I've put together a quick video going over the major new features that have been added to this plugin in the last few releases.
I have just posted a download for release Beta 1.07. This release is largely focused on improving the node graph editor to allow for better interoperation with Cycles in Blender in the future. It also contains some bugfixes unrelated to the node graph editor.
I wanted to post a quick update about the status of the next release of this plugin because I'm going to miss the release date stated in my previous news post. My original plan was to get it out by the end of January, but implementing support for RGB/XYZ curves in the node graph editor has taken me longer than I initially expected. I'll be holding back the next release until I can finish adding support for curves. My best estimate now is that it will be ready in about a week.
It has been a while since I have posted a roadmap, so here is a short summary of the features I plan on adding to this plugin before the 1.0 release. If all goes well, I should be able to finally get 1.0 out later this year.
Right now I am largely focused on improving the node graph editor. This consists of adding support for (almost) all of the Cycles nodes that are not in this plugin yet, including Object Info, Geometry, Wireframe, and more. I have also been working on some minor UI improvements including a new RGB color picker.
I expect a to make a release including these improvements near the end of January.
Once the node graph editor has more complete support for all of the node types in Cycles, I will write a plugin for Blender that allows a user to import and export shaders in a format compatible with the Max plugin. This will allow you to easily send any Cycles shader created in Blender to Max and vice-versa.
Creating this plugin will be my top priority once the graph editor improvements detailed above have been released.
This feature is a recent addition to Cycles that will be supported by this plugin in a future release.
The plugin currently has very limited support for lights. I'll be adding support for more of Max's built-in light types including directional lights and spot lights.
Along with these new light types, I will also be adding support for light portals.
The approximation of Max's Physical Material currently used by this plugin has a few areas I hope to improve.
First, the current method used to convert the material's height map to a normal map can produce quite bad-looking results with some height maps. Instead of continuing with the current method of converting from height map to normal map inside of a shader at render-time, I plan on extending the texture baker to allow it to bake out a high quality normal map from a height map as part of the texture-baking phase.
Second, a number of parameters of the Physical Material are still unsupported. The approximation used by this plugin will be improved to support anisotropy, subsurface scattering, thin-walled transparency, and possibly cutout maps.
I will be adding support for using Cycles Render Passes as Render Elements in Max.
The plugin will be updated to support OpenCL for AMD users. This is near the bottom of my list for development priority right now, but I do want to get OpenCL support in before version 1.0
If there are any other features of either Max or Cycles that you would like to see the plugin support, let me know either in a comment below or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org