3ds Max 2012 plug-ins released.Sun, August 14th, 2011 @ 17:40

Finally…

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.

3DS Max SMD Exporter Update – version 1.6.Thu, April 14th, 2011 @ 11:22

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!

3DS Max 2012 SMD plug-ins.Mon, April 11th, 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 🙂

Yes I’m still here…Thu, April 22nd, 2010 @ 13:32

Err Hello,

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.

3DS Max 2010 support for VTF and SMD plug-ins.Mon, May 4th, 2009 @ 23:57

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.

Yeah I know, I’m late…Sun, May 3rd, 2009 @ 02:26

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.

3DS Max SMD Importer – added animation support.Thu, November 27th, 2008 @ 02:31

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.

The next installment…Wed, November 26th, 2008 @ 04:18

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.

3DS Max 9/2008/2009 SMD Importer – Alpha release.Thu, November 13th, 2008 @ 17:36

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.

SMD Importer – getting closer to release!Mon, October 20th, 2008 @ 22:57

It seems as winter draws nearer my freetime gets less and less so a lot of my projects have been pushed onto the back-burner for now. Work and family comes first, sleeping second and Ham and Jam third as I just want to see it done.

Luckily this weekend was quiet so I took some time to do some more work on the 3DS Max SMD Importer plug-in and got the vertex weighting code fleshed out so now the meshes is actually linked to the bones. Now that step is done, the importer actually becomes useful and I can think about making an initial release at least as an alpha version for testing.

Up until now the code has mostly been mostly prototyping so I’ve spent the weekend refining it and adding in error handling as I’m sure in the real world there will be the odd screwed up SMD file it’ll have to deal with. I need to put a nice options dialog and a few other bits and pieces as well before it’s really usable.

So here’s a recap of what you can/can’t do with the importer right now.

Imported TF2 Heavy

TF2 Heavy in 3DS Max 9. Model on the right is posed slightly to show the skin modifier working.

It imports the SMD as a single continuous mesh so you don’t need to weld anything back together (like with the MaxScript importer). It doesn’t yet re-build smoothing groups but you can fix this yourself by just adding an Edit Poly modifier on top and using AutoSmooth or do it manually. Materials and UV’s are imported and assigned to a Multi/Sub material type.

Bones are imported and posed in the reference pose but it doesn’t yet handle importing animations. That shouldn’t be hard to do, I just haven’t got around to it yet. Vertex weights are imported and the mesh attached to the skeleton via a Skin modifier.

There still a long way to go and I’ve a lot of useful idea’s for features for the importer but for now, I’ll just be happy to get something out the door people can use 😀

Feel free to ask any questions.

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