Ok, I’ve essentially solved the problem. It turns out that for some reason, even though the PATH variable is being set correctly, Windows just can’t find the panda .dlls for any 64 bit installation of panda3d. If I copy the dlls to the “windows/sysWOW64” folder then the .pyd imports work without issue. I don’t have this issue with the 1.8.1 installation but still I’m not sure if the problem is on my end or in the 1.9 branch. I wonder if anyone else has had this problem on Win7 with 64-bit builds?
Anyways I’m going to start porting my project to python 3 so I’ll let you know if I encounter any issues. A couple of other things that may or may not be related to the problem I was having:
i) I have to trick makepanda.bat into performing a 64-bit build because the “AMD64” test always fails even though I am running 64bit and I’m putting a 64bit build of python in the thirdparty folder.
ii) Even though it looks like py2to3 is running at the start of the build the resulting direct folder that the installer makes needs py2to3 run on it again before it actually works.