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Author Topic: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?  (Read 5775 times)

Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« on: October 28, 2011, 10:30:24 AM »
Ok to start off let me say "Long time no see!" because it indeed has been a while.

I don't really know why but something brought me back to here and suddenly I had an urge to try something I had been planning to do for a while.

I never really got to making any levels for Descent 3 because I never really liked D3edit much, at the very least for when it comes to trying to make the level geometry itself in it.  So I remembered that there were tools to import .3ds files into D3edit or at least convert them to room files to place into D3edit and I thought "Hey, I remember working with 3DS for Halo Custom Edition being relatively easy.  Maybe I should try and take a crack at it again!"

So I looked around and found the student editions for 3DS Max 2010, 2011, and 2012 on autodesk's student website, and I signed up.  Before I go any further, I would like to know if the student editions are any good for this.  If they are, which one would be best for working with Descent 3?

Thanks.
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline IHateHackers

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2011, 02:34:38 PM »
You still have to use D3Edit to convert your level, make rooms, place objects, etc even if you use a model editor. And I don't think 3DS max is necessary, pretty sure something like blender would work, but I'll wait for confirmation from the more model-savvy folks here.

Offline Ronin RedFox

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2011, 03:15:18 PM »
You can use blender to convert to a format readable by D3 edit, but not much more than that.

Usually goes from .blend > .dxf > .orf

or if you want a model

.blend > .dxf > .orf > .oof

Wouldn't recommend it though because it usually messes up all the normals on the models, but you can go ahead with that if you know D3 Edit real well, Which I don't.

EDIT: And yes, you could also convert your .blend files to .3ds and then to .orf or .oof, whichever is your choice. But I don't use 3DS Max, so I've never really had a reason to convert a .blend to .3ds.

I could definately try that sometime too.. it might work better than .dxf . I actually don't know of any converters that go from .3ds to .orf, so that'd also be helpful to know too. :3
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 03:20:35 PM by Mr. Fancy Floof »
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Offline InsanityBringer

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2011, 03:24:09 PM »
The part about .blends doesn't exactly apply to 3DS Max, considering that 3DS Max doesn't ever output .blends because .blend files are quite Blender specific :P

Wish I could provide more insight, but there were definitely tools to convert 3DS files into rooms you can then assemble via d3Edit.

Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2011, 05:36:58 PM »

I'm afraid nobody answered the question I was asking.
You still have to use D3Edit to convert your level, make rooms, place objects, etc even if you use a model editor. And I don't think 3DS max is necessary, pretty sure something like blender would work, but I'll wait for confirmation from the more model-savvy folks here.
  • If you carefully read my post, you would have seen where I said that I knew of tools to be able to import into D3Edit or convert 3DS into ORF.  I was hoping to imply that I knew I would have to use D3Edit, and I'm sorry if I did not do so.
  • While I probably should have mentioned that I am not blender-friendly, I didn't exactly ask if I should use blender or not.
You can use blender to convert to a format readable by D3 edit, but not much more than that.

Usually goes from .blend > .dxf > .orf

or if you want a model

.blend > .dxf > .orf > .oof

Wouldn't recommend it though because it usually messes up all the normals on the models, but you can go ahead with that if you know D3 Edit real well, Which I don't.

EDIT: And yes, you could also convert your .blend files to .3ds and then to .orf or .oof, whichever is your choice. But I don't use 3DS Max, so I've never really had a reason to convert a .blend to .3ds.

I could definately try that sometime too.. it might work better than .dxf . I actually don't know of any converters that go from .3ds to .orf, so that'd also be helpful to know too. :3
  • Again, I didn't ask about Blender.  However I think this was just from the previous post's mention of it.  Thanks for this information though.  I'll keep it in mind in case I consider using it again. :)
  • Regarding converting to 3DS and then to ORF/OOF, you definitely should try it sometime. I recall using some tools for a model file to ORF and was able to view it in gmax of all tools through a script-based converter found on one of the Halo Custom Edition modding sites.  I didn't like the process too much but when I used... eh, some old tool to convert D1 Level 2 to 3DS, I was able to do this, and then put it in D3edit.  The model was more or less perfect!  I think there may have been a hole where the exit tunnel ended though, lol.
The part about .blends doesn't exactly apply to 3DS Max, considering that 3DS Max doesn't ever output .blends because .blend files are quite Blender specific :P

Wish I could provide more insight, but there were definitely tools to convert 3DS files into rooms you can then assemble via d3Edit.
I know this is true because I have them, at least on another computer.  I can probably dig them up again.

But as I said, none of these answered my question, so I might as well have to find out for myself.
The main reason I'm asking if it's any good is that sometimes student editions of programs like these do not save in the format of their retail counterparts.  As I said, I know that GMax has to have scripts to do this job (and I do NOT want to mess around with them.. but if I have to, then I might as well just use GMax-..no, wait, registration for it is a total hassle), but I guess I'll do some looking around at other places.

But if anyone here knows if the free student versions save in 3DS, I'll be checking.

edit: another thing that has me worried is that I know that the MAX format from 2010 and later is not backwards compatible, I do not know if there are any problems that I would run into with the 3DS format from editions 2010 and later either, assuming the student versions do this.

Maybe I should just test this myself and then if it doesn't work, well at least I have a free copy of 3DS Max.
« Last Edit: October 28, 2011, 05:40:39 PM by CrazyEnzo03 »
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline IHateHackers

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #5 on: October 29, 2011, 07:52:57 AM »
Well, I would hope even a student edition would be able to save into a common model format, but I'm sure there's a list of formats somewhere.

Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #6 on: October 29, 2011, 08:59:57 AM »
I've been looking around and several sources seem to say that the student edition has all the features of the retail version except that it can only be used by one user.   I've also heard of watermarking renders but that just seems to come from the odd comment or two about the product.

I think the real reason I'm worried about the time taking to download it being a waste is because I'm a bit too accustomed to Gmax's limitations, as well as the bothersome workarounds I'd have to do to get what I want from it.

I'll go ahead and try it and then let everyone know how it works, assuming I can get all the tools I need. (I said I had the converters... well, they're on another computer - which is now collecting dust in our shed.  There was nothing wrong with it, but it's just plain old.  I don't wanna dig up that heavy thing so I'm just gonna search around on the net for those converters and such, not to mention the latest and greatest version of D3edit - or at least whichever best suits my needs.
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline Scyphi

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #7 on: October 29, 2011, 10:17:54 AM »
I know nothing about 3DS, so I can't tell you one way or another.

However, I do recommend you go and download Atan's modified D3Edit (I THINK that link leads you to his latest version). See, the original D3Edit, as I'm sure we can all agree, was a useable, but highly unstable and imperfect mess. So, Atan later came along and has been gradually fixing it up, working out the bugs, and adding in little new things that has made D3Edit more tolerable to use.

The biggest reason I bring it up, though, is because nobody but me seems to be aware of the fact that Atan not-so-long ago added on a built in coverter-thingy of sorts so you don't have to have a separate program to convert files like .dxf into an .oof anymore. You can just open it up right in Atan's D3Edit, and it'll do the necessary converting on it's own. It'll work for .blend files as well (so you don't have to go converting those files into other files in order to convert them into usable files either). The converter, last I heard, is still beta, but I have messed around with it, and it works well enough to do the job. :) I believe it can also convert whatever files 3DS uses.

You still have to piece everything together with D3Edit, though.

BTW, welcome back. :)
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Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2011, 11:21:40 AM »
Thanks for the info and thanks for the welcome back.

As I already said a couple of times in this thread, I know I'd have to piece the level together in D3edit, and I also just said I was gonna look for it.  How else would I set up which rooms are which?

But if that's his latest version I'll take it.  I'll probably still dig around some more just to make sure, perhaps at descentforum.de since, last I checked, he seems to hang around there (then again, "last I checked" was a long time ago).

And for the whateverth time, I'm not interested in using blender. ::)
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline Scyphi

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2011, 11:27:55 AM »
In my defense, I mentioned most of that not so much for your benefit Enzo but everyone else's, since they seemed surprisingly in the dark about the matter. :P
"I thought I had a great idea, but it never really took off. In fact, it didn't even get on the runway. I guess you could say it exploded in the hanger." -Calvin and Hobbes
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Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2011, 12:29:23 PM »
I understand.

A minute till 3DSmax 2012 is finished downloading.
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline (LL)Atan

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2011, 10:39:22 AM »
Have a look here: http://www.dateiliste.com/en/descent-3/72-descent-3-level-and-mission-editor-d3edit.html
I inserted some tutorials over there and you may find the installer version for the D3 Editor.
This D3 Editor version includes manual/auto-update function. This will help you to download and install the latest version.
As for the converters: Just basic ones for older versions. I don't believe you may use them with newer versions of max or blender.

@Scyphi
Reading 'adding in little new things' let me smile.
I think you have to pay one or some more cents for theses features while buying commercial soft :)
IMO there no is need using other stuff than Descent3 Editor for building good and eyecandy Descent3 levels and missions.
But that's a point each one must decide for him/her-self.

Offline CrazyEnzo03

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2011, 08:42:19 AM »
(LL)Atan:  Thank you.  I'll be sure to look through all the stuff on that page because I do want to brush up on D3Edit's features.  I was trying to find a good tutorial because all the ones I could find simply either did not exist or were in German - I am not very fluent in German :P (I know a little bit of German, about enough to say "hi" and navigate descent3fischlein.de... and that's it).

I'll try using the newer versions anyway just to see if it will work in some way, but if not then maybe I'll have some uninstalling to do, among other things.  I do know that the .MAX format was either changed or unsupported or something in the newer versions (i.e. starting from 2010 or so afaik), and I know that .3DS is still in there, but maybe it was changed as well.  Maybe I will still end up throwing some other 3D program into the whole conversion process since the alternative that I can think of would be much messier.

edit: haven't had the chance to try importing any files into D3Edit but 3ds Max 2012 saves in a few versions of the .MAX format (apparently one for 2012, one for 2011, and one for 2010) and exports to many, many more, including .3DS and .DXF, from what I can remember.
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 11:30:09 AM by CrazyEnzo03 »
Some people are like Slinkies. They aren't really good or even useful for anything but they always manage to put a little smile on your face when you give them enough of a push down the stairs.

Offline (LL)Atan

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2011, 11:58:21 AM »
@CrazyEnzo03
That's right, we can't find any new tutorials since years, seems it's only me who placed some. And I didn't make tuts for all stuff up to now.
There are so much modified and absolut new things inside the D3Editav that you may find from time to time things you even didn't know they exist.

As max-user you may interessted into the basic shapes to generate first which you find below: Menu->File->New
That's a good point to start (again)

I got no feedback about problems running D3EditAV, but this means nothing. Crashes are seldom these days, but as ever: Save your work.
D3EditAV is running as 32bit prg with my W7-64 without problems. WinXP I can't test.

If you may find a function/button which is not understandable, feel free to ask here or at Dateiliste or descentforum.
Dateiliste owns English/French/Russian and German talking D3Edit users so you may find help if you need it.

Offline Scyphi

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Re: Are the 3DS Max Student Editions any good for making levels?
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2011, 06:53:33 AM »
Quote from: Atan
Reading 'adding in little new things' let me smile.

Eh...poor choice of words, I suppose. :P To be fair, I think when I wrote that, I was likening it to DLE-XP, which is DMB2 reinvented. Whereas your versions of D3Edit is still pretty much D3Edit with improvements tacked onto it. Still, I imagine there's nothing "little" about that, and probably isn't fair for me to even make that comparison. We appreciate what you do, Atan. :)

Quote from: Atan
IMO there no is need using other stuff than Descent3 Editor for building good and eyecandy Descent3 levels and missions.

True, D3Edit is more than capable of doing it, but if I'm honest, I've always hated D3Edit's interface and way of doing things as it frustrated me to no end. In my mind, it always feels like there'd be better ways to do it. I have a much easier time building the same structures in programs like Blender, so that's why the converter is so nice for me. :)
"I thought I had a great idea, but it never really took off. In fact, it didn't even get on the runway. I guess you could say it exploded in the hanger." -Calvin and Hobbes
See me also at deviantART.

 

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