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!
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.
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 🙂
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.
Got an email from “superaldo” over at the Steampowered forums telling me he used my 3DS Max VTA exporter plug-in to make new face flexes for his custom player model for TF2.
You gotta check this out. 🙂
Thanks to those who volunteered to test-drive the beta of my VTA exporter. No bug reports came back and all said they had successfully managed to get their face animations working so I figure we’re good for general release!
I’ve written up some rough instructions on how to use it here but basically it’s exactly the same as Cannonfodder’s exporter. The main difference is that you don’t have to delete a lot of stuff before export – just make sure you have the bones and morphed mesh selected and off you go.
Feel free to email me any pics/demos of any models you got working with it! 🙂
I’ve now finished a face-flex vertex animation (VTA) plug-in for 3DS Max 9 onwards and so far, with what limited testing I’ve done it works! 🙂
I’d like to get some of you guys to test it’s for me before I make an official public release so if you’re making character models with custom/new face flexes and using Max 9, 2008, 2009 or 2010 let me know and I’ll send you the plug-in for testing.
The offer only applies to those who know what their doing – I’m not going to teach anyone how to flex rig a model. The assumption is you already know how to do it but are still using Max 5 – 8 and Cannonfodder’s plug-in.
Oh, and in case you missed it I updated all my other Max plug-ins for 3DS Max 2010.
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.
Sorry folks. Not been posting at all of late due to some major upheavals in my life of late. 🙁
I’ve been getting a lot of email of late about my plug-ins and 3DS Max 2010 and the fact they don’t work – yes, I know.
Thing is, every time Autodesk release a new version of Max is means I need access to its SDK to recompile the plug-ins. I’ve been lucky in the past that through my professional associations I’ve been able to get access fairly easy but no-one I know is currently using Max 2010. As I’m not a student and don’t have the $3500 to buy a copy myself you’re just going to have to wait a while.
It’s also a bit of a task porting everything to new versions. Max 2010 requires Visual Studio 2008 which I need to run side-by-side Visual Studio 2005 and I need port and test all my code so it can be compiled and works in four different version of Max as well as 32-bit and 64-bit. As efficient as I try to make my code, it’s no easy task maintaining eight versions of each plug-in.
Oh and the VTA exporter – I got a very crude version working for Max 9 working which should be easy enough to port to other versions. It’s very rough around the edges and isn’t very user friendly but it does work – I used it for all the face flexes in the Ham and Jam player models.
I’ve been suffering from insomnia so I decided to finish up some changes to the SMD importer bringing it up to release version 1.0.
Changes in this version from the alpha are fixes to try and handle SMD parsing better, a “pre-parse” option to speed up reading SMDs by skipping data you don’t want and most significantly, support for importing animations.
To say I’m stressed would be an understatement of epic proportions. I seem to have so much going on right now I’m wishing the world had a giant “pause” button I could press now and then just to give myself a chance to catch up with everything I have to do. I’m starting to become a career insomniac and the pay sucks.
Anyway, I’ve managed to scrounge a few hours to look at bugs in the 3DS Max SMD Importer alpha version and I think I’ve nailed the most common one’s that people reported. I’ve also started on support for animation and so far it’s working, I just need to tidy up some code and wrap up some of the user options.
Unfortunately due to my workload I probably won’t be able to get the next update out this week as I hoped but there will be one soon.