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This topic contains 23 replies, has 7 voices, and was last updated by  gizmo 11 years, 10 months ago.

  • Author
    Posts
  • #4532

    gizmo
    Participant

    I was looking around for some sample models before I start working on my own and I’ve found that many come in .3ds and .max which I found abit confusing. There’s Autodesks 3D Studio Max, whose currrent version is 7, but what is the other format for? Is it for a different app or are there two files per model?

  • #24488

    Pete
    Participant

    I think 3DS format is a leftover from the old 3D Studio days, before it became Max. Its a fairly common file format for 3d models and can be imported and exported by most of the main 3D applications. It has limitations though and generally shouldn’t be used for translating 3d objects between platforms. Max will import them without difficulty.

  • #24563

    jediboy
    Participant

    Aye,

    a .max file is really the 3d Scene, complete with cameras, lights, environmental settings, EVERYTHING.

    whereas the .3ds file is really just the model. So if you wanted to export your character from Max 7 to a game engine or email it to someone who didn’t have Max 7, but had a 3DS viewer, than thats what you would do.

    Does that help, or clear things up?

    Also, as far as I know, Autodesk have come up with a new format for viewing 3D files, (you can download a free Autodesk file viewer from their site) to avoid all this import/export messing.

    -B.

    B.

  • #24566

    Pete
    Participant

    FBX format is the Daddy if you need to move scenes around between 3D apps. It comes with a plugin for Quicktime that lets you view your 3D scene and it stores extra data like all major NURBS and polygon surface types, keyframe and mocap animation, shapes and morph targets, materials and textures, lights, cameras, hierarchical information and character animation data including IK, envelopes and deformations.

    Its a great way to get around the problem of opening max files in previous versions eg. Opening a Max 7 file in Max 5, simply export to FBX from 7 and import into 5.

  • #24568

    Pete
    Participant
  • #24569

    jediboy
    Participant

    FBX? Is that a FilmBox format?

    B.

  • #24570

    jediboy
    Participant

    Oh, and will the FBX store the Modifier stack?

    B.

  • #24574

    Pete
    Participant

    FBX is FilmBox format yeah, it was developed by Kaydara for Motionbuilder AFAIK to allow import and export from all of the major 3D apps. Kaydara was acquired by Alias, and thats why its downloadable from their site.

    Apparently in terms of the stack it supports these modifiers – morpher modifier, skin and physique

  • #24581

    gizmo
    Participant

    whereas the .3ds file is really just the model. So if you wanted to export your character from Max 7 to a game engine or email it to someone who didn’t have Max 7, but had a 3DS viewer, than thats what you would do.
    [/quote:bbfed04b88]
    Ok, I nearly get you all apart from this bit. I should probably be clearer, I’ll be using MAX and the Torque engine primarily for this project of mine so in relation to that how do the two formats come into play?

  • #24582

    Pete
    Participant

    I doubt if the Torque tools will open a .max file, you’ll probably have to export the info from your max scene to a format that the engine can understand. I do hope its not 3DS!

  • #24587

    gizmo
    Participant

    Well the MAX / Torque issue was covered excellently in my thread about the Torque engine over in the programming forums. I was just wondering what the difference between the two files are overall, I assume each will be difficult to import into TGE but which one I should be concentrating on is my main concern.

  • #24593

    Pete
    Participant

    Max files are the proprietary and native file format for 3D Studio Max that contain EVERYTHING. It stores absolutely everything in your Max scene

    3DS is a limited generic file format which is pesky to use because:

    -On import to Max, verticles can be unwelded and normals can be flipped
    -Objects in the scene must have names of eight character or less
    -There is a 65k triangle limit on any single object.
    -It has a limit of 65535 objects in a scene.
    -It will store lights and animations, but these are usually orientated incorrectly when imported to other 3D apps

    .MAX files will more than likely not be importable into the Torque engine. To get assets from Max to your engine you will need to export the contents from Max to the 3D format your engine can understand (think its DTS or DST or something) using a plugin that does just that.

  • #24603

    Idora
    Participant

    a little off-topic, but anyone tried out COLLADA yet?

  • #24606

    maniacrobot
    Participant

    As in Pina? :D

  • #24608

    Greenbean
    Participant

    In short, Collada might be the one to watch because it’s not coming directly from any of the 3d Art Package developers. But if you want a recommended format that will do the job here and now, use FBX cause Pete said so and from an artists point of view (and this thread really was coming at things from that angle), it has been given a clean bill of health and should be useful to move that data around.

    It would be alot to expect any exchange format to support advanced application specific functionality such as the modifier stack (I’m talking about a typical 8-16 item stack fulled with “edit meshes” and what not). This is because that information is solely associated with just one application (in this case 3dsmax). Much functionality is kept within the application and it’s main save file (e.g. .max); and it can be illegal (and very troublesome) to extract it from those.

    Back to Collada (the dev/programmer viewpoint):

    Collada looks pretty interesting because it’s relatively games specific and Sony seem to be taking a good position with regards to growing it (holding the bicycle for a while, until the format gets some balance). They’ve got alot of the important art package developers on board, the momentum has built up and it may become the most important “interchange” format to support in future. And it’s very developer friendly – comes with tests, good spec and an API; plus it’s made with batch processing pipelines in mind; and it thinks about game developers needing to access the data. Not that it wouldn’t take time to integrate like any other format (ahem, cough). Finally I already see plugins for Maya, Max, XSI. These are really the things that make Collada good.

    As a comparison, .3ds was never made with these goals in mind. It was super proprietry, archane and obsqure. I’m not sure it’s legal to actually use it outside of 3dstudio. Lets be honest, it wasn’t even meant to be an exchange format, it was just the old format for early 3dstudio files. In short, it sucks and most people rush to use FBX or write custom formats. The only thing keeping .3ds around is the belief that it’s a good way to store and share files online.

    This is a good paragraph on what Collada is trying to solve:

    “There is a fierce competition between market segments: the DCC vendors, the hardware vendors, the middleware vendors, and between game developers. But all of them need to communicate to solve the digital content problems. Not being able to collaborate on a common Digital Asset format has a direct impact on the overall optimization of the market solutions.

    Hardware vendors are suffering from the lack of features exposed by DCC tools.

    Middleware vendors suffer because they lack compatibility between the tool chains.

    DCC vendors suffer from the amount of support and specific development required to make developers happy.

    Developers by the huge amount of investment necessary to create a working toolchain.”

    It’s early days and is still being spec’ed out with new stuff (or it was when I last looked). On the plus most of the important stuff is done and the newer stuff can probably be added into the pipeline if needed at a later date.

    Microsoft isn’t involved. This is bad because I would really like to see the future XNA get integrated with things like Collada. If XNA is a bunch of iffy proprietry formats and pipelines cleaned up with beautiful point and click tools, don’t expect me to recommend it (this may not be a choice – I’m noticing a trend where certain platform holders are making more demands on development which should really be outside their remit).

    Finally many dev’s may not use Collada because it uses XML. The why’s and why-nots of using XML can get religious – many think as a format it’s too verbose and ungainly, some simply disagree with using text files in the pipeline, others already have neat text formats with tools and parsers that they’d rather not throw away and so-on. Personally, I think XML is fine. If performance were an issue I’d rather install better build and dev machines.

    Anyone, please correct me if I’m wrong in what I’ve said. Ta.

  • #24610

    jediboy
    Participant

    First thing I think should be made clear to the person who started the thread is this.

    A Max Scene (.max) can be thought of as a world. In that ‘world’ there may be several objects, such as a gun, a bomb, a brick, a barrel.

    if you go to File->Save As->My_Scene.max

    then the whole world, with all the objects inside is saved.

    However, if you want to get the gun or the bomb, or the barrel out of the MAX WORLD then that is where the 3DS format comes in.

    You select your object (Gun) and go to File->Export Selected As->My_Gun.3ds

    So you open up your game engine, and it should have some application for importing a 3D object. Common formats are .X, .OBJ, and .3DS

    So there you go, your single object (3DS) is now in your Game Engine.

    If your game engine can import a .MAX file (highly, highly unlikely) then by importing your My_Scene.max file, your world will be inside your game engine.

    Is that making things a little clearer?

    I should also make the point that 3DS Max can export to many other file formats, not just 3DS. So really you should check the documentation with the Torque engine, see what it accepts and then export your models from your Max Scene to that specified format.

    Sorry if I confused you earlier…

    B.

  • #24620

    Pete
    Participant

    :lol: Phew

  • #24621

    lk_
    Participant

    Ok, I nearly get you all apart from this bit. I should probably be clearer, I’ll be using MAX and the Torque engine primarily for this project of mine so in relation to that how do the two formats come into play?[/quote:54ccd7e3a4]

    Is the project college related or just something for your portfolio? Just curious :wink:

  • #24648

    gizmo
    Participant

    Jediboy, crystal clear, thanks a million. Just want to get this stuff straight in my head before I touch anything.

    The project in question is my third year project for college, however I can see myself continuing to develop it afterwards so its a little bit of both lk_. :D

  • #24649

    gizmo
    Participant

    Jediboy, crystal clear, thanks a million. Just want to get this stuff straight in my head before I touch anything. Just one more thing, when you say the .MAX file is the world containing multiple objects..Say I have, as you said, a gun, a barrel and a brick, now the .max file has all of those in a scene whereas if I only wanted to extract one of the objects it would be the .3ds file?

    The project in question is my third year project for college, however I can see myself continuing to develop it afterwards so its a little bit of both lk_. :D

  • #24651

    lk_
    Participant

    Pretty cool, I wished they’d have let me do something cool for my third year project…. they made us do an online shop…..an online shop I tell’s ya!!! It took me 30 mins to do out the code…. :lol:

  • #24667

    gizmo
    Participant

    Heh, I never said anything about them letting me do it. :D

    Basically we have to send in our idea for approval before we start on it but because this is gona be such a big project I’m gona start on it as soon as I go back to college. I’ve mentioned it to one of our lecturers and he seemed to think it was a good idea anyway so fingers crossed.

  • #25356

    jediboy
    Participant

    Gizmo,

    Yeah you were right on the money with your question/assumption:


    Jediboy, crystal clear, thanks a million. Just want to get this stuff straight in my head before I touch anything. Just one more thing, when you say the .MAX file is the world containing multiple objects..Say I have, as you said, a gun, a barrel and a brick, now the .max file has all of those in a scene whereas if I only wanted to extract one of the objects it would be the .3ds file?

    [/quote:7f7046b6b5]

    Yeah, if you had a scene comprised of a brick, gun, and a barrel, saved in a file (MyProject.MAX), and your game engine (or application) was trying to load a particular (singular) model (i.e. your gun), then you would open your .MAX file, select your singular object, and

    FILE->Export Selected->MyGun.3DS

    Then your engine can load the model as it sees fit. You should also have a look at exporting your singular models as .X files, which many commercially available engines seem to support.

    Tu Comprende, Muchacho?

    B.

  • #25384

    gizmo
    Participant

    Gotcha, thanks a mill man!
    :D

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