SCASM is bad and GMax is good, or is it?

Ever since GMax was included with Fs2002 discussion like SCASM is bad and GMax is good have appeared now and then. Now that FsX has been announced I have noticed that I appeared again. I saw questions of people wondering if SCASM BGL files would still work.

But people that ask such questions don’t seem to understand what SCASM is. It is just a compiler that creates a BGL file from a source code with a list of commands that you provide to it. The file that is produced is not something special that only SCASM could make, any other compiler like FreeSC or BGLC can make exactly the same BGL file. So to ask if a SCASM BGL file would still work is nonsense, as there is no way to tell which compiler created the BGL file.

Most people that this question are worried about the support of older scenery commands that they still use. And this is a valid question, but it should not be linked to the compiler used. If the old Fs5/Fs98/Fs2000 commands will still work in the future is something that is a good point of discussion. The introduction of the floating point commands in Fs2002 for example, makes the integer point commands used before almost useless. So it is logical to assume that support for them will be dropped somewhere in the future.

To return to the SCASM question, it is very well possible to make a BGL file that is identical to a BGL file created with the Fs2002 gamepack for GMax. So in that case SCASM is just as good as GMax. For Fs2004 this is no longer valid, as SCASM has not fully been updated to the Fs2004 format. SCASM is able to create mesh elements (VTP/LWM polygons for example) and do object placement (like we can do with BGLComp as well), but it is not able to create the MDL scenery object files. This is because the structure of these files would require quite a big change in the internal workings of SCASM and it is rather unlikely that this change will be made. So in the future we might see that SCASM is no longer equal to the other compilers we can use and maybe then we can start asking if SCASM is “bad”. But not because it is SCASM, because it does not support the latest formats.

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