It’s fascinating to follow the progress of procedural nature and landscape rendering. Especially because it is such a hard problem and because it involves possibly the most complex geometry one can think of and a plethora of geometries and materials, all things which must be synthesized parametrically rather than fully premodelled.
I don’t know if this shows the state of the art but apparently the program (Vue) involved in the pictures you’re about to see, is used in the movie industry to synthesize (at least quasi-) photorealistic landscapes.
Back in the 80s it was possible for me to run World Construction Set on an Amiga 1200 computer with an FPU accelleration board. It was hopelessly slow though. I imagine if I’d have have the patience to follow through on the first render, it would’ve taken weeks.
Enter 2009 and Vue Infinite. Take a look.
Things are happening. I look forward to not just real-time raytraced 3D but realtime raytraced 3D procedural nature in my lifetime.
Then couple this with 3D touch and vision and UX as we know it today will become hopelessly pathetic in comparison.