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Aaron Ross avatar image
Aaron Ross asked ·

Please revert installation policies instituted in 3ds Max 2021

In 3ds Max 2021, the installation folder for the factory version of MAXtoA has been moved. Previous versions of MAXtoA were installed to:

C:\ProgramData\Autodesk\ApplicationPlugins\MAXtoA_2021

Now the factory version is being installed to the 3ds Max Program Files folder:

C:\Program Files\Autodesk\3ds Max 2021\ApplicationPlugins\MAXtoA

The factory version of MAXtoA cannot be uninstalled.

The factory version of MAXtoA cannot be downgraded to an earlier version.

When the user installs a later version of MAXtoA, it is installed to the ProgramData folder. The factory version is left in the Program Files folder. Now the user has two different versions of MAXtoA installed.

I very strongly disagree with these design decisions and believe that they have been made without considering the implications for users.

The fact that the plugin is installed in two different places is a problem in itself. I guess the assumption is that there will never be any version conflict. Forgive me if I question that assumption. Even if there is no version conflict, this is an extremely confusing situation for users and system administrators.

The fact that the factory plugin version cannot be uninstalled is a very big problem. This breaks the entire logic of plugins. If Arnold is an integral part of 3ds Max, then it would make sense that it cannot be uninstalled. But Arnold is not part of Max, it is a plugin.

And finally, the fact that users cannot downgrade the plugin to a version earlier than the factory version is a huge problem. It assumes that there are no bugs introduced with the factory version. That is an assumption that has no basis in reality. The developers must know that bugs are introduced all the time. Users need an escape route.

Please pass this up the chain of command. MAXtoA is a plugin. It must be treated like a plugin, in all regards. Just because it's the default renderer does not change the fact that it's a plugin. These policies are overly confident and not in the interests of users.

Thank you

Aaron

maxtoa
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Aaron Ross avatar image
Aaron Ross answered ·

Here's a real-world gotcha situation. The factory version of MAXtoA has some new bug. The workaround is to install an old version of MAXtoA. But we can't do that because MAXtoA does not show up in Windows Settings, therefore it can't be uninstalled. Max will load the most recent version of MAXtoA even though that is not what the user needs. The assumption that the most recent version is always the best version is just flat out wrong and seems arrogant. I just found a serious bug in MAXtoA that could only be resolved by reverting to an earlier build.

Users are not going to know anything about this. They won't know there is a secret version of MAXtoA installed in the 3ds Max Program Files. They won't know anything about PackageContents.xml or any other tweaky techy stuff. They will just think that they are trapped with the wrong version and they will understandably be super frustrated and angry.

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Aaron Ross avatar image
Aaron Ross answered ·

Thank you Stephen, I have brought this up in the 3ds Max beta and the Arnold beta, and was pretty much ignored. That's why I brought it up here, in public, to shine a light on the issue.

Please change this plugin installation regime, it's a nightmare for users. I don't care if there's a mechanism to detect and load only the most recent version. Please install MAXtoA to a single consistent folder and make it visible in the Windows Settings app. Just because Arnold is the default renderer does not mean you should be messing with the way it's installed. From a user perspective this is just disrespectful to us.

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Stephen Blair avatar image
Stephen Blair answered ·

That's because Arnold is now the default renderer, so the 3ds Max team wants the default renderer to always be installed. I believe this was in the beta for quite awhile; it's not something that was added just for the public release.

You may want to bring this up on the 3ds Max beta forums.


3ds Max will scan the ApplicationPlugins folders and load the most recent MAXtoA.

In future versions, the Plugin Package Manager will pop up an error if you have multiple copies of the same version.

The escape route is to edit the PackageContents.xml in the MAXtoA plugins folder.

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