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Comparison of 3dmodeling tools
post Oct 12 2013, 12:28 PM
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The following is a comaparison of commonly used 3dmodeling tools used with Battlefield


3dsmax, also called Max or 3ds Max, is a Professional tool for 3d modeling and animation. The commercial version is out of the price range of most hobbyists. However, there is a free student version available for non-commercial use. 3dsmax can also be used for a 30 days free trial. 3dsmax is more popular with 3d modelers for battlefield modding compared to other tools. There is also a greater variety of community created 3dsmax scripts to help with 3dmodeling with battlefield objects.

Battlefield modders commonly use 3dsmax for editing navmeshes, creating 3d models, creating animations for handweapons, and for lightmapping.

For Battlefield 1942, the official tools were created for 3dsmax version 6 & 7.

Updated 3dsmax plugins that work with newer version are here:


For Battlefield 2 and 2142, the official tools were made for 3dsmax ver 6-9.

Rhino from Project Reality has updated the BF2 plugins for Max 9 with integrated and updated collision mesh and light mapping support.


3ds max 2009, 32 bit is only supported.


There are community made scripts to import Battlefield heightmaps, import collision meshes and to check mesh errors.

There are many tutorials on the internet about using 3dsmax with Battlefield modeling.


Maya is a Professional tool for 3dmodeling and animation. The commercial version is also very expensive but there is a student version available for non-commercial use. Even though Maya can be used for 3dmodeling, most Battlefield modders only use it for navmesh editing.

Battlefield import and export tools are available for version 6, which does not work with windows 7.
Maya does support exporting and importing to the wavefront object format, and it works well to edit Battlefield navmeshes.

The standard tutorial for Battlefield navmesh editing was written by Kysterama for Maya.


Gmax is a free 3D modeling application based on Autodesk's 3ds Max application used by professional computer graphics artists. Whereas 3ds Max is a comprehensive modeling, animation, and rendering package with some secondary post-production and compositing features, Gmax is much more limited due to its singular intended useógame content creation. Tools and features rarely used or completely unrelated to creating 3D game models were removed (most if not all of the more complex rendering, materials, shaders, physics simulation, and some of the more advanced geometry tools, plus the rendering engine), leaving the core modeling, texturing, and basic animation rigging and keyframing capabilities. In 2005, the software was discontinued at version 1, but is still freely available for download.

The introduction of Gmax and Autodesk's distribution of the core tools was thought to be aimed towards remedying the 'limited-options piracy' of 3D modeling packages that had been widespread among amateur 3D modeling and game mod communities to that point. Until the introduction of Gmax, and a similar 'game modeler' version of Maya soon after, amateur modelers had extremely limited access to the tools needed to do so. Ideally Gmax enabled modelers to have legitimate access to content creation tools similar to those used by professionals.

Although gmax is a limited version of 3DS Max (v4) the program itself was designed with the intention of having limited import and export capabilities which were then to be provided by the installation of additional 'gamepacks' available for various game.

Unfortunately Gmax never caught on, probably because it relied on game companies to create the gamepack plugins. Game companies were understandably reluctant due to fears of intellectual property theft.
Gmax is further limited because it can not crate level of detail (LOD) models as with 3dsmax tool which are used to reduce lag.

Gmax does not easily import and export with the Wavefront obj format. There is a complicated hack to get it to work, but there are other 3dmodeling tools available that are much easier to import and export with obj formats, so even though it can be used, itís not recommended for navmesh editing.

DICE released Battlefield plugins for GMAX but they also have issues. For instance: BF2 requires textures to be in the .dds format, but Gmax does not support this. The workaround is to use a supported format, such as .TGA while working in Gmax and then swap out the textures at the end. Users also report that it doesnít import the bundledmesh files. Gmax is not recommended for BF2 or BF2142. Reportedly the BF1942 plugins work better than the BF2 version.

Gmax users typically use one of the exporter plug-ins in order to convert to a format that can be used by another 3dmodeling tool that does have fully functional plugins for battlefield. It's only real use for Battlefield is to use the BF exporter plugins, allowing users to model in more current modeling programs, like blender and then export into GMAX just to use the BF exporter capability. Reportedly GMAX does have some issues with Windows 10, but just using GMAX to export into BF should work fine.

Milkshape 3d

MilkShape 3D is a low-polygon modeling tool, which was initially designed for Half-Life. By and by many file formats and features have been added. Milkshape is shareware and free for a 30 day trial.
MilkShape 3D has all basic operations like select, move, rotate, scale, extrude, turn edge, subdivide, just to mention a few. MilkShape 3D also allows low-level editing with the vertex and face tool. Standard and extended primitives like spheres, boxes, cylinders, etc. are available too.

MilkShape 3D is a skeletal animator. This allows to export to morph target animation like the ones in the Quake model formats or to export to skeletal animations like Half-Life, Genesis3d, Unreal, etc.
Currently there is a Battlefield 1942 plugin available, but none for BF2
However, since it supports the Wavefront obj format, it can be used for Navmesh editing.


Blender is a free and open-source 3D computer graphics software product used for creating animated films, visual effects, art, 3D printed models, interactive 3D applications and video games. Blender's features include 3D modeling, UV unwrapping, texturing, rigging and skinning, fluid and smoke simulation, particle simulation, soft body simulation, sculpting, animating, match moving, camera tracking, rendering, video editing and compositing. It also features a built-in game engine.
Blender currently does not have import/export capability for the battlefield model format.

It does, have support for the wavefront object format which makes it useable for Navmesh editing.

The default controls need to be customized for working with large objects, since the default controls are set up for smaller objects.

The obj importer searches for a .mtl file in the same folder to get the material settings. When exporting, it creates a new .mtl file with the same name as the obj file. For exporting the navmeshes obj file, uncheck all options except for write material and group materials..

Wings 3D

Wings 3D is an advanced subdivision modeler that is both powerful and easy to use.

Wings 3D offers a wide range of modeling tools, a customizable interface, support for lights and materials, and a built-in AutoUV mapping facility.

Wings 3D is open source and completely free for use in both personal and commercial projects.
There is no support in Wings for animation.

OBJ is one of its native formats and it works really well to edit navmesh files

Sketch Up

Google sold Sketch up to another company to develop as a professional tool in 2012. Sketch up was then split into two versions, a proffesional version and a free version for non-commercial use called Sketch Up Make. Sketch Up is designed to easily make 3dimages based on 2d drawings. There are tutorials to create simple models for some games, but sketch up has limited export capabillity and none for Battlefield support. The profesional version supports the wavefront object format, but I have not heard of anyone trying to use it for navmeshing.

BFMeshView: http://www.bytehazard.com/bfstuff/bfmeshview/

Created and updated by Remdul, this free tool can read all formats of classic Battlefield models from BF42 to BF2142. It has obj export capability and can do some model repairs. This tool is great for viewing your model with textures. This is a must have for any Battlefield modder.

MeshLab: http://www.meshlab.net/

This Free opensource tool is great for cleaning up your mesh. I have used it to help track down issues with AImeshes. I have not tried to clean up a Navmesh with it, but it looks like it could be very useful.

NetFab: http://www.autodesk.com/products/netfabb/overview

This tool is used to prepare models for 3d printing and it previously had a free basic version until it was bought out by Autodesk in 2015. However, you can still download the trial and have access to the 'Basic' functionality after the trial expires, which includes the ability to repair models. It also offers a free version for students and educators as with most Autodesk products. It is designed for use with CAD systems, but it will import from the FBX format and then export to STL. It is useful for testing and repairing AImeshes because they follow the same rules as for 3d printing models.

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post Jul 13 2016, 05:59 AM
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Here's a very informative articles on 3d software to use for modeling 3d printable models: http://www.gambody.com/blog/3d-modeling-beginners-guide/

Hope that leaving here the link is not a probably. Otherwise, please let me know.

Gambody 3D printer files - the marketplace where my dreamed game characters become a reality.
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post Oct 27 2016, 07:54 PM
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updated 3dsmax 9 plugin with integrated and improved collision mesh support as well as better light mapping. The old tools did not have a collision mesh importer. Remdul created a separate plug in tool, but the hierarchy had to be set up manually in order to export collision meshes.

Link is in the top thread.

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