Hey there, just a quick update on the recent progress...
First off, the next major world building component is now in place: in addition to terrain, forests, and roads, we can now place TSStatic objects with the World Editor, save them to the database, and page back through them at will.
As you can see, I didn't do much with this godlike ability yet, because that devolves quickly into countless hours of art time, but in this image the Zero (from flightgear, textures still broken) and the wharf and industrial shacks (many thanks to 3TD Studios for the free art!) are placed using this method. Note that scale also works, as demonstrated by the taller building in the background.
The other big news is, thanks to a most helpful comment from @ JeffR on my last blog, we are now able to return to DecalRoads instead of MeshRoads, due to the containsPoint() function. In addition to being much more efficient, in this way we also are able to get rid of the absolutely unusable Z fighting which always seems to follow my MeshRoads around, possibly due to float error from being too far from the origin (running around six or seven thousand meters out here).
However, I'm still having major problems with raycasts at the edge of the terrains. Here is an older image with MeshRoads and trees, demonstrating my problem:
As you can see, reported heights become wildly inaccurate at the terrain edges. Which actually makes for some pretty amusing bugs on the mesh roads, but hardly desirable. Lacking the time to really dig into this, I've been simply avoiding putting trees close to the terrain edges, and I fear I will have to do the same thing with roads, for now. While mesh roads show the problem as seen above, with decal roads the symptoms are different - from one side, but not the other side, of the divide, any decal road crossing from one terrain to another will shoot vertically up in the air, not infinitely but for quite a distance:
Since this whole world is meant to be more for fun and experimentation than for a perfect simulation at this point, I think I'm just going to work with what I have and create a little DMZ style "no man's land" between each terrain tile. Eventually I plan to move this to T6, and/or fix the problem here, but other parts of the project are calling my time harder than this. If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them though!
As a final note, this might be a good time to mention: openSimEarth needs art! If anyone out there in Torque world has public domain artwork, or private models they'd be willing to share, including trees and other vegetation, animals, houses, industrial buildings, and/or anything else you think would fit in, please consider contacting me, I'd love to give you credit and include some of your work!
So anyway, that's where we are for now...