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Using 3D Studio Max for Racer


Home Discreet's 3D Studio Max is an excellent tool to create models/tracks for Racer.

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3D Studio Max is the preferred 3D modeling package for Racer.

GUI Settings & units

To avoid running into problems where exported models are the wrong scale in Racer's Modeler (and other utilities), a few settings should be taken into account. There may be multiple ways of doing things, but I do it like this (this is for Max R3, other versions may vary):


In the menu, select 'Customize' -> 'Units setup'. Choose 'Generic units' (don't select Metric units, as this changes the grid scale, but not the internally used units).

In Racer, 1 generic unit = 1 meter (when exported to ASE/VRML).

From the menu, select 'Customize' -> 'Preferences'. My default setting was '1 Unit = 1.0 Inches' and it works ok.

An alternative might be to use '1 Unit = 1.0 meters' and select the Metric units in the 'Units Setup' from above, but I have not tested that. If you get that to work, let me know (it's a bit cleaner).

You can turn off 'Automatic conversion', although this only affects scenes being merged into the current scene, if I recall correctly.


Recovering after having used different units

If you get into the situation where you already modeled something in a unit system that isn't Racer-friendly, you can probably still get around it with relative easy.

Normally, in generic units, consider 1.0 to be 1 meter. I could recover a small track I did by scaling the whole scene. From the Utilities panel, select 'More...' and 'Rescale World Units' from the list. I used a factor of 0.0254 (meters -> inches) to rescale my whole scene. Some lofts didn't get scaled though, but I could easily reloft those.

Exporting models to Racer

Normally when exporting from Max to Racer, it depends on whether you do a car of track. The export format of choice is ASE, which has been given most attention.

For a track, you use 1 multisub-object and hang all material in the level below that. Then in Tracked you can do CutMultisubASE or the full Auto ASE->DOF, which does all for you.
For cars, you don't use multisub materials but instead use regular materials and apply those to the parts of the geometry. Then you import this ASE in Modeler and export to DOF.

An alternative exporter was written by Some1 and exports directly to DOF. Mostly useful for cars since tracks are a lot bigger. Download it here.

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(last updated November 13, 2012 )