Not sure if this is the right place to post this, but I've searched all over the place for a solution to this to no avail. Hopefully someone can help.
I've never worked with normal maps before so I decided to give it a shot. Looked up the process of making them in 3DS Max and everything and followed every direction I've seen to try and get it to work. Unfortunately, I seem to be doing something wrong because it never works.
Basically as an example of the problem I'm having, I made a simple cube. I unwrapped it and made sure none of the faces were touching on the UV map, and I assigned all the faces to a single smoothing group as I've seen suggested.
Then I made an identical cube and did a simple bevel on one of the faces. Presumably this bevel would properly show up on the normal map (as far as I'm aware).
Once I've got my two cubes done, I create the projection on the first non-beveled cube (labelled as box02, just to be clear) and make sure the cage properly surrounds both cubes as well as adding the beveled cube as a reference for it. Set up the render to texture to properly render the normal map (as far as I can tell), and let it do its thing.
Once it's done rendering, I get my normal map. Looks pretty good to me, not really sure if there's anything particularly wrong with it.
I take my normal map and set it as the bump map on my cube's material. Here's where it gets wonky. I've seen others with their normal map being fully rendered in their viewport (not sure how), mine simply looks like the normal map has been applied as a texture (even though it's specified in the bump map).
When I finally get to rendering my cube, the normal map simply doesn't work. I can see where the beveled face should be, but it's completely flat. No raised surface whatsoever.
Now it may just be my lack of experience and severe lack of sleep having been up all night, but I honestly can't tell what's wrong. The strange thing is that even when bringing the normal map into a game engine like TF2, it still doesn't work. So presumably it's something wrong with the actual creation of the normal map and not simply the renderer in Max. Quite frustrating, to say the least. Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong and how I can fix it?