Version 5, the latest release of WCS, combines an easier-to-use interface with more powerful components. Highlights of the improved interface include a Scene-at-a-Glance feature that allows users to view all the items in a project in collapsible lists, and a Component Gallery that permits editable elements to be re-used to create scenes. New features include an Import Wizard that makes it easier to import a wide variety of data, including GIS, DEM, and vector data, into WCS; a texture engine that provides a high level of realism for GIS-based terrain rendering; multiple cameras and lights; volumetric atmospheres, including multiple celestial objects and twinkling stars; and improved water animation, with added breakers, beaches, and tides.
World Construction Set Version 5 is currently available for the Windows 95/98/NT/2000 operating systems. Version 4.5 is available for the DEC Alpha and Mac OS platforms, with Version 5 scheduled for release later this year. The cost is $940. (3D Nature; Arvada, CO; 303-659-4028; www.3Dnature.com)