My View David's view on anything and everything…



It has been a few months since the last blog post.
Development of TerreSculptor is still continuing.
The next alpha build release is still a few months away.

The main area of development for the past months is in refactoring the current code.
During the alpha phase of development the majority of classes were created in the application root namespace.
The refactoring process is to reorganize the classes into sub-namespaces, to reduce hard dependencies, to provide more generic code designs that will ease the addition of future features, and to facilitate the eventual multi-lingual retail versions.

The following major changes are coming to the next alpha build release of TerreSculptor:
- From VS2008 to VS2013.
- From .NET 3.5 to .NET 4.5.
- A number of changes to the user interface.
- Designed and themed to look best on Windows 8 and 10.

The change to WPF and the dark theme interface in on hold.
After spending a number of months developing in WPF it is not difficult to see why there are so few large graphics applications that are using it.
While WPF has some advantages over WinForms, mainly in control design and color theming, it is otherwise a mess.
The performance loss is also significant.
I have a few large retail applications that recently moved to WPF, and their user interface performance is substantially slower than their previous WinForms versions even on my i7 with Radeon R9 video.
Since there are a good number of TerreSculptor users who are using older computers and small notebooks to run the software, which typically only use the Intel HD graphics, the performance penalty from WPF is simply too great.

The upcoming alpha and beta versions will introduce the following features:
1. The main application project file loading and saving.
2. Changes to the dialogs to support the smaller screen resolution of notebooks and laptops.
3. The final Extractor dialogs.
The current Extractor dialog is simply a basic incomplete alpha test dialog, and does not include the complete set of weightmap extractors.
4. The Multi-Noise Generator.
This is not to be confused with the future Node-Generator feature.
5. The Mask Generator.
Note that this is different from the weightmap/layer Extractors.  See the Stack below.
6. The Stack.
For those who are familiar with Autodesk Max, the Stacks provide a similar interface into the heirarchical layout of the objects in the world.
One of the features of the TerreSculptor Stack is to allow for creating more complex terrain systems, such as blending multiple heightmaps using a mask.
However, the main purpose for the TerreSculptor Stack is for the future 3D tools which will include 3D Spline-based Rivers and Roads etc.

The following features are coming soon but may not make it into the beta and first retail version.  If they do not make the first retail version, they will be available soon thereafter:
1. Floating-point pipeline workflow.
2. User-defined heightmap colorsets.
3. Heightmap and weightmap split export.
4. Heightmap and weightmap stitch import.

The development roadmap is to be in beta by late this year, and to have the retail version available by the end of the year.
Income from the first retail version will be used to hire an additional software programmer in order to accelerate development of the software.

The release versions will include both a free Standard Edition and a retail Professional Edition.
The free Standard Edition will have limited features but still have full functionality.


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