SDK. A few quick test exports seem to be O.K.
  • VTA Exporter – I haven’t had a chance to re-compile it yet but there’s a couple of features that I want to add to it. Autodesk say the method I use to interact with the Morpher modifier is now depreciated and I shouldn’t use it, but the new one is a sample/use-at-your-own-risk. Nice. Thanks for that you $#!”#”%&/!’s
  • VTF Importer – The plug-in uses VTFLib and the latest version on Nems’s website doesn’t seem to support the new 7.5 format. I’ve made my own version that supports it but I’m a bit worried about causing conflicts if Nem does update soon.

Other stuff…

  • VTFShell Extensions – For Windows Vista/7 I’ve re-written the extension for scratch using the new IThumbnailProvider API interface. Much more proper, much more slick. Needs some refinement and it can go out for testing. Need to resolve the issue of VTFLib not supporting 7.5 yet though.

So please, bear with me. If anyone wants to help me test then drop me an e-mail but keep in mind you’ll be getting possibly buggy, pre-production quality code and I can’t guarantee it won’t destroy your house and everything within a 20km radius.

Loot!Wed, May 18th, 2011 @ 14:51

A bit weird this but since I got back from Italy game companies have been throwing a lot of free stuff my way. First up was Valve with a complimentary copy of Portal 2 on my Steam account followed up by a FedEx box from the US containing Steam/Valve branded key lanyards, t-shirt, hoodie and a bunch of Portal 2 posters. Thanks guys!

But yesterday was a real surprise. I got an email from Xbox support telling me that my MW2 edition XBox360 elite *may* have a problem caused by a recent software update pushed out via Xbox Live. Apparently it makes a number of titles unplayable and there’s no work around.

To be honest, I haven’t had much of a chance to use my Xbox since I got home (Still need to get a couple of achievements on New Vegas and Flashpoint:Red River is still sealed) so I hadn’t noticed any problems. Still Microsoft has decided that just in case they will send me a brand new XBox 360 Slim + 250Gb HDD + 1 year of Xbox live membership for the trouble. Bloody hell!

I was a bit sceptical when I got the e-mail and thought it was a scam and called them up but it’s legit and totally free.

Geek holiday – Achievement unlockedWed, May 11th, 2011 @ 21:12

So I just got back from my summer holiday in Tuscany, Italy. Amazing trip and a break I sorely needed. Funny though what inspires you to go to certain places and in this case it was a computer game.

Yes my girlfriend and I are a pair of gamer geeks and I really got drawn into the history aspect of Assassins Creed 2. I loved the little historical snippets, I loved the way the buildings looked and I really wanted to see it for myself. My girlfriend loves Italy anyway (she’s been several times) and had played part way through AC2 herself so there was no resistance to the idea.

So off we went, flew to Bologna (cheap flight) rented a car and drove down the Autostrada to Florence. Believe me, everything they say about Italian roads and their drivers is true.

We spent four days in Florence and made it a point to walk around the entire city and visit as many of the landmarks from the game as possible. Naturally the game doesn’t represent them 100% as they are today (the game being set in the Renaissance period) but it’s a weird feeling standing in front of an enormous cathedral and realised that no, puny human, you can’t free climb that. I did however make it up Giotto’s Bell Tower (There are 414 steps and no lift – as the sign warns) and was suddenly struck with a vista of Florence I suddenly felt at home with – I realised that thanks to AC2 I knew Florence better from the roof tops that street level. One thing for sure, there’s no way on earth I’d leap off that into a stack of hay.

After our 4 days was up we drove down into Tuscany proper and stayed in a small village called Strove near Siena. From there it was just a 10 minute ride to Monteriggioni and an hour to San Gimignano and it’s famous towers.

Our three days up, we decided to drive the long way home and rather than drive straight up to Bologna we went cross-country from Florence to Forli via the Apennine Pass. Wow. I wasn’t expecting a road like that. 30km of 90 degree left and right turns with no more than 20m of straight between them. Starting at sea level, rising to 850m (where you end up driving through clouds) and back down again. Sheer cliffs either side, fog, rain, slippery gravel patches and ominous shrines ever so often marking where people have died. It was nothing like the gentle gallop in AC2 and when we finally arrived in Forli, the entire town was close. I kid you not.

So excluding Vienna we managed every single location in the AC2 game, all the historical landmarks in the database and yet didn’t find a single chest or feather.

Geek holiday – Achievement unlocked.

3DS Max SMD Exporter Update – version 1.6.Thu, April 14th, 2011 @ 11:22

As I hinted at in my previous post, I’ve made some changes to my 3DS Max SMD Exporter in collaboration with Shawn Olson and Hunted Cow Studios. This is not a game-changing update but it adds a few features that were specifically asked for.

Here’s a list of what’s new.

  • Fixed issues with the options dialogue and added tool-tips to help explain features.
  • The exporter will use the name of the material applied to the mesh if no diffuse texture is loaded.
  • Meshes flagged as un-renderable will export their node but not their mesh. Useful for CAT rigs.
  • Keyframe only and Bookend modes for specialised animation exports.
  • Re-wrote the MaxScript interface from scratch. Example in the MaxScript folder.

Note: This update does not work with 3DS Max 2012! Support for that version is coming very soon. Promise!.

And with that, I’m off on my holidays. Tootle pip!

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 🙂

Yes I’m still here…Thu, April 22nd, 2010 @ 13:32

Err Hello,

It’s been over 6 months since I last made a post here. I’m assuming most people had assumed I’d been crushed by stampeding moose.

Actually since last August it’s mostly been two things keeping me from doing more updates – a new job which keeps me extremely busy and I’ve been working almost entirely on Ham and Jam which I hope we’ll be able to release soon.

Regarding the plug-ins and other modding projects, there are some things going on but a lack of free time has meant that updates aren’t as rapid as usual.

A couple of “ongoing” things:

  • I’ve been looking into adding XBox360 support to VTFLib/VTFEdit.
  • I’ve tested the VTF extensions with Windows 2008R2 (people asked for support) and need to update the installer.
  • I’ve been adding support for multiple meshes in the VTA exporter. It’ll make face/mouth cavity animation easier.
  • Still trying to figure out a good algorithm to try and recreate smoothing groups in the SMD importer. I’m thinking edge/normal matching and neighbour trees.

All the above are “when I can find the freetime” so don’t hassle me about it please.

Finally people have been asking about versions of my plug-ins for 3DS Max 2011 – just use the 2010 versions. They’re compatible.

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