FSX GMAX Material Navigator not available after Windows 10 upgrade

Bambi_007

Resource contributor
A Friend of Mine has since a few weeks a problem to start the Material Navigator.

The blue Doofnut is running ....... and no Material Navigator is popping up.

Since two weeks we are searching a solution.
Nothing help.

My gMax is running fine.

But when I give him my Copy of the FSX Gamepack Folder same blue Doofnut running.......

In the gmax.ini he is named as MaterialBrowser.

I can see him if I write in the MaxScript Listener:
max material browser

and press Enter

but if we do it by my friend on his PC - the Doofnut is running and running...........
 
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It's not ideal but here's what I do:

- Start gmax with FSX gamepack
- click File->Open...
- click the drop-down list where it says Look In:
- gmax will appear to hang, but for me after about 15 minutes the drop-down appears
- close the File Open window
- Now the material navigator will work

Avoid quitting gmax after this. It will be OK while running but if you quit
or it crashes then you have to repeat the above.

I have tried all the suggested remedies:
- Gmax installed to my F: drive (ie. not in default c:\gmax)
- UAC disabled
- run as administrator enabled
- windows 7 compatibility
- added exclusion on gmax folder for security
- using HEIDI driver

None of those things made any difference for me.
 

Bambi_007

Resource contributor
Thanks Barry - a friend of mine will give it a try.


EDIT:

The Hint was helpfull - it works fine.
Maybe the last Updates of OS was not propper. They have send a bug with the Update. If you click on the Buttton: Material Navigator, they start for searching - but what is he searching?

The ini maybe !?!
 
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Maybe the last Updates of OS was not propper. They have send a bug with the Update. If you click on the Buttton: Material Navigator, they start for searching - but what is he searching?
Good question. I've tried watching what gmax is doing by running ProcMon but it hasn't given me any useful hints.
 
Yes, I don't really think this it's relevant to the material navigator, my registry already has the correct Wow6432Node registry entries, so I think that this particular issue related to a one-off issue. Still, good to know that someone somewhere might crack this!
 
I haven't found the root cause, but here's another workaround:

In the "gmax\gamepacks\FSX_GmaxGamePack" folder, there should be a file called "abrowser.cfg". If not, then you should be able to copy it from "gmax\PlugCFG" folder into the FSX_GmaxGamePack folder.

(In case you don't have any abrowser.cfg file, open gmax.exe without the gamepack shortcut, open the material navigator, then close it and exit gmax. The file will be created in gmax\PlugCFG)

Now make sure that gmax is not running.

Open the abrowser.cfg file that's in the FSX_GmaxGamePack folder with notepad or your favorite text editor. In this file there should be a line like this:
LastDirectory=C:\gmax\

Change the above C:\gmax to an invalid drive name for your system. On my machine I don't have a G: drive, so I change the line like this:
LastDirectory=g:\

Save the file. The invalid drive will prevent the freeze when you open the material navigator.

Gmax will update this file everytime you close material navigator and replace the value with a valid path, causing the freeze to happen again. To prevent this I make the file Read-only:
- In file explorer, right click the abrowser.cfg file that you just edited and choose Properties...
- Under Attributes check the box that says Read-only and click OK

Now you can open Gmax with the FSX gamepack and open the material navigator.

You'll get a beep when opening material navigator due to the invalid drive. I don't know a way to prevent that, other than mute your audio.

Avoid exploring the file system in the material navigator as this will cause the freezeup. It seems to be OK to open material libraries. You can access any scene materials and also create new materials in the navigator. Just avoid clicking on the FileSystem radio button (I never do anyway).

This does not fix the freeze when clicking Look In: in the Open/Save File dialogs, so avoid clicking on that, but if you do then Gmax will probably unfreeze in around 15 minutes.
 
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Thanks!! Works like a charm!!!
Until now I have to use these little espehres and pick up the material everytime I have to use a different one :D

 

gadgets

Resource contributor
Barry, after having spent about two days "wrestling" with this issue and getting nowhere, someone pointed me to this thread.

At last, I can get back to building airport scenery.

Thanks,
Don
 
Barry, after having spent about two days "wrestling" with this issue and getting nowhere, someone pointed me to this thread.

At last, I can get back to building airport scenery.

Thanks,
Don
Hi Don,

Yay! I'm glad to see from your post and the ones above that the workaround is helpful.

Cheers,
Barry
 
I haven't found the root cause, but here's another workaround:

In the "gmax\gamepacks\FSX_GmaxGamePack" folder, there should be a file called "abrowser.cfg". If not, then you should be able to copy it from "gmax\PlugCFG" folder into the FSX_GmaxGamePack folder.

(In case you don't have any abrowser.cfg file, open gmax.exe without the gamepack shortcut, open the material navigator, then close it and exit gmax. The file will be created in gmax\PlugCFG)

Now make sure that gmax is not running.

Open the abrowser.cfg file that's in the FSX_GmaxGamePack folder with notepad or your favorite text editor. In this file there should be a line like this:
LastDirectory=C:\gmax\

Change the above C:\gmax to an invalid drive name for your system. On my machine I don't have a G: drive, so I change the line like this:
LastDirectory=g:\

Save the file. The invalid drive will prevent the freeze when you open the material navigator.

Gmax will update this file everytime you close material navigator and replace the value with a valid path, causing the freeze to happen again. To prevent this I make the file Read-only:
- In file explorer, right click the abrowser.cfg file that you just edited and choose Properties...
- Under Attributes check the box that says Read-only and click OK

Now you can open Gmax with the FSX gamepack and open the material navigator.

You'll get a beep when opening material navigator due to the invalid drive. I don't know a way to prevent that, other than mute your audio.

Avoid exploring the file system in the material navigator as this will cause the freezeup. It seems to be OK to open material libraries. You can access any scene materials and also create new materials in the navigator. Just avoid clicking on the FileSystem radio button (I never do anyway).

This does not fix the freeze when clicking Look In: in the Open/Save File dialogs, so avoid clicking on that, but if you do then Gmax will probably unfreeze in around 15 minutes.
This is awesome Barry. Maybe now I can remove Windows 7 from my other SSD drive that I only used because of the navigator not working. Thanks so much!!!
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
Yay! I'm glad to see from your post and the ones above that the workaround is helpful
Unfortunately, I suspect we're just starting to "peel the onion". While the method you suggest does, indeed, allow the Material Navigator to open, GMax no longer seems to be able to apply materials to linked objects. Top level objects seem to be textured as intended. So, it looks like I've still got some work to do before I'm back to "normal" (but, at least there's a light at the end of this tunnel".)

Don
 

tgibson

Resource contributor
Hi,

My GMAX (in Windows 7 with no navigator problems) has never applied a material to the linked children of a parent object. Only the parent object gets the material applied. Now if I select the parent AND all the children and apply a material, then all get it.
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
I suspect we're just starting to "peel the onion".
I've discovered the next layer of the "onion".

Yesterday, I reported that it appeared there was a problem with linked objects. After some further investigation, that turns out not to be the case. The problem (or at least the one I'm experiencing), has to do with the FSX material Emissive Mode parameter.

I use transparent planes just above the ground for night-time ground/ramp illumination with an Emissive Mode setting of "Blend". But, when the model is exported with the FSX gamepack under Win10/64, the Emissive mode parameter is changed to the default "Additive Night Only". A quick pass through ModelConverter X to switch it back to "Blend" and my ground/ramp illumination returns - a PITA but better than no ground/ ramp lighting.

A byte-by-byte comparison of the Gmax file saved under Windows 7 and the same file simply loaded and saved with Win10/64 shows a large number of differences, so I suspect this one may be the first of several issues to be dealt with. However, a byte-by-byte comparison of the respective .mdl files is more promising. The major differences between the .mdl files are:
  • the Win10/64 version includes a two-byte SMAP block - which seems of no consequence,
  • there is a single bit difference in the MATE blocks - presumably due to the Emissive Mode issue discussed above,
  • ~50% more vertices - perhaps also due to the different Emissive Modes, and
  • corresponding differences in the LODT block.
But, since the .mdls when rendered in FSX appear identical, I'm hopeful the Emissive Mode issue may be the only one of concern to me.

However, I don't really make a lot of other use of FSX materials. Since the initial fix above was to "fool" the Asset Browser which, apparently, has a significant bearing on materials, I suspect there will be other such issues requiring .mdl file to be passed through MCX to correct FSX material problems introduced by the modified gamepack. (This seems to be borne out by Tom's report just above.)

Don
 
Don, thanks for the analysis. I was just about to do some work involving ramp illumination so I will watch out for issues involving emissive mode.
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
You're welcome, Barry. However, I suspect the issue is broader than just Emissive Mode. Take a very careful look at all aspects of your materials (using MCX) following compilation.

Don
 

gadgets

Resource contributor
Since this thread doesn't seem to appear in a Web search for "Gmax Material Navigator + Win10", I've taken the liberty of adding an article to the Wiki entitled "GMAX: FSX Gamepack and Windows 10" in the hopes that it will help some other user avoid days of searching for a work around like several of us have.

Don

PS: I also discovered late this afternoon that if after adding/editing materials in Gmax, if a material name (which is automatically assigned by Gmax) is duplicated among the materials, one of the duplicates may be omitted in the exported .mdl file from both the TEXT and MATE blocks - without any warning. So, if some aspect of your model is untextured, this is something to look for. I have no idea whether this is a long-standing problem or related to the work-around.
 
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