GMAX: FSX Gamepack and Windows 10

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When updating from Windows 7 to Windows 10, many users experience an issue using Gmax under the FSX gamepack - an attempt to open the Gmax Material Navigator causes the display to freeze, with no alternative but to close Gmax from the Task Bar or with the Task Manager. (Several threads in the forums deal with this issue, in particular: http://www.fsdeveloper.com/forum/threads/gmax-material-navigator-not-available-after-windows-10-upgrade.438506.)

To avoid this freeze:

- open the folder containing the active copy of the FSX gamepack, which will be located in your GMAX folder at\gamepacks\FSX_GmaxGamePack;

- locate the file abrowser.cfg (if it doesn't exist, open and immediately close Gmax from the gamepack and the file will be created;

- open this file with Notepad or another text editor and locate the line beginning "LastDirectory";

- replace its values with a drive letter not valid on your computer, e.g. "LastDirectory=Q:"

- save the edited file;

- right-click on its name/icon in the FSX_GmaxGamePack folder and select Properties; and

- under Attributes, check Read-only.

That's it. You will now be able to open the Gmax Material Navigator.

Unfortunately, there's a nasty side effect. This work-around affects the Gmax Asset Browser, which in part is responsible for managing materials in Gmax. When this workaround is used, the FSX materials Emissive Mode setting in the exported materials adopts the default setting "Additive Night-only". For buildings, this is not generally a problem since that's the value you'd choose. But, for other objects, e.g., ramp lighting where you've probably used a blend of some sort, you'll have to correct the Emissive Mode in the .mdl file. Fortunately, that's easy to do with Model Converter X.

A pain? Yes! But, we've yet to find a better alternative for the continued use of GMAX with the FSX gamepack.