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Exporting to Fbx: 3ds Max, Maya, and Blender

This guide covers the correct methods for exporting to an Fbx file. Necessary settings are described for three software packages: 3ds Max, Maya, and Blender.


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Important note on coordinate axes

As described in the "2.1. Coordinate axes" of the main guide, the truck is oriented along the OX axis in the game.
The OY axis is pointing up. The OZ axis is pointing to the left.

coordinate axes

This orientation corresponds to the (x, y, -z) axes in Maya:
axes in Maya

And, in 3DS Max, to the (x, z, y) axes:
axes in 3DS Max

In Blender, the axes are the same as in 3DS Max. So, the orientation of the game corresponds to the (x, z, y) axes orientation in Blender:
axes in Blender

Thus, to correctly export your truck, the forward axis of your truck should be looking in the direction of the OX axis during the export.

Export Settings in your 3D editor should match the screenshots below exactely. Be sure to refer to the correct section that corresponds to your 3D editor software package.

After exporting, when you come to specify truck properties in XML, you should take into account the difference in orientation of the axes as described above.

For example:
If the coordinates of the center of the wheel of your truck in 3Ds Max or Blender are (1; 2; 3), then in the XML description of this wheel you need to specify "(1; 3; 2)" as the value of the Pos attribute:
Pos="(1; 3; 2)"

Preparing the scene in 3ds Max

In 3Ds Max, bones, helpers or meshes can be used as the skinning bones.
However, for the SnowRunner engine:

  • a helper has no difference from a bone, indeed - it is just a frame.
  • but, a mesh is viewed by this engine as a frame with a cdt object.

The SnowRunner engine uses two types of frames:

  • Frames of the physical model (“physical frames”) - these frames must have a cdt shape.
  • Non-physical frames - a non-physical frame cannot have a shape. It is also a must.

We recommend that you use one of the following approaches for setting up a truck in 3ds Max:

  • Approach #1: Editable Poles for physical frames; Bones or helpers for non-physical frames.
  • Approach #2: All frames can be made using bones. Necessary cdt-meshes should be added as children of corresponding bones. Names of these meshes should start with “cdt”.
  • Approach #3: If you reuse the setup from MudRunner, then you need to remove shapes on the non-physical bones. For example, You can do this using the DeleteMesh modifier, for example.

Before export, we recommended that you use the Reset xForm utility for all objects.

Reset xForm

All materials must have the correct names. Only Latin characters, digits, and “_" are allowed. Names should not contain special characters (with the exception of “_").

You only need to export skinned meshes, bones, and cdt meshes. Therefore, we recommend you to use Export > Export selection.

Export selection

Export settings should be as follows:

Export Settings

Preparing the scene in Maya

The unit settings in the scene should be as follows:

unit settings

Export settings:

Export Settings

Preparing the scene in Blender

NOTE: This document provides settings for Blender 2.82.

Scene settings

To ensure that the units in the scene and in the game both match, the settings in Blender should look like the following:

unit settings

With these settings, the import of the fbx-template can be done with the default settings of the importer.

Setup of the truck

In the scene, the truck should be located in the direction of the X axis.

truck located in the X direction

The orientation of the bones is important for the description of the truck behavior. Therefore, to achieve simpler and more convenient XML descriptions, we recommend you to build a skeleton using Keep Offset Parent.

keep offset parent

Collision objects can be parented to physical bones as follows:

parenting of collision object


The architecture of the skeleton in Blender is different from the same architecture in most 3D tools. When exporting to Fbx, the system creates an additional Armature node, which is the root node of the skeleton. All skinned meshes are at the same level of hierarchy with this node.

The picture on the left displays the hierarchy after conversion from Maya or 3dsMax. The picture on the right shows the hierarchy in Blender.

hierarchy after conversion from Maya or 3dsMax hierarchy from Blender

Due to the creation of the additional Armature node, the engine converter cannot parent the skinned geometry under the root bone and so forcibly creates the RootNode node by itself.

Wrong workaround for the Armature issue

In XML, you can explicitly specify the root bone using the ModelFrame attribute. In this case the extra nodes will be ignored.

However, in the case of this approach, the root frame will actually remain in the spawn point, since the root node remains in place. So, the system will incorrectly identify the coordinates of the truck. This will lead to the incorrect operation (for example, in the game, the zones on the map will not open).

Correct workaround for the Armature issue

Nodes that are not described in XML are ignored (they are forcibly attached to the parent nodes). Therefore, we may consider the RootNode, which was created during conversion, as a root physical bone. To work correctly in Havok, this node must have a collision object. So, for correct operation, you need to change the hierarchy and re-parent the cdt mesh: move it from its current position under the root bone and put it at the level of hierarchy where the Armature skeleton is:

armature workaround blender img1

armature workaround blender img 2

In fact, we will have the RootNode as a physical bone responsible for working in Havok and the BoneRootNodeSkin as a skinning-bone responsible for the deformation of the geometry.

correct workaround

In the case of this approach, an explicit description of the root bone in XML is not necessary, but if you want to do it, then you need to remember that the RootNode is always the root.

Export Settings

To avoid exporting unnecessary components, use Export Selected Objects and disable the addition of leaf bones. The settings for this are shown below:

Export Settings


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feew448 @feew448

Very please video tutorial! I am from Russian (

unsane_chimera @unsane-chimera

Is there a way to open a mesh from the game in blender?

bolshoy_ru @bolshoy-ru

import fbx

mlr321 @mlr321

hi, i'm getting "unable to crate d3d device" when trying to convert this model for use in-game. i followed all the instructions, and it's hard to diagnose the issue without a more descriptive error log.

mlr321 @mlr321

can you show me what the blender structure should look like for the root node issue?

WelkinStrideR @welkinstrider

unsane_chimera There is, the Quick Guide: Adding Trucks from this site shows you how to export vehicles from the game into FBX files. Then, in Blender go to File>Import>FBX and find the folder that SnowRunner created. There are a bunch of FBX there for upgrades and for the truck itself. Don't forget to edit the scene settings as described above before importing the truck FBX or it'll be scaled improperly.

unsane_chimera @unsane-chimera

cheers, thank you :)

wildiness @wildiness

When exporting to .FBX from Blender using a 0.01 unit scale and centimeters the models appear 100x too large in game. I.E to get a 50 cm wide object in game it needs to be 0.5 cm in blender. So why even set the unit scale and unit in blender?

PuppyMaster_aka_DW77 @puppymaster2

Oh good, so it's not just me LOL

mrkenao @mrkenao

Please tell how extract the model from the game to 3ds max?

jamoser95 @jamoser95

some one needs to make a tutorial on this what do you do with the fbx file after you have it where do you put it?

ryltzev.o @ryltzevo

Уважаемые авторы как отобразить текстуры на модели в редакторе после экспорта из 3дс макс с нуля?

Iceberg101 @edison-joseph

After exporting the default truck mod from blender with the changes to cdt_RootNode as per this guide, what are the explicit changes made to the mod_truck.xml file because I get the error "root node has no children"

x_Excite_x @excite-x-x

how to make cdt in 3d max?

Johnjohnadam92 @johnjohnadam92

hi does daz 3d work with snowrunner

Cooler88 @cooler88

could you please update the blender export for newest version of blender? Export is doing some kind of issues to me.