Thinkbox Software has released XMesh, a set of tools for caching and reloading animated scene geometry.
The XMesh Saver MX and XMesh Loader MX plugins export and import data from 3ds Max in the XML-based XMesh format. The Saver plugin is commercial, while Loader is free for anyone to use.
Better than existing alternatives?
Thinkbox says that the new system generates smaller files than 3ds Max’s native Point Cache modifier. It also offers support for changing topology and stores the complete mesh definition, not just the vertex list.
Geometry import and export is an issue that the open-source Alembic file format is designed to address. However, as Thinkbox points out, 3ds Max does not yet support Alembic natively, unlike Maya or Houdini, meaning Max users’ only current option is to write their own I/O tools from the libraries available.
XMesh Saver MX costs $495 for a single licence. XMesh Loader MX is free. Versions of the plugins for Maya and Softimage are currently in development.
Download the XMesh plugins
(Saver plugin requires evaluation licence: available on request from Thinkbox Software)