Thanks Wolf & hello folks,
so Lee releasing the engine source to developers has resulted in a flurry of activity, but I'm now way behind in coding that I have promised for others (to people who have been waiting for months, I'm sorry).
The work-arounds I'd built outside of the engine I can now change the engine to do instead, these are completed so far:
Infinite ocean (much larger water plane that periodically tracks player position if player view begins to be able to see an ocean 'edge')
Fixed height cloud layers (that allow flight through them, also tracks player position when needed as per ocean)
Day/night cycle that blends two sky domes across the 24 hour cycle, but also moves the specular light direction (PBR), shadow direction (elevation too, so long/shorter shadows across day), light ray direction and of course rotates the sun position of the sky dome to match (azimuth only at the moment). This can be controlled by new lua commands that can also automatically adjust the sun light factor too and allows the setting of 'game time' as needed (or can reflect actual system time, so the real time you play changes the in game time to match)
Other development completed is swirling height based fog (this also needed some engine tweaks as not all the required shaders received the sun factor parameter control).
Fog is a very important game component for Cogwheel Chronicles – it is almost a character in the story itself.
Up until now though the fog has been pretty boring, so have now implemented a swirling height based fog effect into the game. Once you’re up in the sky on your airship / biplane / steamhawk / jetpack you can leave it all below but down near sea-level a dense poisonous fog envelopes and swirls and saps your health:
And moveable lights are now possible! This has dramatically lifted the fun - dragons now have flickering magical fire as they approach, airships have lights (that are actually useful as it gets dark in the game now).
The shader work has moved a head a little - Lee & Preben's stock PBR shader is really great, but I'm still preferring the custom one in cogwheel - there's actually not much visually different now but I've combined a lot of the textures into channels to save read time and video memory (like unity does).
Still kind of stunned at AmenMoses' work and will be ever indebted towards him for his quaternion work (which he has improved even further by placing these transforms inside the engine, callable by lua).
As always any comments welcome - I'll place a video showing the day/night stuff, lights, dragons etc soon. Finishing off with a sketch of Cathodia & Isaac the two player characters -