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. :/

I’ve taken some time to do a small update to my 3D Studio Max SMD export plug-in and have nailed (I think) one bug and added a couple of user-requested features.

To start off the additions include support for exporting HL1 format unweighted SMD files. I underestimated how many people out there were using Max 9 and still modelling for Goldsrc games so per request I added the option to export files in the old format.

The second addition is a crude but useable “batch mode” which lets you configure and call the plug-in from Maxscript. One user had all their animations in one continuous sequence and was looking for a way to batch export them by specifying specific ranges. It’s fairly simple to use and I’ve included a basic example Maxscript in the ZIP file.

As for the bug, you may recall in previous blog posts that I was having considerable problems with Export Selected. After a lot of debugging and tracing I *think* I’ve nailed the problem. Certainly under the tests I’ve done you can now select part of a chain of bones and it will export and not lose position or destroy the animation. As always these things have a habit of blowing up in my face so I’ve retained the link to the old version of the exporter just in case people need to roll-back.

I’ve also marked this version as for 3D Studio Max 2008 too as users reported that it worked fine in both Max 9 and 2008 without problems.

I’m still getting e-mail/MSNs regarding problems with old Max 8 rigs that don’t work quite right with this exporter. In 99% of all cases it’s been simply been down to shoddy rig construction. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, when you mirror part of your rig, reset the transforms before you use it! It really messes up the 3D transformation matrices and while the code tries to fix it, it’s not that clever. Oh and please, stop trying to use splines as bone nodes…