Dustin's 3dsmax Cookbook

This page lists some common tasks you may want to perform with the plugin in 3dsmax, and how to do them.

(For info on setting up the plugin, see MOULa_3DSMax_Plugin. For the tutorial on getting a basic Age exporting, see Dustin's Quick Tutorial.)

I'll try to provide what some of the words/phrases mean here:

  • CommandPanel: This toolbar should be on the right side of 3dsmax. It should have tabs showing Create(an arrow), Modify(a curve), Hierarchy(3 boxes linked to another), Motion(a wheel), Display(a screen), and Utilities(a hammer).
  • CommandPanel->Create: This tab of the CommandPanel itself has tabs. They are: Geometry, Shapes, Lights, Cameras, Helpers, SpaceWarps, and Systems.
  • ComponentManager: Go to Plasma->ComponentManager to show this. It will be used a lot.
  • Viewport: One of the rectangles in the middle of 3dsmax that show your objects from various angles.
  • ComponentUtil: Go to CommandPanel->Utilities and click on "More..." then on "Component Util" to show this. It shows the components from the ComponentManager of the currently selected object. Select one of these components to show any properties it may have.
  • MaterialEditor: Hit the 'M' key to open it, or click the icon with 4 spheres to open it. This windows allows you to create new materials.


Create a Spawnpoint

  1. Go to CommandPanel->Create->Helpers and click on Dummy. (If "Standard" isn't already selected in the dropdown list, do so.)
  2. Then click and drag somewhere to create a Dummy (i.e. an object with coordinates and orientation, but no shape. It is like the "Empty" in Blender.)
  3. In the ComponentManager, go to New->Type->StartingPoint.
  4. Select the Dummy you've created and click "Attach to Selected Object(s)".

You've now made a Spawnpoint!

Create a Light

  1. Go to CommandPanel->Create->Lights. In the dropdown list, select "Plasma RunTime".
  2. Click on the type of light you want. (RTSpot is like a flashlight, RTOmni shines in all directions, and RTDirectional points in just on direction and doesn't spread out.)
  3. Click somewhere in a viewport to create it.

You've now made a light!

Create a collider that you can see

  1. Create the mesh that you want to be your ground, by whatever means you prefer.
  2. Go to the ComponentManager, and go to New->Physics->Terrain.
  3. Select your mesh, and click on "Attach to Selected Object(s)".
  4. In ComponentUtils, select the mesh, and select this Terrain component, to see it properties.
    1. "Exact" is like Pyprp/Blender's "Triangle mesh". It will be just like your mesh, but this may be slow if your mesh has a ton of triangles.
    2. "Sphere" will make the collider the smallest sphere that fits your entire mesh.
    3. "Box" will make the collider the smallest box that fits your entire mesh.
    4. "Hull" will make the collider the convex hull of your mesh. (This can be thought of as the shape that would be made of a rubber sheet were stretched around your mesh: it will cover up any openings as if they were not there.)

You've now got your collider!

Create an invisible collider

Follow the instructions in "Create a collider that you can see", except choose New->Physics->ProxyTerrain instead of New->Physics->Terrain.

Create a material/texture

  1. Hit the 'M' key to open the MaterialEditor.
  2. The pictures of the grey spheres each represent a material. Click on an unused one.
  3. There is a button labeled "Standard". Click it and change it to "Plasma Standard". (While you *can* use the "Standard" kind instead, it will be preferable to use Cyan's "Plasma Standard", as that is geared towards what Uru can support.)
  4. You can play with the colors here, or if you want a texture, click the button to the right of "Base Layer". Now you will be editing "Map #x"(A layer). (You can switch back to the material by clicking on the dropdown box above and selecting it.)
    1. In this "Map #x" layer, there is a blank button to the right of the "Texture:" label. Click this and select the texture .jpg or .png or .whatever file that you want to use.
  5. Your material is created! To apply it to an object, either a) drag the picture of the sphere to your object, or b) select your object and click the "Assign material to object" button in the MaterialEditor.

Create a swimming region

  1. CommandPanel->Create->Geometry, select "Standard Primitives" and create a plane.
  2. Manipulate this plane into the shape you want your swimming area to be.
  3. With the ComponentManager, go to New->Navigables>Swim2D and attach it to your swimming area.
  4. Create a box (CommandPanel->Create->Geometry->StandardPrimitives->Box) and make it encompass your swim area.
  5. Select your swim area again, and in the ComponentUtil, select the Swim2D component, and click the box below "Box hull for detection" then select this encompassing box you've made.
  6. Optional: If you wish to have a current:
    1. Create a Dummy object(CommandPanel->Create->Helpers->Standard->Dummy) and place it in your scene.
    2. Select your swimming area, and click the box below "Dummy box for current" and select this Dummy object.
    3. For a straight current:
      1. The direction will be the y-axis of your Dummy; rotate it to the direction you want the current to flow.
      2. Set the "Near Vel" and "Far Vel" to the speed of the current you want. (You may have to play around to get the values you want.)
      3. Optional: You can have two different speeds of current, depending on the avatar's distance from the Dummy along the y-axis of the Dummy. Set the Distance to be considered "Near" and "Far" and set the velocities you want it to have at those distances.
  7. By default, the swimming area is also a drawn object, so you can give it a texture if you want. If you wish to disable drawing, attach this component: New->Ignore->NoShow.

Create footstep sounds (Recipe thanks to Wodan!)

  1. Create a Box, surrounding your Terrain.
    1. Apply New=>Detector=>RegionSensor to this Box.
      1. In the Components Util=>RegionSensor01.
      2. Mark "Trigger on entering volume " and mark "Each Entry".
      3. Mark "Trigger on exiting volume " and mark Each Exit
      4. Scroll down and under "Bounding Shape"mark "Box", under "Report On mark "Avatar".
    2. Apply New=>Logic=>Responder".
      1. In the Components Util=>Responder01.:
      2. Choose button "Add" and then choose "Region Sensor01".
      3. "Trigger"should be checked.
      4. Under "State" choose "Add" and then in the PopUp Menu choose "FootStep Surface".
      5. "Enabled" should be checked
      6. Under "Command Parameters" choose your surface from the drop down menu box (the default is Dirt)

Now you should hear your Avatar footstep sounds.


Error saying mainpage not found (or such)

Your agename.age file must be plaintext, and not whatdoyousee encrypted. Open it in Notepad, not PlasmaShop. If it is a bunch of gook starting with "whatdoyousee" then create this file again as a plain text file in Notepad.