Just putting it out there, texture creation shouldn't be easy, this is a complicated process that requires skill and time. Just because one can slap in any ol' texture and make it look good shouldn't even factor into the equation imho. Personally i think the lukas method would be fantastic if the terrain was using virtual textures,that is a setup with pretty much unlimited layers.
You're definitely right, it's not particularly easy to produce good textures(though as tools continue to improve, it gets easier and easier). I would say there's a difference between 'difficult' - as in just simply skill intensive - and 'opaque' - as in difficult to comprehend and develop the skill for. Understanding what's needed to produce good detail textures is closer to the latter than the former. If it was just skill intensive, that'd be fine, but how the detail textures crush the color range so aggressively makes picking out good values unnecessarily complicated, which I think is where the problem stems from. As @ Bloodknight notes, it could well be a change from a while ago that slipped past because it looked OK with the older, stock textures and correcting that could well solve all this anyways
for me at least i am going to hunt down the change from 3.8 and revert it, hoping to hell that this isnt part of the dx11 changes
The change does not exist as there has never been a change to the terrain system.
Well, that's not actually correct. There's been a number of changes to the terrain code: https://github.com/GarageGames/Torque3D ... ce/terrain
It does, however, look like some changes happened that looked OK with the default textures, but using newer or more complex textures it does not behave as well. Somewhere since 3.8 it looks like that snuck in, as @ Bloodknight mentioned. This is also why we need a new batch of textures, to better test a wider range of stuff so changes that may be regressive don't slip past. If I can, I'll also poke through the changes since 3.8 so we can try and narrow down which part is causing the weirdly excessive color crushing we're seeing. It's fine for a detail texture to brighten/darken the BaseTexture colors - that's it's job mechanically - but it shouldn't smash to black at the drop of a hat like my test was running into. That definitely seems incorrect.
Also, @ Timmy pointed out to me - and he's certainly not at all wrong - that it's entirely possible to just have a setting that dictates the blend/detail behavior. So you could utilize the grayscale detail texture approach, or flip over a setting and it'll utilize the different method Lukas has been looking at, etc. This way, older, pre-existing art like @ Duion's stuff isn't ruined or negatively impacted, but if you need a scene where you need the full colors for up-close details on the terrain textures, that's also an option.
So that well could be a good comporimise and just leave it to the user to dictate which mode suits their needs for the given project.