There are 5 square tiles of land at different sizes that overlap each other. The biggest is 100km. x 100km. and it is always loaded at a low detail level.
When needed the next tile is loaded and placed on top of the former. This tile is 20km. x 20km. and has a higher resolution. It will occlude the 100 x 100 km. tile where it covers it. After that an even more detailed tile is loaded until all 5 levels of detail are visible. The next tile sizes are 5,000 x 5,000 meters, 1,400 x 1,400m. and 500 x 500 m.
The smallest tile has a resolution of 6 cm. per vertex and the biggest tile has a resolution of 12.5 m. per vertex.
Height maps are loaded asynchronously and whenever possible they are read from the local cache. The translation from the height samples to the vertices of the 5 land tiles is done in separate threads using the DOTS system (more info here...). This makes loading the landmasses significantly faster.
Land textures are automatically placed by the internal algorithm, that uses climate and satellite data to determine the type and amount of vegetation. Another algorithm prevents visual texture repetition. The terrain is given extra structure with build in normal maps.
Although the land is colored based on satellite imagery, the actual color of sand and rock varies from place to place. This is why there is a function to adjust this color to the local situation.
The new world editor is part of Sailaway and is no longer a separate download. Anyone with authorization can edit the terrain heights and shape. There are extra tools to smoothen or roughen the terrain. And there is an undo / redo function. To create piers or dikes, there is a line tool that can raise the terrain in a straight line.
The previous world editor would use multiple layers of edits that were stacked on top of each other. This resulted in longer load times and sometimes unpredictable results. Each location in the world can only have 1 edit.
This means that multiple people can affect the same edit and can improve or complement each others work. But this could potentially also mean that your work is ruined by someone else. The server makes a backup copy every time another user saves an edit for the same region. These backup copies are visible in the simulator and can be restored by sailors with the proper authorization.
For optimal performance, the world edits are stored in 3 levels of detail. There is no need to choose a certain level before editing, all this is automatic in the background. You simply use the height painter to sculpt the terrain and Sailaway takes care of efficiently storing of the data.
Painting the height of the terrain is directly done in the world. The map is always updated immediately. Also when sailing, there is no visible difference between edited and non-edited land other than the displayed water depth. The white rectangle around an edit is gone. To promote your work you can make use of the new Sailor Suggestions feature.
Distant land will only be visible when it raises above the horizon. The earth curvature is applied here.
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