I reckon to a good degree it was simply Max' reputation, it's widespread use and the resulting available documentation for it, it's compatibility with most games back then and the fact that it allows to deliver high-quality results in most modelling-related fields, from rendering to animating.
Discussing whether it's better or worse than any other modelling app for JKA stuff is as moot as discussing taste tho. Technically, Maya is clearly superior to it, likely Blender is as well, and maybe XSI is too, but most people, especially anyone who just models for JKA, won't ever reach the technical limits of Max anyways, so it really only boils down to the kind of workflow one prefers. Nothing else.
Max sure isn't slower than any other modelling tool out there tho, that's entirely related to your rig. Just as running Photoshop CS3 or higher on a PC with the bare minimum specs won't make you enjoy working with it either.
wait hold on, what do you mean unless you want to edit the model itself, using ModView sure is the quicker, more convenient way. How is that possible to edit the model itself using modview ? i know how to use modview, but that program only lets you view the model not alter it, if you did alter it with another program say adobe photoshop, modview will allow you to see your alteration of the model. so if i want to see and edit the model from the glm file would i have to use 3ds max or xsi softimage ?
Yes, exactly. You need a 3d modelling app like Max 4-8 (other versions can't import .glm) or Softimage|XSI to edit a model.
Keep in mind that importing a model into any 3d modelling tool will remove some essential data, making it impossible to simply export and use that model again. To be able to use your edited model in JKA, you have to recompile it and for that, you'll need to learn how to weight and link it.
Yes you need either XSI or 3ds max to import and edit the game models, but you'll be looked down upon by most since nothing you create from it will truly be yours.
@Someone On the pc I have now i can run a model with a few hundred thousand polies with ease where max could barely make it to 100k before experiencing a huge drop in performance sometimes leading up to instability of the program. I could even leave XSI open for days and days and see no drop in performance, like most people I've talked too though they used max cause it was easy to figure out. I'm not just saying this. I used max for a few years before I started animating stuff and it couldn't get it in game and I was using XSI for that. Then I just figured why not just use 1 program and got rid of max and there isn't a single thing about it that it can do better, especially with all the property editors for every tool to customize each result.
Oh yeah, watch this video, it speaks the truth, ICE+Gigapolygon Processor>Anything max has to offer.
so how do you create a model, im guessing from scratch if your unable to use another and edit it ? is there a tutorial that will teach you ?
There is no single tutorial. Thing is, creating a model is a task that can be seperated into several steps and each of them is usually covered by a general tutorial as each of these sub-tasks allows for a lot of liberty and creativity.
The first step is making the mesh. For that you need to learn a modelling technique, f.i. box modelling (i.e. making an object by extruding a box to resemble the desired shape), sculpting, plane-modelling, etc.. There's plenty of tutorials around for any kind, regardless of the modelling app you're gonna use. Keep in mind that making a mesh for a player model or anything that's going to be animated differs from making a mesh for renders. For a mesh you plan to see animated, you need to make sure the vertices and edges define the areas of and between deformation(s).
The second step is UVmapping the mesh. Basically, this defines how the texture will be placed onto the mesh; Easy to learn - hard to master. The following tutorial is for 3ds max, but if you get the general idea of it, you can UVmap in most, if not all 3d apps: UVW-Mapping in 3DS Max
The third step is texturing. Closely linked to the UVmapping and depending on the quality of your UVmaps and your texturing skills, you may end up making a lot of changes to the UVmaps again here. Depends on the image editing program you're gonna use. Photoshop, Gimp or w/e, decide and then google for the kind of texturing tutorials you need for each part of your model for it.
The fourth step would be the creation of the caps, the areas where limbs can be dismembered. JKA with it's sabers and melee weapons needs this for a good model.
The fifth step is adjusting the tags. That means to simply move the bolts of your skeleton to fit the model and, if neccessary, add new ones as needed. This tells the game where the hitbox of your model begins and where to place weapons or effects (like jetpack fumes).
The sixth step would be linking. This sets the hierarchy of the mesh and tells each part where it's position is. The place where everything meets in JKA are the hips.
The seventh step is the weighting or rigging of the mesh - the most complained about step in the bunch. This process basically defines the strenght of the deformation (1 being a full deformation by the selected bone, 0 being no deformation at all. Soft transitions, like clothes or skin are usually done with a gradual increase/decrease of the weights towards/away from the area where the bones meet.) How you apply those values (aka weights) depends on your modelling program, but there's tutorials for XSI and 3ds max respectively.
The last step is to compile the model from .xsi to .glm with the SDK from Raven. There's a thread about it on the Void that'll teach you pretty much all you need to know about it, with a good deal of experienced modelers sharing some knowledge.
Of course, the order of these steps isn't set in stone and can be varied at logical points to fit your preference (logically, you can't make the UVmaps before making a mesh, or expect a successful compile without applying the weights) and that's it. Go through the steps from one to eight and you have your own self-made model.
wait a minute, isnt there art work required in making the model ?