First of all, you guys are my heroes (you weren't lying when you said you'd found Dr. Photon). I've been using Enscape now for a couple months, and the quality surpasses everything else out there now by leaps and bounds. I feel like I'm in the future - real-time GI, accurate reflections, all at the push of a button. I've used Lumion for a few years now, and while I still love it, it doesn't hold a candle to Enscape in terms of visual fidelity. Props to you guys for raising the bar - I'm willing to bet Lumion's latest update with the live-sync feature for Revit was a direct response to Enscape. It still lags behind greatly on the VR and lighting performance fronts however.
I have a few comments on the latest alpha releases - for one, I can tell you've really bumped up the quality of path tracing and reflections - the GI is even better than before (getting closer and closer to photo-realistic every release). I notice you've consolidated the GI option into the Rendering Quality dialog however - so it appears to automatically switch on when going from medium to high now. While I love that the ultra quality is even better and hope you keep it that way (though understandably performance does suffer a little - my Titan Z was really working hard), my only concern would be that there aren't quite enough in between settings to strike the right balance between speed and performance. I haven't tested it with making videos yet, but in the last version of Enscape, I was able to turn the quality down to medium while keeping on global illumination, and the quality was very close to ultra (with just a little added graininess) while rendering 2 or 3 times faster. In a crunch, this seemed like a worthy compromise, and I worry that we might have to choose between amazing and slow, and mediocre and fast now (but perhaps the new high setting accomplishes the same speed to performance balance?)
I have an Oculus Rift headset, and must say the VR performance is excellent. I can't wait until the Sketchup version is out too. The new hand controllers are great and really add to the experience. I'm still dreaming of the day we can have GI in VR though. In fact, I'm guessing it was just a glitch with the latest release, but when I enabled the headset while already inside Enscape, it stayed in ultra mode, giving me full graphic quality inside the headset. The frame rate was terrible, with lots of stutter and black smearing, but the visual quality was so incredible, I was able to put up with it for awhile just to be able to look around slowly and really feel like I was there. It made me realize just how much the lighting and reflections add to the feeling of presence, and has me dreaming of 4k headsets with foveated rendering and Volta gpus. The future can't come soon enough! (at least in that regard)
One problem I've noticed in the latest batch of releases (since 184.108.40.206) is that some of my lights are now flickering. I suspect this is a result of two surfaces being very close together - the same issue that happens when you're far enough away from a surface and it begins to flicker because the faces are too close. It happens with more than one of the light fixture types I'm using though, and wasn't happening before, so hopfully it's something that can be fixed.
And another issue that still seems to be present at larger scales is light bleeding. Even in the latest alpha, there's still light creeping through the edges of my roof in the gym. (see attached images for the the latest release vs. older version. You can also notice how much the lighting quality has changed with the new version - much more sunlight is coming in, or perhaps the power of interior lights has been turned way down relative to the sun). Enlarging the roof or overlapping it with the wall doesn't solve the issue., although it goes away when you get closer. I'm sure this is another optimization where you have to choose the best distance to stop, but for large interior spaces it seems like it could definitely be improved.
Also, great job with the grass on the latest release. It looks good (I like the thickness and variation - does the color derive from the grass material color, or is it independant? The only thing it could use is a little reflection, but I'm guessing that would have some serious performance cost) . One issue I noticed though is that it shows up even where I have building pads in the terrain, which shouldn't be happening. Perhaps this is a result of it going on the Earth material as well as the grass material?
Thanks so much for all of your hard work to make Enscape even better.