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Building an exporter for 3DS Max

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I am curious to know how I would go about to build an exporter for 3DS Max (I have version 9, but would it to be supported on versions 5 through 8 as well). I've tried searching the Internet for some tutorial on it, but I have found nothing. Where can I find some information and/or tutorials on this?

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Generally speaking, it's a pain in the ar*e.... The two ways you can go about this are to either

1. use IGame in the Max SDK.
2. use the SDK directly.
3. Just use collada or the FBX SDK.

For method 2, take a look at the ase exporter source included with the devkit. It's not too bad to expand that example to fit your needs. The IGame interface is ok, but i found a few bugs with it, and i also couldn't use it to export all of the info i needed, so i just went with method 2....

There are very few tutorials around that are any good, however david lanier has been kind enough to write an intro tutorial to the SDK: link. You might also find some useful info in the Collada or ogre sources.

You will hit a fair number of problems with the Max SDK where it becomes very hard to find out how to get hold of some of the more obscure bits of info that you might need. I must admit i found asking my colleague who used to work on 3DS max the best way of sorting these problems out. uhm, obviously not going to be too much help for you though...

As for the different Max versions, you'll have to re-compile against the SDK's for version 5 upwards. You may find that this becomes a problem if you don't have the installers available, and bear in mind that some functionality you require may only be available in the later versions.

Anyhow, as a final note, I've worked with all the major 3D packages, and the Max SDK is far harder to use than Maya and XSI. If you can use those, i'd probably recommend it...

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