- The search paths for the panel background are not up-to-date. The plugin doesn't know about the new naming conventions or the cockpit_3d folder.
- The scheme doesn't address panel regions at all - there is some support for them but it doesn't work well.
- Most important: panel editing is not WYSIWYG. Since you are using the panel background as your texture, you can't actually see where all the moving parts are! Doh!
Basically a panel preview is a screenshot of your panel with the instruments on it, sitting in your cockpit_3d/-PANELS- folder. AC3D will recognize and use the panel preview when possible. This will solve problems (1) and (3) - there will be only one naming convention for previews, and they will be screenshots of the panel in action, so you can texture with a preview of the instruments.
Plane-Maker 930 will contain a facility to generate panel previews; if you are using X-Plane 920, you can generate the preview manually by taking a screenshot in X-Plane.
For panel regions, we will have one preview file for each region (e.g. Panel_preview0.png, panel_preview1.png). This addresses issue 2 - usage of the region previews will invoke ATTR_cockpit_region.
Finally, I am moving the panel sub-region information from the preferences to the .ac file (hopefully) so that it will be saved with your plane.
Hopefully this will make a work-flow which is much simpler. To make a 3-d cockpit you will simply pick "generate previews" in Plane-Maker, and then start using the previews as textures.