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Racer DOF exporter plugin for 3DS Max

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I could, but I would need the Max2012 SDK for that. Damn Autodesk releasing a new Max version every year. Can't you just use Max 2010 or something?
 
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This is where having it as a maxscript might be more useful in the longer run?

Bit daft that Max won't run plugins for older versions in a compatibility mode or something.

Dave
 
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Just wondering, does this plugin take into account the system and max unit scales?

Just building a scene here with system unit in cm, and Max display in metres, and the export looks about 100x too big.

So I'm guessing this plugin needs you to run system units at 1m to work properly?

Ie, if I draw a box 10m x 10m x 10m, it's actually 1000cm, or 1000 system units in size, and so exports at 1000m x 1000m x 1000m.


Would it make sense to correctly adjust the scales when exporting... or better yet, a 'scale' input box in the export dialogue so you can correct for these things in a convenient and fool-proof way?

Since there is no point forcing people to follow a given workflow, it makes sense to leave this flexible rather than hard-coding a scaling based on their chosen settings.

Ie, some people may leave unit default at inches, and build in generic units and see them as metres any way... so hard-coding a conversion would hurt them as everything would be appearing much smaller hehe.


Can we have a factor please Some1?


I changed my workflow to use real units and now I'm being punished haha.

PS, spinners are less accurate in metre unit size, hence me using cm size for most things like cars/track items etc...
Even if you run metre units and cm display spinners snap to much bigger values straight away (ie, running bevels or chamfers etc)

Ultimately that is a problem with Max operation imo, but for now I would think a default but adjustable export factor would make the most sense for this tool! :D


Cheers

Dave
 
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Just wondering, does this plugin take into account the system and max unit scales?

No, it does not take it into account. It expects 1.0 unit in Max to be 1.0 unit in DOF.

I've always worked with millimeters. That way its very easy to set up blueprint for examples, since the car dimensions are usually in mm too.
 
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So if you run Max units of mm, then your system unit scale must be metres for that workflow to work...?

Ie, Max just multiplies all values by 1000 to transform from metres to display mm values.



That is pretty limiting because it means whatever you use you are modelling in the range of ~ 0-10 max system units to get 0-10 metres in Racer... that is really small and all the spinners are approaching useless when you get down to offsets like 1mm or something (ie, 0.001m)


Is it difficult to add a scale variable on the export panel?


Actually using 3DS Max properly results in this exporter not working correctly. I can see you maybe using metres for a track, but for a car it really isn't playing into the scene scale.

Things like viewport culling start to be a problem (ie, you have to pull it right back)

Using metre system and mm Max units means the default chamfer step size is not even working at the sizes you'd want to control a chamfer.

Ie, 3mm or 2mm chamfer gives no difference in the viewport at all. That is a fine chamfer I'll admit, but the fact the 3mm chamfer is 50% bigger and Max doesn't even see it is not ideal!



Building a car in metres is just not a good idea it seems... even though the Max units are mm, it's really just multiplied every number you see by 1000, not given you 1000x more accuracy :( (a fundamental flaw in my view, but this is the way Max works and so we have to work with it I guess)


So I still stand by my idea that working in cm is best for cars, then going via ASE > modeller, doing the /100 scaling and working from there. You can keep meshes separate which smooths workflow and non-linear workflow possibilties, and when you export via ASE it connects them to one DOF too.

For tracks then metres is more acceptable as a unit I suppose, but still, if you are building small props I'd prefer cm (currently make them elsewhere and import/scale as appropriate for export)


I still love this plugin because it's fast for tracks, but it's limited for cars still on my recent findings with this.

Yes I could merge my meshes right before export, and scale it down, but then it's no faster than going via ase/modeller.

Surely just adding a scale variable would be super easy and allow authors to be flexible with the tool, rather than forcing them to follow specific and possibly not ideal workflows?




Cheers

Dave
 
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Dave, I'm not sure about that... perhaps there is something else wrong. Personally, I have had no problems modeling small chamfers (but less than 1mm is probably useless anyway?) or whatnot. I cannot check my 3ds max settings right now, but I remember the spinners displaying mm, yes. Also, I have almost never used the spinner increments, only inserted values directly...
 
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Yeah I'd be interested to know your unit settings...

Generally as the actual unit scale gets smaller (sub 1 unit) things don't seem to play as nice. Ie, graphite tools can start to be a bit notchy too.


Just draw a 1m (1000mm) box with your settings, select an edge and chamfer it, the default on mine was a 1m chamfer haha... set it to 3 or 2 mm and I had no difference in the applied chamfer.

In practice you might not notice it but Max is obviously hitting some kind of limits due to very small values being used extensively.

Ie, it seems that Max is more friendly when your system unit size is perhaps more appropriate to what you are making, with the max units being set for convenient scaling between projects.



Is the scaling something that could be easily added? I think it would be useful.


That said I wonder how max and skinned objects work in this regard. I guess you have to build in metres?? I know that boned/rigged items can often break when scaled etc.

Anyone tried scaling a boned/rigged Racer model/skeleton?!

Dave
 
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Ahah, well now I remember, that indeed some problems appeared when chamfering. If I wanted to change the chamfer by a small amount, it wouldn't change, just as you mentioned. The workaround for me was to change the chamfer 10 mm + delta units and then change back 10 mm. That is, if I wanted to change the chamfer from 1 mm to 2mm, I needed to change it to 12 mm and then subtract 10... or something like that :D

Well, I guess I was just too lazy to fix the unit setup, since that was a rare problem.

If I remember correctly (and I might as well not :)), official rFactor tools for 3ds max also needed to work in some certain unit setup.
 
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Well, I had imagined that your script would just check the units and scale appropriately.

Ie, if I use system of mm, and max of metres, then that would be all sorted at export time.


Or just offer up a scaling dialogue box, hehehe :D

I was just thinking, you could always model 100x bigger and just scale all your DOF in car.ini... bit messy but it'd work! (not sure if that costs GPU performance though, hmmmm...)

Dave
 
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Hm, well the exporter is c++ plugin, so a float is a float and I have no idea what the units are. I need to look into what kind of information about the units the 3ds max SDK provides.

I don't think we should scale too much, we could end up with a real mess eventually, having so many scaling everywhere.

For me, it feels natural to build the car and track in the same scale and not worry about which one to scale and how much.
 
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This is my units setup in max:
 

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Yeah.

Scaling is probably ok if you do it once, but scaling down and then up dramatically might see rounding errors on co-ords becoming visible! Up isn't gonna do anything bad, down will maybe see some rounding of co-ords but everything right now is in metres and looks fine, so I can't imagine the rounding we'd see would be visible on 99.9% of models!


Basically I find cm scale ideal for cars for sure, interior elements can be pretty fine and it's nice to have lots of control... for tracks it's less important so metres are ok there, so your tool works ok for tracks again there.


If you use the right units we have no problems. Ie, create a car in system units cm, and a road in system units m, and they import properly next to each other.
Ie, Max see's what scale it is and scales it at import/merge properly.

If your plugin simply looks at system units, and scales back to metres, that is all it needs to do.


If you can automate the calculation then great, but I still think for people who set things up wrong (for whatever reason), the scale factor is easier.
Anyone who doesn't know what they are doing can then be saved, and people knowing what they are doing will easily know the correct scale factor to use :D



In Max doing merging/exporting etc, clearly units are adhered to, so you can set system units to what is appropriate, model it, and then merge it elsewhere.

I suppose the nearest equivalent for cars is to model with system units mm say, then create a new scene in metres, merge the car (it'd get scaled down 1000x), and there you have it, car ready for export.

Indeed I guess I could macroscript that kinda function to create a merged mesh from selected objects, save selected to a new file, open that file, and then I just press export.


BUT, I'd prefer to just press a button in your plugin that merged selection and exported with a scale variable (default 1.0) :D :D


Not super elegant no, but it just works...

Dave
 
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Wait a minute, doesn't 3ds max enable you to scale the whole scene? I mean, when I open another 3ds max file that has different units set up, it asks me if I just want to convert to the current units and whether to scale the scene or not?
 
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Yeah you can do.

You can start a new scene in metres system units, and import the car made in cm system units for example, and it'll auto-convert in that instance.

If you do the other one where you change system units then open the file with different system units you can have it re-scale to your current units or load with the files units.
However, this option can be hard to understand what is actually going on I find, depending on what the units were in that file.
If you know explicitly that the units are correct great, but if not then you'll just get what Max decides you need (not ideal)
Better to load that file, see what the existing units are, if they are wrong then work out the correction factors etc.

You can do some weird and wonderful scale corrections by setting unit sizes differently and then loading another and letting it correct to the current system unit scale... ie, getting inches into metres system unit scale but not then getting a miniature model... doing it so that you convert the inches absolute value into metres absolute values.

It all gets messy a bit if you built in the wrong units haha...


In any case, there *are* workarounds, but they are slow when developing. Ie, you want to export many times in one hour as you tweak shaders or geometry etc... having to re-scale scenes from the ideal editing units into metres for each export is tedious.


Again, not so bad for tracks as you can work in metre system units, but for cars it still leaves this tool redundant in my workflow which is sad.

All it needs is combine models and scale boxes. No we shouldn't need them in an ideal world, but since when was developing any game content ideal :D


I look forward to them if you add them next time you make some changes/updates to the plugin :D

Dave
 
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Wait a minute, doesn't 3ds max enable you to scale the whole scene? I mean, when I open another 3ds max file that has different units set up, it asks me if I just want to convert to the current units and whether to scale the scene or not?

Some1 can you please send me a copy of this exporter for 3DSMax 2011, thank you so much! I have sent you my email in messages.

Thanks
 
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Thanks very much for this plugin, great stuff. Works fine for me on win7 x64 with 3ds 2010 x64.

Any tips for finding geometry that makes it unhappy? Had a nasty triangle hunting session with what felt like a million restarts of max with the plugin crashing it every time until i found the problem element. Got the feeling that objects with the dreaded 'inverted tetra' style errors seem to bring it all tumbling down, does that sound correct?

Anyway, again, thank you very much! Messing around making a car, and having a blast.
 
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I find it doesn't work if there are no UV or bad UV on items.

It can also crash if you try cancel the export before it's finished, especially early in the export process.

But generally it's quite robust for me. Just save before export.


I want to make a max-script version of a DOF exporter. Just building up the binary blocks and functions.

Technically it's quite trivial... but Maxscript usually takes me about 1hr per line and I know this exporter will be at least 200 lines haha :D

Hmmmm

Dave
 

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