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advice for 3ds max 7 + me (the noob)

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to keep this simple, i dont know too much about 3ds max 7, and i want to get into level design. Now my question is, should I just find/read tutorials everywhere, or stick to modeling buildings, and objects? I cant really figure out how to say how good (or in this case bad/noob) I am with the program, but from tutorials i've learned how to make a pawn and an apple. I understand how to apply materials and to add modifiers, and some basic animation, but thats about it. so, to clarify my rant, should i just keep learning how to make simple things like apples, hourglasses, chess pieces ect, or should i look for tutorials on making buildings? ill stop rambling now

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1) Level design and environment art creation aren't the same thing. You don't generally create levels in a package like Max, you use a level editor like Hammer, UnreaEd, the Warcraft World Editor, etc.

2) Head over to 3buzz.com and watch all of their Max videos. You'll learn a lot about the foundations of working with Max and create some fun stuff along the way. If you want to make great environmental art, then you'll need to get a very strong foundation under your belt.

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Uhmm... did you miss my first point? I listed off several level editors. They generally come with the games. UnrealEd comes with Unreal Tournament (and several other Unreal engine based games), Hammer comes with Half-life 2, World Editor comes with Warcraft, etc.

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okay well think you're overestimating my knowledge because my searching of 3dbuzz for level editors came to no results. yes i did see the forums to discuss the games/level editing ect, which is where my luck ran dry.


ps- gotta start somewhere as a complete moron :-)
ps that matters - i currently cant buy anything so free is my number 1 priority

thanks for your help tho

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Good free level editors don't exist. Like I said, they come with games, so you'd have to buy the game.

Levels are constructed for specific game engines. It isn't like with a 3d model where you just export it to the right format. Game levels are built from the ground up for a specific game engine with that specific game's level editor.

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likze zer0wolf has said, you have to buy some game to get an editor.

they aren't expensive pieces of software, you can pick up a copy of neverwinter nights 1 for something like £15 nowadays, and the NWN mod tool is quite highly regarded.

there isn't "a" tool to use or buy, you just have to be familiar with how the tools work for each game individually. if you want to get into level design one of the best things you can do is write a few modules for NWN or another game and get recognised as someone who can use the tools to build interesting and well written scripts.


in short, get Neverwinter Nights, or perhaps morrowind or oblivion (elder scrolls III and IV, though I think their editors are a little harder to use). warcraft 3 is a posability too (like NWN it's low spec and goes for quite cheap nowadays).

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Quote:
Original post by zer0wolf
Good free level editors don't exist. Like I said, they come with games, so you'd have to buy the game.

Good free editors do exist. Perhaps not many and not for the more recent games, but they're out there. Hammer 3.4 - used for Half-Life and it's mods - it still freely available, and so are Quark and Radiant - that support a variety of FPS games. However, I agree, the better ones usually come with games, and it surely helps to have a game around in which you can test your levels. :)

Some companies actually do use 3DS Max or a similar modelling tool for their levels, often combined with some custom plugins. It depends on what game you're working on. For some, 3DS Max will suffice, and for others, a specific level-editor is a far better choice.


As for level-design, it depends on what you want. Do you want to create the environments, or set up the gameplay elements (or both)? Also, what sort of games would you like to design levels for? Once you know that, get a game in that genre and start building some levels.

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