ATEC Hates Me: I don't have the right Maya version
PROBLEM: I Don’t Have the Right Version of Maya
At some point, the smart folks at Autodesk decided it would be a good idea not to make any of their software backwards compatible. However, if you’re willing to accept the risk of some data corruption, you can work around this limitation.
Make sure to delete all history on your scene in the newer version, then open the older Maya. In the File menu, click on the check box next to “open”. Then, check “ignore version”. This will allow you to open many older files without too much data loss.
If this doesn’t work, try importing the scene using File – Import.
If you’re working on only a few models, you can export them as OBJs by loading the “obj exporter” plugin. To do this, go to Window – Settings and Preferences – plugin manager. Now, when you go to file – export you will have the option to save as an obj file. You can also combine all the geometry in your scene, then export it all as one obj. This technique has gotten me out of some very tricky situations.
Then, you can export your shaders from the Hypershade and import them later. This is a tedious workaround, but it works most of the time.
If you save your file out as an MA instead of an MB, it will create an editable text document defining your scene. This also includes metadata that contains the version of Maya it was created in. Just hit Ctrl-F and search for 2009, 2008, 8.5, or whatever, and change the number to the version you want. Maya WILL try to load the file if you do this properly, but if it can’t handle the data, it will crash.