Important Tip for Beginners using 3ds max- Vehicle Problems

I’m not sure if this is the right place to post this but I really want to stress out some important things for beginners like me. And I mean this is really important but not really emphasized in most of the vehicle tutorials online, no matter the forums, wiki or YouTube. You WILL scratch your head going around the web in circles and still won’t come across those few posts that may actually help you solve your problem! So here it goes:

If your vehicle has issues like weird collisions, behaviors & other funky things here are a few things to check on:

  1. For simplicity, set your Units to use centimeters. Yes, System Unit and Display Unit, BOTH.

  2. Make sure your pivots are set correctly:

  • In 3ds max, make sure your geometry is facing in the right direction. Use Move gizmo and see the arrows. X (Red) should be facing front, Z (Blue) is up.
  • Also adjust the geometry’s own pivot to make sure it’s the same as you set above for your geometry.
  1. For the simple vehicle setup(not the double-wishbone rig), you basically need four wheels and a chassis, nothing more. Just attach the wheels to the chassis as root. But here are some things to note:
  • Make sure the pivot for the chassis is at 0,0,0. That’s X, Y and Z all 0’s.
  • Make sure the pivot for the wheel is at the center of the geometry.
  • Name your wheels and don’t make it too complicated.
  • Simply use the ‘Select and Link’ button and attach them all together. Don’t mess with bones etc. you don’t need them.
  1. Exporting: Because of the units setup in 1 above, just use automatic scale 1.0. Trust me, don’t mess with units. Your System Unit using mm but displays cm will not work. I thought it would work as I could just change the scale when exporting, boy was I wrong! I tried creating 3 projects and got 3 different outcomes like my vehicle bounces non-stop, or the wheel sinks into the ground, and even falling off the chassis. Wasted days on this and I finally thought about changing the system unit, which isn’t exactly the most obvious thing to do.

  2. Importing: I’m on 4.8.1 so you just need to check ‘Import as Skeletal’ at the top and that’s all. Some videos and tutorials are for older versions and may seem different so just ignore them.

So those are what I think are THE MOST IMPORTANT things to note when creating your vehicle. If anyone has other things to add just post it here. I’m still a beginner by the way, just thought about sharing and hope others will be able to solve their problems by following the above. Saves a lot of forum posts anyway right? Btw, sorry about my english if it seems confusing. And if this is the wrong section please help me move this.