As I mentioned I spent the last few days cleaning up the scene file in an effort to tidy up the materials, prepare for collaboration and possibly the use of different tools.
The first main material is about done, and of nearly 400 sub-materials, about 250 were either outright unused or were easily replaced with a nearly identical material. A lot more can be atlas’ed later, reducing the number of remaining materials even further.
And then I also found something I am not proud of. There was an entire material left in the scene that was only applied to a single object. This can make sense – and I used this intentionally for the objects (mostly grandstands) that I baked ambient occlusion maps for – but here it was clearly an error. For some reason, that material, which did not reside in the material editor and thus was not immediately visible, was a direct copy of pretty much every other sub-material in the scene. It had over 600 sub-materials. No wonder the scene had become so bogged down lately it was hard to work with it!
Now the project has some aspects that make such a thing more likely. Sylvain Glapa started it way back in 2006. I can only guess how many re-organizations the scene file had since then. We got the 1991-96 version out of the door using it. The caretaking author changed and the project morphed into the current layout of the track. It feels stupid and unnecessary, but such is the way of projects. And if you read this as an interested user but not a modder yourself, consider what it must be like for people just starting out modding if such a thing can (still) happen to someone who has been at this for a good while.