I decided to bite the bullet and purchase a subscription to SpeedTree, and have been working with some of their free models (as well as purchasing a handful of their pre-made models).
The tool is intuitive enough that I was able to adjust the existing model trees to more closely mesh what I wanted. It took about a week (as you can see from my last posting) and the bulk of that time was spent with me trying to find textures worth the effort to import into trees I was making from scratch, before deciding that it was ‘more efficient’ to just buy the models, make adjustments so they match my environment, and implement them into the terrain.
There were quite a few terrain edits, too, because through trial and error I wound up with some trees plunging their branches directly into rocks and the like.
I also, after some thought, decided that various areas of the island (given they are different 18 hole courses broken up around the island) could warrant having different kinds of trees and scenery to mesh with the overall environment. So, there’s going to be several themes of trees dedicated to each area of the island.
I also took care of a couple of bugs that I was encountering as I was doing some play tests, and am trying to settle up in my brain just how many plants (and of what type) I’m going to drop into the ocean.
My to-do list is growing shorter. I need to start making videos of actual game play rather than simple still shots, but that would require more hours in a Saturday than I somehow am able to manage as of late.
Hope everybody is doing great! More updates to come!