A note about Maxscript and Backburner

Another thing that I have discovered during my trials and tribulations with getting Maxscript and Backburner to play nicely is that Groups on Backburner don’t behave as they should under 3ds Max 2013. Before product update 6, you could not really get any information about groups at all – all requests to GetGroupName returned an empty string.

With product update 6 comes some steps forwards – it now returns the correct group name! – but little else. You still can’t reliably return a list of the servers in a group. You cannot create groups, nor can you edit or delete them. This is true whether your connection to the manager has queue control or not. I have, thusly, come up with a solution that started out as a temporary fix until a new product update or 2014 comes around to fix it, but has turned out to work fairly robustly, so I see no need to change, even should groups get fixed!

The process basically involves having groups defined outside of Backburner. In my case, I have a folder full of files – text files, incidentally, though they are never seen by the user – which has, as its file name, the desired name of the “group” and the text file itself contains a comma separated list of server names. These are created, edited and deleted using a simple script that reads and writes the text files. These same files are read in my Backburner submission script, which then supplies the server list contained in the file to backburner (in the case of NetRender in the “job.submit servers:server_array” parameter, and in the case of cmdjob’s as part of the “-servers ‘server1,server2,server3′” etc flag). This has the advantage of being very very quick and simply, as well as robust – so long as no bugs are brought in that mess with the (currently functioning) use of servers in backburner submission.

The main downside is that this is set at submission and, though you can change the contents of the text files defining the groups whenever you like, this doesn’t change already submitted groups. Of course, you can always change which servers are assigned to a job in the backburner monitor, so it’s not like you need to resubmit if you realise there was a problem in the group.

Anyway, that’s my solution, and hopefully it could help someone if they find themselves in a similar position.