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. :/

Aug. 14, 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.

May. 20, 2009 @ 00:57

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 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.

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.

Ta-da! So here it is after far to many months of faffing around trying to find time to work on it.

This is an “alpha” release meaning I can’t be 100% sure it’s bug free and it doesn’t contain all the features I’d hope to add to a final version. Most noticeably it doesn’t re-create smoothing groups (it uses vertex normals instead) and currently doesn’t support animation imports. That said, it’s got a couple of nice extra features I added.

I’ve also made a small update to the SMD exporter plug-in to enable it to export vertex normals correctly. This is important if your just importing/exporting from Max without editing.

As usual I welcome feedback and bug reports but remember I can’t fix a bug without a good description and the file that was causing the problem. I have to be able to replicate the problem to solve it.

Thanks to all for your patience and apologies it took so long. Sadly real life and my innate crapness at mathematics is to blame for the delay.

Edit: Oops, put a wrong file in the archive. Fixed it now.

I made a small update to my SMD exporter plug-in to fix a bug in the batch mode that a user reported. While I was at it I used it as an opportunity to tidy a few bits of code up and port it to Max 2009 at the same time.

I’ve tested it with the 64-bit version of Max 2009 under Vista so I’m assuming it works under 32-bit fine. Naturally let me know if there’s are any problems.

Seems a small bug slipped through the net with the VTF Shell Extensions which was causing problems with VTF textures generated without MIP maps. I’ve made and update so you can download and update to the latest version to fix it.

In short, images without MIP maps were showing strange, interlaced looking thumbnails. There was also an issue with really big non-MIP images crashing explorer. This was due to the large ammounts of memory needed to generate thumbnails from the fullsize image rather than a MIP level. As a get-around for now the extension won’t attempt to generate thumbnails for non-MIPmapped images greater than 512×512 pixels.

Apr. 14, 2008 @ 21:30

Following on from yesterdays update of the VTF Shell extensions, I’ve now update my 3DS Max VTF plug-ins. These now support 7.3 and 7.4 VTF formats and I’ve included a 64-bit build. The Max 9 version should work in 3DS Max 2008 as well.

Sorry it took so long, but I finally updated my VTF Shell extensions to support the 7.4 VTF format as found in Team Fortress 2/The Orangebox.

The delay was due to both Nem being busy with real-life stuff and unfortunately losing the code to the Photoshop plug-in which meant a re-write. This lead to the new version of VTFLib being delayed and as so many of our tools rely on it, we couldn’t update without it.

Anyway, everything is updated now – Nem has released the new VTFLib, VTFEdt and his Photoshop VTF plug-in with 7.4 support and I’ve updated my XP/Vista Shell extensions. I’ll update the 3DS Max plug-ins hopefully in the next couple of days. I’ve also updated the documentation for VTFLib.

One new feature though that’s worth mentioning. Since VTF 7.3, the VTF format has added support for “resources” embedded inside the actual VTF file. This was originally added, I believe, to better support features on the XBox360. What’s nice is that developers can add any custom resource and data they might need.

This gave me a brainwave.

Often you find VTF textures all over the place and if you’re creating a Mod it can be a right pain-in-the-arse to keep track of texture assets. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some sort of metadata inside the actual file containing useful information about who made the texture, how to contact them and what game/mod it came from? Basically EXIF for VTF files.

Well that’s what we implemented. Using a custom “Information” resource you can now embed useful information into VTF files for TF2/Orangebox using VTFEdit. You have the basic author and contact info, your texture version number, what game/mod it’s for and include a short note. My VTF Shell extensions can show this info as part of the detail columns in XP or in the properties view in Vista.

So you know the drill – un-install any previous versions of the shell extensions you have installed and make sure you have the Visual C++ 2005 SP1 runtimes installed if you don’t already.