Preparations for building content for Source with Max

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In order to compile content for use in Source you should be using Max 7 or newer.

A list of recommended tools

This reduces the amount of time you spend compiling the SMDs to MDLs. It can convert TGAs to VTF as well.
VTFEdit allows greater degree of control for importing TGAs and has more options than StudioCompiler's converter.
Copy the plugins to your 3DS Max plugins directory.
Free plugin that adds several features for level creation into Max including a walls and floors creator. It also includes an "export to map" feature that can export a scenes contents into the .map format that is compatible with older (3.4) versions of the Hammer Editor.

Units Setup

Begin by entering the Units Setup dialog.

Maxunits1.png

Choose the display units you like to work with. I have chosen centimeters because it gives best compromise between accuracy and usability.

Maxunits2.png

In the System Unit Setup, choose Inches.

Maxunits3.png

Click OK and you're done.