The foundation for the new rendering system has been implemented so that WAY fewer render calls are being sent out. Even though this update was a major improvement, there's still much to do to maximize the performance and visuals.
Pressing CTRL+N will now give you a choice of three different course sizes: 16x16x16, 64x64x32, and 128x128x16. As we continue to upgrade the rendering system (which is where most of the performance is being lost), even larger courses will be available in the future.
THEMES DISABLED FOR 1.03
After finally getting back from the guys at Mojang (Minecraft devs), we were asked to have the Minecraft theme removed. The Infiniminer theme was disabled for technical reasons, but I'd still like to see if I can get Zack Barth's permission for that as well. This would be unlikely considering the "target deployment", but fun nonetheless if it could work out.
We originally used Minecraft's artwork while building the liquid system to make it easier to spot when things looked "wrong", but soon we'll be using a unique HD theme. I'd like to apologize for the confusion this has caused!
PRETTY SHADERS WILL NOW BE POSSIBLE
With the new rendering system in place we can begin implementing some simple shaders for shadows, water fogging and the like. With every single face sending a render call out, this was simply not an option earlier. We'll see how this fits in the schedule, as our highest priority for the moment is to prove effectiveness on a much larger scale, but if the garish visuals are too much we can now improve it a bit.
PRESS CTRL+H TO LOAD HEIGHTMAPS
We intended to put in a full perlin-noise terrain generator, but in interest of getting this build out on time we instead added the ability to load some pre-made height-maps to give you more to work with in the larger environments.
Thanks to the awesomeness of Zarat (zarat.weltkante.de), we were able to resolve most of the issues for non-legacy ATI videocards, but the legacy cards are still giving us the odd display problem. We'll continue to see if we can't solve this, but really if anyone knows a way to get PIX-like shader debugging in a legacy ATI video card, we'd really appreciate the help!
Aside from the bug fixes our goal is to get the performance strong enough to support Minecraft's infinite world-generation. Multiplayer, dynamic lighting, and interactible objects with the fluids are also important, but comparably easier and lower on the priority list for the moment.
Redoing the hard-coded (therefor, restrictive) interface Nathan built from my 5-minute MS Paint doodle is something I'd love to have done too, but for now we can live with what we've got... can't we?