Last year, we released our first scenery – a little island getaway off the coast of Maine for pilots with the brass cojones to land there. It was a big hit, but some ‘simmers who ran third-party terrain mesh had some issues with it. We knocked around with some changes to the mesh that were intended to fix the problem, but it seemed like each time we fixed one problem, two sprung up to take its place. A couple months back, we hit a crossroads – continue trying to patch up all the little problems with time-consuming solutions, or try a completely different approach. In the end, we decided to drop back and punt.
The result is an all-new Heron’s Nest 2.0, which fixes the problems with custom terrain mesh in the most complete way possible; by getting rid of terrain mesh altogether! In version 2, the entire island, including all vegetation, buildings, and objects, were modeled as a single object. That means that we don’t have to muck about with coastline excludes and fixes, un-flattening the default mesh, or worrying about creating new mesh. We just made sure our little patch of sea was flat, laid down the photoreal backdrop, and plopped down the island. (Okay, it was a little more complex than that, but not much.)
The other big change is that this version no longer relies on the Viva module for seasonal texture changes. In its place, we’re calling on the SimObject Display Engine, or SODE. The idea is to convert Nantucket to SODE at some point as well, and use it as our go-to dynamic content module going forward. It’s mature, it’s stable, and its capabilities make it a sure-fire winner. We think this will be a very positive development for our projects.
The Heron’s Nest still has a couple of minor tweaks and beta testing to go through, but it’s pretty close to the testing point as of now. We’ll keep you up to date as it nears completion.