I think I may have figured out why certain outdoor maps are taking forever to load. I've been fighting all day with map preview weirdness (and 4ever load times), and I eventually noticed something:
I was using a pre-made outdoor map to create a custom level (Alien Clearing 01). My "base" elevation was set to 1200, but my toon and boff spawns were acting very wonky. Drogyn pointed out to me that certain maps have a "ceiling" and suggested I drop my elevation. I did so, but wasn't really happy with it because of windows in my walls. You could see the ground just by looking out...not acceptable.
So, I copy/pasted my work to new maps, tested it at 1200 elevation, then moved on when my spawns didn't work right. Each time it was taking 3-5 minutes to load the map preview. Then, I got to "Alpine Mountains 01". The 1200 elevation worked just fine with my spawns...and lo and behold the map preview was loading in like 15-20 seconds! I think perhaps something has happened to the ceiling cap on outdoor maps. I've loaded the map preview several times now and it loads quickly each time.
In my copy/pasting to different outdoor maps I noticed that some of them would drop the elevation number to as low as 150, even when I tried to enter 1200. Some of them would let me go to 1200, but would cause spawning issues after that. Someone else should give it a go and let us know if that's the problem (at least for outdoor maps used for custom levels).
Command Officers of the USS Wyvern (from left to right):
Aurellia Eshkah (Tactical); Indigo Shae (Engineering); Nysiay Chysiayki (VA, Ship Captain)
Jeclia Sek (Science); Vally Mantivour (Security)