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OpenGL .max format question

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Hi All; I have 2 question about "*.max" format Q1) Is it possible to open "*.max" files with a program other then "3ds max"?(blender .. etc) I know deep exploration can open, but it uses "3ds max" to pen, so it is not a solution for me :( Q2) Is it possible to load "*.max" files to an OpenGL based 3D application without any conversion. Actually we have a game-like system and we want to use existing *.max extensioned files in our system. Conversion (converting "*.max" files to more common format) is not solution for my case. Well, it can be a solution but if we can open it with a program other than "3ds max" As you all understand, price of "3ds max" will increase the project cost. Because we have to buy lots of licenses. May be open source tools can handle this problem.(if its possible of course) I just wanted to ask whether you have an idea. Have a nice day..

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I have done a lot of things with several 3D formats and I can tell you with friendly aspects: forget it. The only thing you could do is to use 3DSMAX DCOM interface (I believe it's called like that) which makes it possible to load .max files but you have to have 3DS MAX installed.

So if you plan an application/game which uses .max directly, you will have to shipp 3dsmax as well, which makes no sense.

The Deep Exploration application uses this interface which makes it possible to access .max files.

What you have to do is to take some exporter plugins and export data from max or use the Export to .ASE feature, which is also detailed a lot.

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blender doesn't seem to support .max but it does support .3ds, .max isnt a very good format since it saves a lot of junk thats serves no purpose outside 3dsmax, you probably want a mesh file

gl doesn't load any files natively but you can probably find some free libs to do the trick

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Original post by codename47
As you all understand, price of "3ds max" will increase the project cost. Because we have to buy lots of licenses. May be open source tools can handle this problem.(if its possible of course) I just wanted to ask whether you have an idea.

You're basically saying you don't want to buy max licenses? There are a few free packages out there you can use instead - blender for example. Xsi is another choice, which is much cheaper than max (and better). None of them will open *.max files though. Normally you'd just export from max/xsi whatever into some file format to grab the data from (eg, collada, fbx, dotxsi, etc). It's then a case of dumping that data into a custom format for your game (and writing the loader since openGL doesn't understand any data formats). You can use libs such as cal3d to do the engine part if needed....

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Hi Again;

Thank you so much for the answers. Seems like there is no solution other than buying "3ds max" :( BTW I saw a program called "Alteros 3D" ( it can open .max files but without textures and most of the time with wrong geometry. Actually they say, "we are providing limited support for .max files" So after some try, I realized that this program is not exact solution for my problem. But thing that confuses my mind is, how this program manages to open.max files.

I think same problem exist in importing .max file directly to a real-time OpenGL application. Seems like it is almost impossible to find a loader for .max

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Original post by codename47
Seems like it is almost impossible to find a loader for .max

It is impossible to find a loader for .max files. The same is true of Maya and Xsi files. The *.max files will contain

- the INodes that exist. For example, a poly cube node with attributes "width", "height", "divisions height" etc. It will not store points and normals for things it is automatically generating.

- the layout of the windows when the file was saved.

- the selected items when saved etc.

- and a whole host of other crap that you either, cannot replicate without writing the entirity of Max, or is simply not relevent to even bother.

Max files have to be opened by Max. period. However, no one uses max files for games, so it's fine. Instead they *always* export to a file format that contains the useful information that they want (i.e. verts/normals/animation data etc). So, it does not matter what package you use to author your data, you *will* have to find a way to export that data into something useful. (use fbx for example to export data from Max and load into Xsi or Maya). Common file formats that exist that already do this (and have plug-ins for max/maya/xsi etc) are fbx, collada and dotxsi. Use one of those to load the data into a real time app....

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Ya know I think there is a trail version of 3dsmax (well there used to be), if you have files you must convert then maybe use the trial version todo this, and then start making ya models with something else. I recommend blender, it's opensource and free, and most importantly it's a great package.

Hmm, otherwise maybe you can open .max files with gmax, I think gmax is a free version of 3dsmax or something, dunno exactly.

Yep, just took a little visit to the discreet/autodesk website, and I think you can download the trial version here.

another edit
I just done a lil googling, and found that gmax no longer exists or something, and I also found that it couldn't open/import .max files anyhows.

Anyhows if you have already used up the trial or something, then maybe you could ask someone with 3dsmax to convert the files for ya? I assume you have files to convert anyhows, hehe. Maybe ask at #3dsmax EFNet (irc), or on a forum somewhere.


[Edited by - yosh64 on January 28, 2008 4:09:39 PM]

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1- Get the trial as yosh64 pointed out but do not install it just yet
2- Get Collada Max (
3- Get the FBX Plugin (
4- Get CrossWalk (
5- Get Any other plugin for a format you want to export to that isn't included in Max
6- Gather the collection of .max files you want to use in your game
7- Install Max Trial
8- Install all the plugins you gathered
9- Arm yourself with patience and export each of the files you want into as many formats as you may need.

Once you have your new collection of assorted formats, find a DCC package you can afford, import the exported files and work on them there.

The COLLADA format will probably give you the best translation/interpretation of data (minimal loss of features), whereas with .3ds and .obj you will lose skinning and probably animation.


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