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Writing a max4 exporter.... O_O

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Okay, I know this a bit OT and all, but I remember posting this thread before and got some good feedback on it... HOWEVER.. when I searched for it, the thread was gone, so I''m putting it back here in the hope that I''ll get good feedback again. Basically I need to know where to START writing a model exporter for max4 (max4 is a pain in the ar$e to write any type of exporter for.. I cant even find out where to begin.. Maya was much easier for it (although still hard), but the modeller I want to use doesnt use maya ... he''s totally adept at max4 though, so I''ve got to write ANOTHER exporter) I have the max SDK e.t.c installed, and I''ve gone through some of the documentation.. but put it this way... the SDK help file... doesnt even contain the world "export" in the index.. so its not a huge help All help appreciated.

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Guest Anonymous Poster
Have you seen this site?
http://sparks.discreet.com/search/

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if you would like to use the X-Files format in your game, go to Microsofts web site.. They have an exporter that pulls the stuff out of max into x-files really easily.

just a suggestion... maybe exporting to x via this thing could make it easier to pull data out of the x-file into your proprietary format!

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*hugs the anonymous one*
nope.. I had NEVER seen that site before, but it seems it MIGHT have what I need :D

"Concise step-by-step description of how to write an exporter in 3ds max."

mwuahaha.. let the learning begin!

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........ it says in a lot of places about an appwizard... but I dont see any damn appwizard...
I found the appwizard CODE... but that compiles to .awx format, which I assume is called from inside max4... but WHERE ?

Argh.. what kind of stupid program has the appwizard inside the program in some kinda plugin form where you cant find it.. geeze. THIS is why maya was much easier.



EDIT: Oooooh of course.. why didnt I think of that sooner. Firstly you go into the maxsdk/help folder and find the ZIP.. then you take the contents of that zip file into the MSVC folder... then you use THAT to make the template.... how much easier could they have made it [/sarcasm]

lol... I hate max... argh...

[edited by - Cobra on June 1, 2002 10:51:44 AM]

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The appwizard is a wizard for VC++ Just unzip the file and copy the thing to your VC++ dir and when you go to new in your file menu you see a 3dsmax file...

You can select then to make a framework for an exporter and you can start working on it.

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*points to his last post* ya.... I got that much

Max isnt THAT bad to work with ya know, but I dont have a CLUE how to export bones for skeletal animation :/

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As far as I now your bones are just exported as boxes(or any other type)..

I have worked with the ASE format and someone send me a modified version that also exported bones. The bones where then just boxes with the vertex weighting apart from that..

I shall have a look at it and post some code if I can find it

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I found the following text on the sparks:

Bones and IK
Often useful for game engines is exporting bone and IK information. Unfortunately, 3ds max default Bones and IK system is mostly closed and we can only export minimal information from it. In general, 3ds max bones are best used via additional means, such as the Skin modifier. See COMSkin for a partial example of exporting skin information.

Since it’s non trivial, and we’re trying to keep this tutorial simple, we’ll just discuss some possible ways for exporting bones and IK information.

Bones are linked via node hierarchy. There is always a single base node, that is controlled by a IKMasterController. All other bones in the hierarchy are controlled by IKSlaveControllers. During IK solving, the system calls various Control level methods to determine the results on the IK end effector. 3ds max IK controllers computer the results, but use core code to do this, so the solution process is somewhat hidden.

And maybe you can do something with this links:

http://sparks.discreet.com/knowledgebase/public/support/sparks_legacy_wb/publ0u42.htm

http://sparks.discreet.com/knowledgebase/public/support/sparks_legacy_wb/publ5u9f.htm

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lol... that sparks site is so useful!.
Using their 4 how-to examples (none of which compile!) I managed to get the following done in the exporter.

Exports all geometry.
Exports all lighting.
Exports all texture information.
Exports per vertex data.
Exports per face data.

Even using their examples, I couldnt get keyframe animation to work.. I did exactly as they did, and although it DOES output the frame data for the scene, it doesnt actually output anything that would look like it''s tracking an objects position per-frame, so I dunno what''s going on there.


So far as skeletal stuff goes, I think this is a wall im gonna be climbing for a while (or at least trying to scratch through). What I really need is an example hehe (it worked for the rest.. I learned so much from their 4 phase examples), an example for skeletal stuff would be invaluable to me right now, but no-one out there clever enough to figure this stuff out seems to want to share hehe.

*goes digging* maybe starting a sourceforge project once I''ve got this done is a good idea.

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