I hadn't started messing with GameGuru MAX until recently and wanted to test what I initially thought would be pretty simple - bringing in an animated door and getting it to work properly. I found that it was not so easy, but the issues were primarily mine. Thinking that others may encounter the same issues, I thought I would create this tutorial. I hope it's helpful in some small way. Even if not everything is perfect in this tutorial, I hope it at least points you in the right direction. This tutorial is going to be a bit long with a lot of images and will most likely take several posts. I hope you'll refrain from commenting until I've completed it. I'll let you know when I've posted the last part so you won't have to guess. So, without further ado, let's get started!
This first part will deal with the Blender side of things. I am working with Blender 3.93.6, but what I cover here should most likely work in most versions of Blender ... at least from 2.8 on up.
This is not a modeling tutorial, so I am not going to get into modeling nor is the "door" model I've created anything to write home about. It's a modified cube vaguely shaped like a door.
One of the issues I was running into originally was that sometimes my animated models would come into MAX with the animations found and other times they weren't found. It took me forever to find what was causing the problem, but I found it. I was renaming my models (such as changing Cube to Door), but MAX was not seeing this. It's important to properly name your models so you can easily find what your working on in your 3D program. It's difficult if everything is named Cube, Cube01, etc. Therefore, it's important that we can rename our models and that MAX doesn't have a problem with it. To ensure there are no issues, we first go to our list on the right in Blender and twirl down the object name:
You'll notice that the top level is named Cube and so is the geometry within. If you only rename the upper level, it won't work. When exporting your model to MAX, MAX will see the second name, the actual name of the geometry. So, you need to change this one, too.
Here I've changed the name of both to Door:
After naming our geometry, it's time to animate. Let's head over to Blender's Animation tab. Here's my setup:
We're going to use Blender Animation Actions to create our animations and to name them. That's their purpose - to act as containers for animations and names. It's going to make life simpler for us, too. We're going to need three animations for our door - 1) the door closed, 2) the door opening, and 3) the door closing. We'll start with the door closed. To do this, we click the big NEW button just above the animation timeline. This will allow us to create a new Action which, by default, will be called Action. It's fine to leave it named that for now. Almost directly below at the bottom of the timeline is a button with a circle in it. Click this to automatically set keyframes. Make sure you're at keyframe zero. Then, what I do is move the door model up a bit and back to exactly where it was. All this does it create a keyframe with no motion at all. You could also hover over the 3D viewport (where your door is) and press "I" to Insert a keyframe and select the type you want. I just like to do it this way as it seems simpler to me.
Now that we have our "closed" animation created, we can move on to create our Open and Close animation. We could rename our Action to "Closed", but we're going to leave it as "Action". You'll see why once import this into MAX. To make our Open animation, we need to click on the icon next to Action that looks like two pieces of paper (it's to the right of the shield icon). That will create a new Action. I then click on the Action name created there (it should read Action.001) and rename it to Open. Once that's done, move to frame 30 on the timeline and then move your door up to where you want it to open. A new keyframe will be created.
Lastly, I select and move the keyframe that was on keyframe 0 to keyframe 1. Keyframe 0 is our Closed animation. 1-30 will be our Open. It shouldn't really matter, but I like to do it this way.
Now we need to create our Close animation. To do this, we click the double-paper icon again (it's actually the New Action button) and name the new action to Close. To make the Close animation, we simply swap the keyframes. To do that, I select the first keyframe on 1 and move it out of the way, select the keyframe on 30 and move it to 1, then re-select the keyframe that was on 1 and move it to 30. This inverts the animation.
We're finished. We have our Closed (named Action), Open, and Close animations, and we're ready to export from Blender. I've tinkered with things to learn what size works for me to go from how I work in Blender to what works in MAX and have created an export preset in Blender that I use to export my FBX models.
I suggest you do that same. It saves time. You just have to select the preset, name your model, and export. In the screen shot above, I'd not yet selected my gamegurumax preset, so my settings for MAX are not shown here. For example, for MAX (the way I work), I have scale set to 0.32 and that works fine for me.
Now we are ready to move on to the next part - importing our model into MAX and making it work with MAX's Door behavior. It'll take me a bit to type up the next section ...
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