Game Development Reference
and animation from
Getting information about the file format for 3DS Max has proved very
difficult. No doubt once this topic is published someone will point me in the
right direction, but I have tried many user groups without success. There
are some limited and unreliable documents available for the '3DS' format,
but very little about Max. In the end, I decided to derive the information I
required from an ASCII export of a 3DS Max scene file. 3DS Max differs
from Lightwave by combining geometry, surface and motion into a single
file, and provides the option to export this as a plain text file. In this
chapter we will look at getting the geometry, surface and motion data out
of this file.
An ASCII export of a static cube scene
To export from Max in ASCII format choose 'Export as text' from the export
Having saved the scene off, you will have created a scene with an 'ASE'
extension. We will look at how to parse a scene containing a single cube.
Any ASE parser needs to check the file to make sure that this is in the
correct format. The first line of any ASE file contains the tag '*3DSMAX_
ASCIIEXPORT'. In a parser we first confirm this before moving on. If the
line does not contain this tag then it is not a suitable ASE file and your
parser can return FALSE, to indicate an import error or return a numerical
value indicating the type of error.
The next line in any ASE file is a comment containing the export version
number and the date and time of exporting. If you want to retain this
information then you could store it; most parsers will simply ignore it.