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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Don’t just play the game. Transform it. The line between gamers and game developers is on the verge of disappearing. More and more games are opening themselves up for radical modding. Want to see new characters? New weapons? New vehicles? New landscapes? New levels? Stop wishing. Do it.
What makes this miracle possible? One remarkable piece of software: gmax. More than 350,000 gamers have downloaded it already. Best of all, it’s free.
Gmax is a 3D modeling and animation tool derived from 3ds max, the professional tool many game designers already use. You won’t find rendering, video post-production, or other features here -- but then, designers are paying $3,495 for 3ds max.
You will find all the 3D design features you need to re-create your game -- including polygon and patch modeling, texture, character building, and loads more. (As you work with gmax, you’ll learn professional-level 3D design almost as a side effect. Who knows? New career?)
Here’s a sampling of what’s gmax moddable right now. Unreal Tournament 2003. Microsoft’s brand-new Impossible Creatures. Combat Flight Simulator 2003. Command & Conquer. Quake Gold. Renegade. More’s on the way.
Excited? Curious? Check out the one and only book about gmax: gmax Bible.
Kelly Murdock starts with an overview of gmax’s power, then walks you through its interface -- simplifying as he goes. Through hands-on tutorials, you’ll learn how to work with Viewports and 3D Space, and how to customize the gmax interface to help you focus on what you want to accomplish.
Murdock takes a brief side excursion to Turbo Squid, which you can think of as a legal “trading post” where you can exchange gmax models, textures, and animations with gamers worldwide.
Then, it’s back to work -- as you master objects and the myriad ways to mess with them: cloning, grouping, mirroring, linking, moving, rotating, scaling, and so forth. There’s even an introduction to automating gmax with MAXscript.
Once you know the basics, you’ll move on to building realistic game elements by assembling what Murdock calls “empires of objects.” Step by step, you’ll work through each of the meat-and-potatoes tasks involved in object modeling: generating simple splines and shapes; creating and editing mesh objects; editing and modifying patches; morphing and connecting objects; even tweaking objects via Boolean logic.
There’s a full section on changing the appearance of your objects -- both inside and out. You’ll learn how to reshape objects, apply material mappings, deform object surfaces, build objects with “bones” and inverse kinematics, and use gmax’s powerful Material Editor. There’s also a full section on lighting, camera angles, and animation. This is powerful stuff -- but Murdock makes it surprisingly accessible.
The book ends by showing you how to work with the customized game packs available for each game that supports gmax -- including chapters on Tempest for Quake 3 Arena, Flight Simulator 2002 Professional, Dungeon Siege, Command and Conquer: Renegade, and Trainz. The CD-ROM’s packed with game packs, samples, and more.
Here in the 21st century, we don’t believe in passive entertainment. We want to take control of our media, shake it apart, and recreate it in our own images. For gamers, gmax makes it possible -- and this book makes it doable. Bill Camarda
Bill Camarda is a consultant, writer, and web/multimedia content developer. His 15 books include Special Edition Using Word 2000 and Upgrading & Fixing Networks for Dummies, Second Edition.