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Max, Maya, or XSI

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I am a c++ programer getting into 3d programing. I have a friend who is already getting into the 3d graphics field. I wanted to know which software would better suite us and our travels into the 3d game programing world. The almight MAX, the ever loving Maya or the holy sword of XSI???? Not taking into account the learning curves on them, just purely features and compatability with opengl / directx apis. and other things "game programing".

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Don't worry about compatibility. You can export your work into any format you want. All three of those programs have free cripled trial versions.

There are a few other programs you missed too that are cheaper.

TrueSpace, Gamespace, Gamespace Light(free)
Lightwave
Blender(free)

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How crippled are the XSI and Maya trials... as for the lower priced onces, i used to use truespace some years back, never did anything for me. But do any of the other ones have anything over lets say truespace and how do they compare to the bigger software packages?

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Blender used to be a commercial software package but became open-source and freeware. Anything you can do with Maya or 3D Max you can do with Blender. Google for more info.

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Quote:
Original post by kam1su2
How crippled are the XSI and Maya trials...


Truespace and Gamespace have awkward, ugly interfaces. I always found them to be a pain to use, just like blender.

Gmax and Maya PLE are restricetd in that you can't use your work. They save to their own files and aren't compatible with anything. (gmax has some exceptions, but it's for mod work)

I don't know about the rest. After gmax came out, they all slowly started rolling out their own 'light' versions. You can't do anything serious with any of them, they exist to let you try them out and hopefully buy them.

You should take advantage of those if you are going to shell out the huge amounts of money those programs charge for a single user license.

There are cheaper alternatives just for gaming related stuff, Milkshape, Fragmotion, Deled.

Expensive
3DS Max
Maya
Softimage?

Medium
Truespace
Lightwave

Cheap
Gamespace Light

Dead Cheap
Deled
Milkshape
Fragmotion
Cartography Shop
OpenFX

Free
Anim8tor
Blender (full package)
Deled Lite
Wings 3D
Old Versions of Truespace


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Quote:
Original post by kam1su2
But do any of the other ones have anything over lets say truespace and how do they compare to the bigger software packages?

Of the ones mentioned, Lightwave can be extremely convenient and fast with its straightforward approach to modeling and UV-map edition. (i think it was also the first out of the 'big guys' to introduce concepts like baking results of raytracing into image maps etc.) Well worth checking out.

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Honestly, any one of those three programs will work just fine for you. They have all copied each other's features over the years enough to the point where they can all do pretty much the same thing, in a fairly similarl way. However, here's my opinion of their strengths and weaknesses:

Max
+ Probably the best of the 3 for modeling.
+ More game houses use this than the other programs
+ Has a great scripting language
+ The SDK will let you do a lot
- Probably the worst of the 3 for complex character animation
- More expensive than the base versions of the other programs
- The SDK feels a bit awkward and the documentation for it is horrible

Maya
+ Probably the best at creating complex interactions between objects
+ Well rounded modeling, texturing, and animation tools(Not great, not bad)
+ The SDK is pretty cleanly designed and the documentation is decent
- No DirectX support(At least the last time I checked)
- The SDK is closed off in a lot of ways
- The scripting language is awkward and not as powerful as the other programs

XSI
+ The best for complex character animtion
+ Newer than the other programs, so probably cleaner design
- Not as good as the others for non-animation tasks
- Pretty buggy from what I hear(Though I think it's been steadily improving)

I have the least amount of experience with XSI, so I can't comment as much on it's scripting/SDK. And I should re-iterate, all of these programs do most stuff pretty well. So, when I say that one program is the best or worst at something it's not necessarily worlds apart from the others, it's just not the best.

Well, hope that helps!

-John

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good stuff... i'll try those trial versions or "learning editons" and see how it works out. Right now Maya is looking prett :-). Anything related to halflife2 might need a second looking *cough*softimage xsi*cough*

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From the interviews I have read from valve modellers they seem to love XSI

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