Tools Used: 3ds MAX 4.2 (most of this material should apply to earlier versions of max)
Texporter - for exporting mapping coordinates to an image
A few months ago, I was given a project: design 10-15 asteroids, appropriate for use in a real-time 3d space shooter game. My requirements were: each asteroid should be 4,000 - 8,000 polygons (to be scaled down in-game), have its own texture map (up to 512x512), and have minimal texture stretching and seams. This tutorial explains how I achieved this.
This tutorial is NOT meant for novice MAX users. It involves using a fairly large number of tools and plugins, and I simply cannot explain the workings of each of them. I did, however, separate the steps in this tutorial into two categories - crucial, and optional. The optional steps are often more complicated, but they're the details I couldn't find in any other tutorials, and they're the reason for this tutorial's existence. They're colored yellow. So follow all the steps if you can, but if you're having trouble, start with the basics.
Note: Some of the images have been scaled down, to fit better on the page. Simply click an image to bring up the full-resolution version.
Without further adieu, load up Max, and we'll begin!