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Jis

Tutorial for 3ds max plugin programming (3d model exporter needed)

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I need information on how i can do a 3DS MAX plugin for exporting mesh, animation keys, skinning, ... in a binary custom file type. (I don''t like ase and 3ds, max looks too complicated and uses things i don''t need).

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You have two options: Building an exporter in MaxScript, and building one in C++ that uses the MAX API. Of the two approaches, I very much recommend the latter; MAXscript can be an enormous pain in the arse to deal with. Unfortunately, good tutorials on using the API are few and far between. The Discreet registered developer forums are a good place for some help, but you should start with the API docs that came with 3dsmax.


"Sneftel is correct, if rather vulgar." --Flarelocke

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Ok donkey, thanks for help. Max script is not very ergonomic, you're right. So i must work with 3ds docs, ok i'll see it. But i'm always interested in a good tutorial
=° °=
( -- )


( Be Side )

[edited by - Jis on June 8, 2004 12:22:10 AM]

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One of the books of the "Game Programming Gems" (I think it was GPG 2, but not sure) had a plug-in exporter with sources.
I will check this when back from work.

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Ha ok, i''m very interested with it. This will save some hard work time understanding the 3ds max API and to give it for the game code programming.

( Be Side )

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I know 3DS MAX SDK comes with complete source for... I think it was a 3DS exporter, and I think there was some docs to accompany it as well. I have also seen a few tutorials on the subject around the net, so there should be info. Another ide would be to look at the sourcecode for exporters released by mod developers etc.

EDIT: Note, this was for version 3.1 of 3DSMAX (only went downhill from there on, hehe...), so this info might not be correct any longer.

[edited by - Xarragon on June 10, 2004 4:23:25 PM]

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I actually found maxscript quite good for testing things out and quite easy to deal with and it touches most areas of max that the api does with the added bonus of a quick turnaround.

May not be ideal for an exporter but i found it very useful for my custom material plugin since I was always changing it and adding new features, for example I started off with one base texture then added bumpmap support then added specular map support in the engine side and maxscript allowed me to update the material dialog that the artist see very quickly.

My exporter written in c++ had access to that script material in the normal way by giving the unique class id and since the material stores all the data in a string property the c++ code didn''t need to change, just the converter that parses material shader from the intermediate exported format so the engine can utilise it.

I actually think that max script should be utilised more, whenever it can do the job, it can be slow but if you follow the guidlines and use good programming practice you will save a lot time.

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I've also had experience with maxscript writing an importer for a 3D model format. It certanly takes a bit of getting used to, but once you do it's not too bad to use. The forum also has a lot of people there that can help you out. I asked a technical question and got a detailed responce within 20 minutes when I needed some help.

The 3D model format was a chunk file format, and I was able to code a recursive function for reading the structure fairly easily in maxscript, and the function calls to load the data back into 3DAMax were fairly easy. With maxscript, you also don't have to worry about recompiling your plugins with each new release of 3DSMax. The backwards compatibility for plugins has been awful. The documentation is the main thing I don't like about maxscript. The documentation of the syntax and the native functions was very poor. The same is true for the SDK though, so you're out of luck on both fronts. That's how it was in version 5 anyway. Maybe version 6 has some better documentation.

Anyway, I didn't learn from a tutorial, I taught myself the basics from analysing some existing import scrips I found. The syntax is fairly easy to pick up if you've got some good examples. I certanly didn't get a comprehensive understanding of the language, but I just wanted enough to write that one perticular importer that that time.


All that said, if you can figure out the SDK, it's probably a better option. If I could've got it working, I probably would have gone with it instead.



[edited by - Nemesis2k2 on June 10, 2004 10:23:15 PM]

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