Before Volition moved heavily into custom toolsets within the CTG editor, 3DS Max was used for world creation. During that time I created a slew of MaxScript tools to tackle different needs. Here are just a few.
The Mesh Resource Simplifier tool is used to apply a specific set of mesh simplification properties so they can be exported into a mesh resource and used by the cruncher/engine. This is to help achieve and preview the same exact simplification in MAX that will be applied to meshes in the game's two lower LOD levels.
In our engine and export process, the main render mesh will automatically receive two levels of LOD processing. Sometimes, the automatic results can lead to undesirable results. This tool is extremely useful by allowing artists to apply nonstandard simplification settings to their mesh and then preview in MAX what those settings will look like in game. If achieving the desired results can't be done through changing the settings, then the render mesh itself would need to be improved and re-visualized with this tool.
This tool is the interface to the VMeshSimplifier plugin which holds the settings and is exported with the object for our mesh cruncher to read.
Mountain Do is used as a proxy object generation tool. It’s main purpose is to quickly and easily generate collision proxy objects for obscure object shapes like mountains and terrain. But in general, it can generate collision for any object and generate other proxy objects like shadow or dynamic meshes. Additionally, the proper game engine collision proxy materials are applied to the new generated mesh.
This tool’s name was inspired by an environment artist’s love of Mountain Dew who was responsible for generating all of the proxy objects for mountains, cliff faces and other obscure terrain on Saints Row 2.
Fix Shader Materials
Due to compatibility issues between our engine shaders and previewing them in MAX, often times the MAX shader would exhibit odd behaviors that needed to be corrected. Most of the time those behaviors were one of a handful that were known to the artist with a specific fix. This tool simply automated those fixes and presented them in one tool for easy fixing.