SoftImage XSI dotXSI 3.x Exporter Plug-in for Milkshape 3D

When the original SoftImage XSI trial/mod tool was released, its import support was pretty basic and didnt support many formats of features. As XSI is the preferred tool for modelling in Half-Life 2, this was a bit of a problem as many people were transitioning from Milkshape 3D to XSI and finding it hard to port old content across. This plug-in is the result of trying to solve that issue by enabling Milkshape to export models in the Softimage dotXSI format.

Import support is now much better with XSI Mod Tool 4.2, but the dotXSI exporter is still handy for bringing content into XSI in a more native format.

What does it export?

The plug-in generates a dotXSI 3.0 format file, and imports the meshes into the root scene (this may change in future releases). The output file is broken down as follows:

  • Milkshape groups/meshes are exported as is
  • Materials are exported as per Milkshape:
  • Ambient colour
  • Diffuse colour
  • Emmisive colour
  • Specular colour and highlight strength
  • Texture and UV mapping
  • Vertex Normals (no smoothing groups)
  • Bones are exported as Null objects, but are not linked in a chain
  • Vertex assignments/weights
  • Animation, including keyframes


Note: as of Milkshape 3D 1.7.2 and later, the dotXSI exporter is included as part of the installer. If you choose to install 3rd party plugins, the dotXSI exporter will be installed for you. Thanks Mete!


Copy the files “msdotXSI3Exporter.dll” and “XSIFtk.dll” into you MilkShape program folder and start/restart Milkshape. If all is well you should see “Softimage dotXSI 3.x” under the Export list in the File menu.

You also require the DevIL image library but this is included with the current version of Milkshape and does not need to be installed seperately.

Known bugs / caveats

Most of the bugs from the first beta have been sorted out although the following are still present.

  • Texture bitmaps paths are relative to the XSI file. (may not need to fix)
  • Textures aren’t automatically set to work with their alpha channels, you’ll need to set this up yourself with shaders


Version 1.0 Release

  • Re-written to use the Softimage dotXSI FTK
  • XSI output structure overhauled (again!)
  • Added bones as null objects
  • Added vertex assignments
  • Added animation and keyframe export
  • Added plug-in options dialog

Version 0.2 Beta

  • XSI output structure overhauled
  • Exports Milkshape objects together under one model called “ms3d_root”
  • Each Milkshape object is now retained seperately as part of “ms3d_root”
  • Added missing GlobalMaterial, Translation and Visibility settings
  • Now uses DevIL image library to correctly report width/height of textures
  • General tidying up

Version 0.1 Beta

  • Initial Release

License / Disclaimer

You are allowed to distribute software on this page freely as long as it is not for profit and this documentation is intact and unmodified. If you do decide to distribute it, please let me know as I’d like to know who’s using it.

This software is experimental. I, the author, assume no responsibility whatsoever for its use by other parties, and makes no guarantees, expressed or implied, about its quality, reliability, or any other characteristic.