Up to my eyeballs in antibiotics and codine for the last two weeks courtesy of the sinus infection from beyond Hell, I've actually made a fair decent bit of progress.
Texturing, using the facades, a technique swiped from all of those old Westerns were the buildings were only wooden fronts to hide the skyline of LA as seen from the backlot of the movie studio. It's a good way to get detail without using excessive amounts of polygons, faking the little extras of reality, which is what virtual reality is anyhow.
Not real windows, normal mapped facades
So my idea of one huge BSP model with >9000 surfaces seems to have paid off. It fogs nicely, it culls well, there's no need for LODing every building because the whole thing is 1600 metres wide.
Big levels, we like biiiiiig levels
It was also a good learning exercise, it might not win any prizes for best thought out BSP geometry, but it all works, and it gives good performance. And my interior zoning works nicely.
The untexured church is actually the only seperate model here
A few (5 to be pedantic) brickwork textures with built in doors and windows add a sense of depth (thank the Great Magnet for normal and specular mapping), and the whole thing plays across 4 levels of height. So there can be plenty of running in Z aswell as the usual XY. I like hills, hills break up the monotony of being on the XY plane.
Throw in a few models and it'll look more like an environment
Still lots to sort out, think I've come up with a way to get road textures to go around corners without looking too bad (curse the straightness of BSP), roof tiles, exterior walls - and of course it's a bit barren without urban models like lamposts, mail boxes, dust bins, etc.
Trees models and wood facades help breakup the skyline
I've thrown in a few trees in the distance, just to break things up in the landscape. The furthest groups are facades, nearer ones individual models, all LODed and thrown in as a batch for performance.
I've had a quick play through as an urban shooter, and it's sure difficult to pick out snipers at 400m when all you can hear is the bullet going past. Watch for the flashes is the key. Though when I turn it into a working level (level 1! The actually beginning!) there won't be any scrapping, just story/plot events. It's called build-up. However I might use it as a basis for another play through demo of my AI.
Vista, of a type that doesn't need constant patching....
I also seems to have turned halfway to being 70, which I guess is officially middle age. I don't remember all of that time going by and demand a recount!