Alamo Object Importer

The Alamo Object Importer lets you import .ALO and .ALA files into 3D Studio Max.

Note that if an imported model has dazzles they will not be imported in 3d Studio Max 6, 8 and 2013, because Petroglyph's exporter for those version does not support dazzles. Similarly, proxies will not be imported in 3d Studio Max 2013.


With this importer comes great responsibility. Do NOT rip off other people's work and try to pass it off as your own. Let's all work towards a friendly community!


To ensure that the importer works properly, please make ensure the following prerequisites are met before installing and using the importer:

  • Install Petroglyph's Alamo Exporter for 3D Studio Max. As described, make sure you install the correct Service Pack as well.

    For 3d Studio Max 2013, this is not required (since the exporter doesn't work for 3d Studio Max 2013), but then you won't be able to import proxies and dazzles.


The importer consists of two files, a utility plugin (alamo2max.dlu) and the actual importer script (

  1. Copy alamo2max.dlu to the "Plugins" directory in your 3ds Max installation.
  2. Copy to the "Scripts" directory in your 3ds Max installation.
  3. Start 3ds Max
  4. Open Customize > Preferences and go to the MAXScript tab. Set the initial heap allocation to a more comfortable amount, say, at least 150 MBytes. Close the preferences window.
Step 1: Setup

To import a model, go to the Utilities Panel (with the hamer icon), open the MAXScript sub-panel, and click "Run Script". Select "" from the Scripts folder. Now select "Alamo Object Importer 1.0" from the Utilities list (you may need to explicitly click it again). If all went well, the Importer panel should now be open.

Use the + and - buttons to add/remove texture and shader paths before importing. The importer will look in these folders for the tga/dds files when loading textures and fx files when creating DirectX9 materials.

  • Empire at War / Forces of Corruption:
    For EaW and FoC it is recommended to extract both Textures.meg into different folders and then add those folders to the list (FoC first, since that overrides EaW textures). Add a single shader folder, identifying the shader sources in Mods\Source\Data\Art\Shaders in the FoC installation folder.
  • Universe at War:
    For UaW you should do similarly: extract Textures.meg, add the folder and add the shader sources folder.

If the paths are set incorrectly, the importer will complain during import when it cannot find textures or shaders.

Note: these paths are remembered when 3dsmax is shut down.

With the paths set, you can now import models.

Step 2: Importing

Click the "Import Alamo Object" button and select an ALO file to import. The importer will also look for all .ALA files that share the same base name in the same folder and load those as animations.

If there are already objects in the scene, the importer will ask where to connect the imported model to. Use this to import hardpoints at their correct spot.

The importer will read the model and animation files, create the various bones, meshes, lights, proxies and dazzles, set their Alamo properties, connect everything together, create materials, find textures, skin the meshes, animate the bones and add the animations to the Alamo Utility.

If all went well, no error will be displayed. Otherwise, common errors include having an animation which is invalid for the model file, or you did not attempt to load a model.

The model is imported completely ready for export.

  • If you want the viewports to show the models as they are in-game, you need to make sure 3d Studio Max runs with the Direct3D driver. Depending on your version of 3d Studio Max, this can be done by choosing "Change Graphics Driver" from the Start Menu.
  • The standard shaders as they come with Empire at War's official mod tools do not work out of the box with all versions of 3d Studio Max. Known issues:
    • The shader doesn't compile with error "No valid techniques found".
      This error can occur if the shader contains a fixed-function technique, that is, a technique with a VertexShader and/or PixelShader that is NULL.
      Remove these techniques from the file.
    • My models don't show up in the viewport.
      If, after importing, your model is there (selectable, has a bounding box, etc), but is just invisible even though the shader is correctly compiled, then the problem is that Petroglyph's shaders rely on the "m_viewProj" variable with VIEWPROJECTION semantics; this is not supported by 3d Studio Max.
      You'll have to rewrite this code to execute "mul(m_view, m_projection)" instead. Since I don't own the copyright on the shader code, I can't redistribute a fixed version of them.
v1.2:Added support for 3d Studio Max 2013(2017/01/02)
v1.1:Fixed a small issue with visibility tracks(2008/07/06)
v1.0:Initial release(2008/06/18)