HitchHiker Update v4.4

Oct 9, 2010 by     29 Comments    Posted under: 3dsMax, DotNet, User Controls


I’ve been so swamped with work this last year, my planned update to Hitchhiker had to be stalled. It’s a shame really, as I have had a working version of the updated assembly for a while but no time to update the help files to show how to use it. However I’ve been pleased with the progress made in it’s place – I’ve been able to write RigStudio, Digit and Character Silo which I’m really proud of. Hopefully I will get a bit of breathing space to allow me to concentrate on next generation 3dsMax UI stuff, namely learning WPF.

There are a few updates – mainly from great feedback I’ve had from the community. I am glad people are using HitchHiker in any way to augment their Asset Browsing scripts. With the new additions that I’ve made, I am hoping this will be even better.

Please let me know if you like Hitchhiker and use it for anything useful. You feedback is critical as my time tends to be limited. So if i feel people are using the control I can spend my time improving it. I’d love to spend all my time refining this control but there are so many other project that I have to work on! But feedback on any level will always motivate me to fix and improve!

Recent Updates/Fixes –

v4.4 – 19th January 2011

Added the .buttonborder <boolean> property. If you set this to false, Hitchhiker will not render the black border around each control. If used with the .gap <integer> property set to 0, Hitchhiker will render like a seamless section of tiles.


Instantiating HitchHiker

I had to have a re-organisation of my namespaces as they were getting confusing. Since HitchHiker isn’t really anything to do with characters, i decided to change the default namespace to lonerobot.ui.controls. If you have any scripts that were written with the previous release of this assembly, you can just do a search and replace of ‘character’ for ‘controls’

make sure that you call dotnet.loadassembly <hitchhiker dll location> in your script before using.

if using on a dotnetform or maxform – dotNetobject “lonerobot.ui.controls.hitchhiker”

if using on a maxrollout – dotNetcontrol “lonerobot.ui.controls.hitchhiker” width:<int> height:<int>

please refer to the hitchhiker tab at the top of this site for more detailed help, all these are still valid

Additions to Version 4.4 of HitchHiker

Max file support –

Hitchiker will now support the searching of the Maxfile type. Not only this, you can render an associated thumbnail directly from the assembly to be displayed with the file when previewing it in HitchHiker.

Additional populate methods –

Hitchhiker was always designed to operate on a folder level, whatever was inside with the designated filetype was displayed. Now you have two options.

populate (by directory string)

populate (by file array)

This means you can now pass an array of filepath strings to be displayed in the hitchhiker window.

This can also be utilised with the enhanced search parameters –  PopulateFilterSearch

Hitchhiker will now allow you to display files that start with, end with or contain certain characters. So if you are doing a recursive search population of many folders, you can tell it to only display those with a particular character’s name for example.

Other options is that you could prefix or suffix a filename “Approved” or “Unapproved” and allow the showing of approved files only.

Fast Cache Display Mode

Hitchhiker is reasonably fast in realtime mode, but (like most asset browsers) can slow down when loading multiple hi-resolution images inside folders. Hitchhiker has a display state that  can be set to cache – meaning the thumbnails are stored locally on the user’s machine, meaning that the slowdown only exists the first time the populate method is called. Subsequent calls result in the control being populated very fast!

hh.cache =  (dotnetclass “lonerobot.ui.controls.hitchhiker+cachestate”).cache

Store Favourites of your commonly used directories

Hitchhiker can now add locations that you use to populate from to save specifying the folder each time

Fully integrated toolbar

Hitchhiker can be run without the toolbar and it’s behaviour controlled entirely by script, but setting the toolbar to true allows you to do everything from the menu system, set thumbnail sizes, search parameters etc, meaning it really is a pretty comprehensive asset browser straight out of the box.

A few caveats I have noticed about this release –

Occasionally the keyboard focus can be stolen by HitchHiker if you close the dialog. Make sure you call the housekeeping function in your close handler, as this will make sure max gets it’s shortcuts back.

Feel free to download at the link below. If you find any issues with using this version of Hitchhiker, please let me know and I’ll do my best to fix it. I would ordinarily like to test a release more than this one has been – But didn’t want to delay the release this to the community any longer. I hope it helps you make great utilities with minimum effort.