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!

Apr. 11, 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 🙂

I’ve now re-compiled my 3DS Max plug-ins to support 3DS Max 2010. Grab them while they’re hot! 🙂

The only change has been to the SMD exporter where I’ve added support for spline objects after user requests. I left it out on purpose to stop people using splines in place of bones or dummies in model skeletons. The reason being is that they are very quirky and it often results in the animation in Max not matching the rotation on export. They are fine to use to as controllers to influence the rotation of a bone or dummy but don’t use them as bones themselves. You’ll put yourself in a world of pain.

I’ve testing the plug-ins in the 32-bit version of 3DS Max 2010 but I’m assuming that they’ll work fine in the 64-bit version too.

As always, any problems let me know.

Thanks to users who provided good feedback and sample Max files to debug from I’ve managed to nail a couple of annoying bugs in my 3DS Max SMD exporter plugin.

The first bug was incorrect error warnings about a mesh not having Sub/Muli-Object material when using a non-English version of 3DS Max. Thanks to Cherubim Entia for reporting that bug and testing the fix. The second bug was the exporter crashing when a rig contained a lot of mirrored parent bone/objects reported by “ifO” over at Mapcore who provided me with a good description and a Max file to debug from. The fix for this bug should also fix the crash when exporting an animation backwards.

Thanks again to those of you who have reported bugs and sorry I haven’t been able to jump on the problem as quickly as I liked. Hope the updated plug-in fixes most of the current issues.

Aug. 26, 2008 @ 23:42

Blimey. Has it really been two months since I last posted something?

This summer has gone by really quickly and I’ve been extremely busy hence the lack of activity. I got to take a short holiday and went back to England for two weeks for my little sisters wedding. Apart from that I’ve been working like a maniac as we’ve got a product launch due for September at work which means a lot of overtime and late nights getting everything finished. 🙁

As I’m officially and “old fart” I’m afraid that after a hard day at the office I usually fall asleep as soon as I get home which means even less freetime. That said, what freetime I do have is currently spent on some writing projects and Ham and Jam. We’re going from Alpha to Beta soon and starting an aggressive testing programme so that’s going to keep my busy.

I’ve been getting a lot of e-mail asking about the SMD Exporter and Importer plug-ins so I figured I’d make a post here to answer some of the most common questions that people are asking.

For the exporter, I’ve been getting some good feedback from people on a couple of bugs but unfortunately haven’t had chance to address them all yet. The two most common are problems with material types in Max installed in languages other than English and crashes with mirrored bones. The language issue is solved and will be in the next update. The mirrored bones is a more complex problem and may take some time to fix.

I’ve said before and I’ll say again, don’t mirror bones in Max!. The most common mistake people is making is using the Tools->Mirror command in Max. This is the wrong way to do it and simply reverses the axis which is why your getting export problems. If you’re going to mirror bones, use Animation->Bone Tools turn on Bone Edit Mode and use the Mirror button. That will mirror them but keep the axis in the right orientation. For dummies you’ll have to mirror them manually but that doesn’t take too much work.

As for the SMD Importer, again I haven’t had much time to work on it but it’s certainly a lot further ahead that it’s been in a long time. Currently it’ll import meshes, UV, textures and bones although at the moment I haven’t set-up the skin modifier or looked into animation.

I’ll try and post some more updates soon, but in the meantime please be patient! 🙂

I’ve made another update to my 3DS Max 9 SMD exporter and have decided it’s robust enough to take out of beta and make version one-point-oh.

The changes I made weren’t significant but I did nail one irritating bug where it would crash if the diffuse texture on a mesh wasn’t of a Bitmap type. Once again Autodesk’s recommended 3DXI interface suffers an epic fail in blindly assuming the user has one.

Oh, I also removed the crappy “log to file” feature and replaced it with a proper combined progress/log dialog and compiled a version for the 64-bit edition of 3DS Max 9 as a few people asked for it.