L3DT development blog
Large 3D terrain generator

L3DT v2.7 release announcement

Date: 28th of February 2009

L3DT Release 2.7

Hi Everyone,

I am delighted to announce that L3DT Release 2.7 is now available for download. Please read on to find out what's new, how to update, and what's coming next.

What's new?

As is traditional/habitual with release announcements, the full list of changes is provided in the release history page, and a condensed list of highlights is provided below:

'Undo'

The headline new feature for release v2.7 is the addition of 'undo' support, including multiple levels of undo. Now, if you make a mistake or change your mind when editing your maps, all you need do is press the 'undo' toolbar button or CTRL+Z on the keyboard, and bingo, your previous action will be undone.

I realise that 'undo' may not be the most flashy or exciting feature to start with, and that's why Sapphire is up next:

Sapphire

The Sapphire 3D editor has received a little work. Firstly, there's now a handy toolbar (see below), which means you no-longer have to fumble with menus or try to remember shortcut keys.

The toolbar in Sapphire.

On the toolbar you may also notice a record button (the red dot). This button may be used to record AVI movies, such as those below:

A panorama recorded from Sapphire
Using the bulldozer tool in Sapphire
A walking tour of terrain in Sapphire

Another change in Sapphire is the support for highlighting the area selected by the 'select area' tool in L3DT, as shown below. This will make it easier to locate features of interest in the 3D view.

www.bundysoft.com_coppermine_albums_userpics_normal_selareainsapphire.jpg
Selected area display in L3DT and Sapphire.

More significantly, but less glitzy, are the fixes for some user-interface glitches in Sapphire. These include fixes for the window Z-order (window topmost-ness, etc.), which was playing havoc with the texture/attributes map brush tools and also other programs. All fixed now.

User interface changes

There have also been some tweaks to the user interface in L3DT. Once such tweak is the addition of nifty little help links to all of the wizards and most of the dialog-boxes (see below). When clicked, these links will take you to the appropriate page in the L3DT on-line userguide. Help is now only a single click away!

:l3dt:2008:oct:wizardhelp.png
Now in every wizard: a helpful link

The interface for the update manager has also been changed somewhat, and it will now checks for updates automatically (weekly by default, I think). You can, of course, disable this feature if you find it objectionable.

File input/output

  1. The Blitz3D (B3D) file format is now supported, to help out users of Blitz3D and Realm Crafter.
  2. The TGEA Atlas plugin now supports up to 8 textures in blended terrain. Please note that to use this optional feature, you will have to re-compile TGEA with Matt Kronyak's 8-textures resource.
  3. The bitmap plugin was re-written to support larger single image files (32k x 32k), and uses on-the-fly paging to prevent users' computers from running out of RAM.

Windows 2000 support discontinued

Windows 2000 is no-longer supported by L3DT. This is because L3DT now uses some user-interface controls that were introduced with Windows XP; specifically, the 'syslink' control used for the on-line help links discussed above. If you are affected by this change, please regiser your displeasure in this forum thread. If it turns out that there's a whole possy of angry Win2K users out there, I'll have no alternative but to release a cut-down Win2K version, won't I?

Bugs and fixes

I'm pleased to say that there haven't been all that many bug-fixes in this release. L3DT is now behaving itself pretty well now. Of course, that's not to say that nothing went wrong with v2.6:

  • Following a few reports of activation key failures, I've modified the activation system to be more robust, to show more meaningful error messages, and to hide the silly, meaningless errors (e.g. you won't see “Name '44' is already taken” ever again).
  • In mid-December there was a bit of a disaster when Sapphire was consistently crashing on ATI graphics cards (see here). ATI fixed the bug in their drivers in January, so you shouldn't see any problems now.
  • In mid-January there was a problem with activating 'L3DT for Torque' using the GarageGames 'Ignition key' server. This was resolved in early February, and all should be OK now.

Scripting changes

Most users don't seem too excited about scripting, so I won't bang on about it too much here. It should suffice to say that the ZeoScript scripting language for L3DT release 2.7 has been massively expanded, and now does some really useful stuff (see blog post). Example scripts are included with the installer, and may be run/edited from the 'Scripts' menu in L3DT.

Plugin API changes

Even fewer users are excited about writing plugins, so I'll say even less on the subject. L3DT's plugin API Zeolite has been updated to version 2.7.1. The changes this time around, lisited here, are minor and should cause little or no trouble for developers of existing plugins.

How to update?

Standard Edition

If you are using the free Standard Edition of L3DT, you can download the update from the downloads page.

L3DT for Torque

Users of L3DT for Torque may download the update from their profile pages on the GarageGames website.

Professional Edition

Users of L3DT Professional Edition may download this update by following the instructions in their sales/registration e-mail. If you have lost these instructions, please contact sales@bundysoft.com to have them re-sent.

Please note that licenses for L3DT Professional have a free update period of 18 months. If you purchased an L3DT Pro license in or before August of 2007, you may now need to renew your license to use this new update. To find out exactly when your free-update period ends, please select the 'Help→About L3DT…' menu option in your current installation of L3DT. In the 'License' information section you will find the 'Upgrades until' date, as shown below.

Checking your free upgrades expiry date.

If the date given is the 22nd of February 2009 or later, you are OK to use this update. Otherwise, you will need to renew your license to use this version. To renew your license, with a 40% discount, please contact sales@bundysoft.com and be sure to quote either:

  • the PayPal/Kagi receipt numbers for your license purchase, or;
  • the name and e-mail address used to make the purchase.

What's next?

I've nominally slated a follow-up release (v2.7a) for March. This release will include a substantially improved shadow casting algorithm that is ~10x faster than the current version, as well as fixes for any critical bugs that may be found in release 2.7.

Feedback?

I would, as always, love to hear any and all feedback you would care to give, including suggestions, criticisms and bug reports. Especially bug reports. Please feel free to make use of the forum for this purpose.

Best regards,
Aaron Torpy.

2011/01/13 00:35
 
l3dt/ann/v2.7.txt · Last modified: 2013/08/21 17:25 (external edit)
 
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