Level Exporting

The following section provides information and a tutorial on the export process from 3ds Max to the .jms format which is used to compile a Halo game level.

Exporting The Level

The following procedures and example images demonstrate using the Blitzkrieg plug-in in 3ds Max to export the .jms file for the level.  The .jms file is used by Tool to compile the level data into the .scenario and .scenario_structure_bsp data tags.

It is these data tags will be manipulated to create a working multiplayer level that will then be compiled into a .map cache file and run in Halo.

Exporting the level using Blitzkrieg:

In 3ds Max open the tutorial.max file that was created in the previous tutorials.

1) To export the level using the Blitzkrieg exporter plug-in follow the procedures below:

a) Click on File and select Export.  The Select File to Export window will appear.

b) Select the same directory in which the tutorial.max file exists (Halo Custom Edition\data\levels\test\tutorial\models), this is the directory created in the section Creation of a Level Directory under the Creating a Level section in Level Creation - Part 1.

c) In the Save as type: pull down select Blitzkrieg Model Exporter (*.JMS,*.JMP).

d) In the File name: field enter the name tutorial.jms.

e) Click on Save.

The level should have exported successfully.

The first image further explains the above procedures.

Click to Open Larger Image in New Window

Troubleshooting the Export Process

The following table outlines some common problems or errors that may occur when exporting the .jms for the level and provides suggestions or solutions that should help in the successful export of the level using the Blitzkrieg exporter plug-in.

Problem or Error Suggestions or Solution
When exporting using Blitzkrieg an error dialog appears that says "There was no geometry to export". Make sure that the level has a reference frame.
When exporting using Blitzkrieg an error dialog appears that says "There was no geometry to export". If the level has a reference frame, make sure that there is valid geometry present and that the geometry is attached to the reference frame.
When exporting using Blitzkrieg the .jms file does not appear to have exported and been saved. Make sure that the .jms file is being saved to the correct directory.
When exporting with Blitzkrieg using an existing .jms file name, the .jms file does not appear to have saved or updated the existing file. Make sure that the existing .jms file is not set to Read-only.
When exporting using Blitzkrieg 3ds Max crashes. This is usually related to some strange geometry construction error or illegal material assignment. 

Try the following steps below to track down the error.

1) Systematically unlink objects from the reference frame and try to export until the level exports successfully. This can help determine which object and related geometry are causing export problems.

2) If an object has a Multi/Sub-Object applied to it, make sure that it is applied to the entire object.

3) Make sure that all faces have a Multi/Sub-Object Sub-Material or Standard material applied to them.

4) Make sure that the mesh geometry does not have isolated (unused) vertices.

5) Make sure that there are no double faces or polygons (faces or polygons that occupy the exact same space and share the same vertices).

6) Check for double edges or illegal faces or polygons.

Conclusion to Level Exporting

The level geometry has now been successfully exported and is ready to be compiled in preparation for it to go through the processes that will get it running in Halo.

As previously mentioned, a completed version or example version of the level created in the tutorial sections can be found under the "Halo\data\levels\test\tutorial_examples" directory.  The source and related materials have been provided as a reference to aid in the learning process.  The successfully exported tutorial.jms file for the example level has also been made available.

Once the user has successfully completed the export process they can proceed to the next section Level Compilation.