It sounds like you’ve encountered a known limitation of X-Plane. When the “Visual Effects” setting is at Medium (or lower), scenery lighting, as well as interior lighting (such as flash light, dome light) are not rendered. They are functional when the setting is at High (HDR) or Maximum.
Hmm, then I don’t know why. I just confirmed using 11.31 on my machine that the HDR setting does determine light casting. While the lighting is not impacted by “Num of World Objects” at all.
A wild guess… perhaps it is due to some plugin. You may want to experiment by selectively removing your plugins temporarily.
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