Well, that didn’t take long - UPS (or rather their rather slower and much lazier local agents) delivered me a fresh copy of 3ds Max 8 today from those nice people at Autodesk. I was gratified to find no dongle in the box (I really don’t need another one of those in the back of the machine), just an online activation process which was remarkably quick and simple. Everything went smoothly on install, except for the fact that I had to choose and run each of the six or seven component install processes manually since the DVD launcher kept crashing.
I’m not likely to get a great deal of time to spend on it in the next couple of weeks, what with house decorating, a release due out on Sunday, and Google Summer of Code to keep up with, but hopefully I’ll be able to chip away at getting the OGRE Max exporter up to scratch over the coming months. I’m certainly very glad that 2 years after we originally asked for a special license deal on Max, and after I’d pretty much given up on getting one, it just happened almost overnight. 😀
I did get enough time to fire it up and check it worked, and the view I was greeted with was remarkably familiar (since I’d played briefly with Max 4/5 a few years back, although I’d never owned my own copy). Whilst the view was familiar, I’ve gotten used to all the shortcut keys in XSI now so it was a bit weird to use. I’m sure I’ll get to the stage where I can alternate reasonably happily. What was quite interesting was reading the ‘New Features’ list and seeing quite a few features in there that were already in XSI, particularly in the animation area, so it looks like SoftImage have been ahead of the game at least in that area. ‘Pelt mapping’ in Max8 looks pretty interesting though - where you uv map your mesh by drawing ‘cut’ lines like you are skinning it, and then peel it off and flatten it. Nice idea.
Since I’m not an artist I’m sure I won’t appreciate most of the subtleties between XSI and Max, but I hope to get to the stage where I can support both from a tools perspective. I’m now pretty familiar with XSI so I’ll need to build up my Max skills more so they are at a similar level. XSI users needn’t be concerned that I’ll stop working on XSI, that certainly isn’t going to happen - I have a great deal of love for the tool and SoftImage have been great to us over the past 2 years. In fact, there is a Summer of Code application to extend the XSI integration which is looking pretty interesting. The outcome of this is that now XSI and Max should get good in-house support from the OGRE team, which can only be a good thing. Just give me a bit of time, that’s all. 😀