View Full Version : Xrefs, what are they? Newbie asking

06 June 2002, 01:39 PM
What exactly are Xrefs and how do I use them in max. What benefits are there to using them?

06 June 2002, 03:29 AM
Xrefs are basically placeholders for objects that are going to change or be modified. They're useful for large scenes where you're going to be placing lots of objects in specific places (game levels etc).

So I do prop modelling meaning I create 'filler' items for levels (chairs tables etc) and then I create an xref file containing all props for one level and pass that off to one of the level artists who then place xref placeholders of the props where they need to be in the level. I can then go back and alter my xref file (seperate from the level file) and the changes will automatically occur in the level file.

It's mostly useful in a workflow-of-multiple-employees-item-management kind of way. There always have to be tweaks when two artists integrate their work, xrefs make that less painful.

Steve Swink
Environmental Artist
Tremor Entertainment

06 June 2002, 04:00 PM
also they can be used as place holders for very high poly and complex objects.

there should be a tutorial for xrefs in the max help files in the tutorials. The first one i think.

Iain McFadzen
06 June 2002, 04:10 PM
You two are talking specifically about Proxies, X-Refs are just objects which are referenced from an external file so that the object cannot be modified outside it's own object file, and conversely any update made to the model file will be automatically passed on to [multiple] scene file[s] without the need to re-merge anything.

06 June 2002, 01:37 PM
Ah ok sweet, I see how it works, it sorta acts as global variables. when you can change an object in one file and it'll update in another. Cool, so why do games so heavily depend on them, espically resetting the xrefs, waht does that mean?

Iain McFadzen
06 June 2002, 09:11 PM
Nope you are getting muddled up. It's "Reset X-Form" (reset transform) not reset X-ref. Reseting X-Form just ensures that the vertex coords are imported into the game engine in the same place as they appear in the max file. In most 3D apps scale (even non-uniform scale) is a transform rather than a modification. For example you can have a character at 200% scale standing next to another character who is at 100% scale, who look the same size in a max file. However because each vert coord is calcualted as a vector from the object centre before the scale is caculated, when you export these models to your engine you would discover that one character was twice the size of the other. Reseting X-form simply "bakes" the scale of the object into the raw mesh data, effectively changing it into a modification.

Or sump.

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