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Why game studios prefer use Max instead Maya?

polycounter lvl 5
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marco_3D_artist polycounter lvl 5
I'm an environment and Prop artist and I use Maya for modeling and UV and I don't understand why some studio prefer Max, is just for modeling tools or something else?


  • oglu
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    oglu polycount lvl 666
    In most cases its the pipeline in the studio. The first lead was a max user. The studio grows and they build a team around it. To build a game you need more than just modeling tools. Thats only a small part. 
  • Neox
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    Neox high dynamic range
    really is that still the case? for my perspective, pretty much all the bigger projects are maya based by now.
    maybe its just our specific bubble, but as a (originally) max house, this certainly changed hard in the past 5-10 years
  • Eric Chadwick
    Maya leads, at least in our informal Polycount poll.
    Poll: Main 3D Modeling Software
  • musashidan
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    musashidan high dynamic range
    Yeah, it's been a few years since Max was top dog in games studios, seems that Maya has tipped the balance over the years.
  • marco_3D_artist
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    marco_3D_artist polycounter lvl 5
    Thank you, everybody, for the answer!! 
  • Nars
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    Nars polycounter lvl 6
    It's up to each individual studio, at my work its mostly maya users, and im the only max one with a bit of maya knowledge.
    But in general its the same answer as with "Why Max/maya more used than others?", it's just the tools and pipeline already in set.
    Moving to another package takes artist's time + tools creation time + more error prone, so studios usually stick to what they know/have.
  • pOgOstyle
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    pOgOstyle polycounter lvl 8
    Thanks Mark for taking you your time for one of the most creativity post i ever saw in a forum! Made my day!
  • marco_3D_artist
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    marco_3D_artist polycounter lvl 5
    Yeah, it's been a few years since Max was top dog in games studios, seems that Maya has tipped the balance over the years.
    Yep. Max has some decent modeling tools and workflows but it's really fallen behind in terms of animation and for studios that have anything other than a bare bones animation pipeline, they are going to pick software that is more than likely to support their full pipeline in a way that works for every department not just one or two. For games that don't really have a lot of animation they can probably get by with just 3dsmax but anything past that is going to require workflows that 3dsmax just can't support.

    This is going to come across as a bit of a rant but it's my personal expereince. 10+ years with 3dsmax (modeling and animating). 5+ years with Maya (animating).

    The pricing structure makes supporting Max and Maya a huge headache. So you're forced to pick one or the other and picking the package that can't support a full pipeline means Max isn't likely to get picked.

    Animating in 3dsmax is pointless and fucking annoying. I did it for 9 years, I fuckin hate animating in 3dsmax. While I still prefer it for modeling unwrapping and the modifier stack, I can't animate in it. The rigging tools are garbage and haven't been updated in a decade. Working with morphs is a huge complicated mess that forces you to rely on ancient plug-ins just for basic functionality, with no possible hope of ever elevating it to the level that Maya has achieved.

    3dsmax is a smoldering pile of garbage when it comes to animation.

    3dsmax graph editor is horrible to work with. Out of the box the graph editor is completely broken and disjointed with the most screwed up UI customization scheme ever cooked up by a retarded chimp. How they could consider that "shippable" for so long is kind of amazing. If you're dumb enough to use CAT you'll quickly regret it. Biped was rock solid for a really long time but they've managed to make it completely unworkable. The use of quaternion while admirable in thought when trying to slay the dreaded gimbal lock, in practice it falls apart and makes editing curves a total pain in the ass. 

    So CAT is garbage, Biped is pretty much garbage, what do you have left? Custom rigs? Well that's another area that 3dmax falls apart. While other tools actually worked on making the rigging process easier and more robust 3dsmax just pointed to biped and CAT as if they could handle it all. Facial animation? Morphs? Mocap transfer and clean up? 

    The lack of proper file referencing makes managing rigs across a multitude of animation files severely limiting. It is critical that a rig be maintained in a single file and referenced into every animation file of which there can be hundreds. That way the rig can be updated and the changes propagate through all of the animations. The way you have to work around that limitation in max is by loading and saving animations in and out of a single file where your rig resides. Will it load/unload the anims correctly? Will the scene go corrupt? Will you get memory leaks? Will there be several files you have to manage (fbx, bip). With a few different formats making up your animation pipeline it can lead to dozens of problems if they don't fit together which is highly susceptible to scene corruption, another thing max likes to do while you're in the middle of production even if you aren't animating. 

    It's animation mixer which is just a bastardized version of the ancient character studio tool, is probably one of the easiest ways to screw up your animation, not to mention no where near feature competent.

    Anim layers are horrible in 3dsmax, if it doesn't screw up your animation or corrupt your scene it's UI will make you take a spoon to your eye sockets while also slowing production to a snails pace.

    The inability to transfer animations between rigs of different hierarchies, is very disappointing. 

    The viewport playback is another sore spot. Having to render out previews just to see your anim playing at full speed, come on max... It's not the hardware either. So great at pushing a ton of verts around in a scene, can barely push a skinned mesh past 24fps.

    Really thank you for your answer;)  now I'm  clear ;)
  • Eric Chadwick
    All that is valid appraisal. I think it would help to be aware that 3ds Max is primarily geared towards architecture customers, not game developers. It started as a visualization tool, and I suspect that subscription base is still their largest block of paying users.

    Game developers are likely a very tiny slice of their pie. There could be money there, but I suspect any effort there is more of a way to integrate innovation, which ultimately benefits archviz. That's just my guess though.
  • thomasp
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    thomasp hero character
    All that is valid appraisal. I think it would help to be aware that 3ds Max is primarily geared towards architecture customers, not game developers.
    Well - it was Autodesk's (formerly Discreet's) offering to game developers in the late 90's/early 2000's and I suppose that is why we still have to deal with it. If memory serves it wasn't until Max 2010 that they started this move towards 'design' and away from games. I do recall Max 8, 9, 2008 all had a games focus, they also brought CAT on around that point so there must have been a plan. Right? RIGHT???? :)

  • knacki
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    knacki polycounter lvl 10
    Not a pro user, but bought 3ds max in version 5.
    Max was pretty open to any direction those days. 
    Latest after take over from Autodesk and finally Autodesk took over Alias with Maya, the Mess started.
    Since then, every update is more a jealous look over to what Maya got.
    What happened to 3ds max regarding entertaining industry tools is simply poor.
    3ds max was planned to let die as an arch render bitch, imho.
    But still too much users are non architects, so they get some breadcrumbs.
    And I saw Softimage passed away out of my subscription as well :'(
  • CreativeSheep
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    CreativeSheep polycounter lvl 8
    Max is still use in alot of game pipelines, and for Arch as well.  Although personally if I just wanted to model I'd choose neither Maya or Max, but Modo, as Maya cannot be beat for Animation.

  • Klunk
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    Klunk sublime tool
    friend and fellow games artist, once described modelling in maya (moving from a max to a maya studio) as trying to type in boxing gloves. Though that was back in 2003. Current usage is also probably down to how easy it was to get hooky versions in college about 10 yrs ago. ;)
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