The life of a scenery designer, act 2, scene 3:
After months of development time and countless head-on-desk bashing sessions, my rendition of Sitka, Alaska for the upcoming Tongass Fjords project is nearly done. I won’t bore you with gory details of things that I had to figure out or re-invent to make this project look the way I think it should.
Okay, maybe a little.
I woke up today determined to ship the final version of PASI (Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport) to Holger so I can move on to Petersburg and wrap the project up. The only thing I had left to do was add the taxiway and runway lighting. Simple. Well, simple except that I was using a technique I hadn’t tried before that employs BGL_LIGHT commands of various stripes to create a library of lights that I can then attach to boxes positioned in the right spot on my master scenery template.
The only problem I was having with the technique was that the lights didn’t show up. So, I cruised around the usual scenery designer forum haunts to try and get some virtual assistance with the problem. I probably spent something on the order of two hours searching to no result. Using my pathetic powers of deduction, I decided to create a simple single-pole light with an attached effect and place it somewhere besides PASI for testing. At Juneau, it turned out, it worked great. At Sitka, nothing. Head smacking on desk again. Noticing Holger was on instant messenger, I sent up a flare asking for help. Being the level-headed sort that he is, he quickly helped me isolate the problem. There was an exclude file that resided in a different folder than the root scenery directory I was working in which effectively blocked any objects from being attached in my PASI. Turns out that if your exclude files block library objects, that ends up including all attached objects as well, even if they reside above the exclude in the loading order.
Armed with this new knowledge, it was a simple matter of remaking the exclude for PASI by excluding each little building MS placed there individually. Grrrr. Another hour down the drain. Then I went back into Max and re-exported my light files using the attached objects, and voila! They worked. I spent the rest of the afternoon creating and placing the various blue, red, green, white and strobe lights around the airport in about the right spots. Finally, a couple of hours after that, everything was hunky dory.
Except that now, when you taxi to the far end of Rwy 11, the lights go out before you reach the end. Double grrrr. I know what the problem is; it has to do with the V2 parameter and the object’s bounding box. To ice the cake, I also see now that the autogen forests around PASI have been clearcut by the addition of the lights, also a bounding box issue.
So, instead of sitting on my little pillow and slobbering my way through yet another box of bon-bons, I now have to divide up the runway into smaller sections of lights and place each section individually in order to solve the bounding errors and regrow my forests. That will no doubt eat up tomorrow morning, at a minimum. This would probably not be a good time to needle me about the high cost of addon sceneries.