I'm still using the .X loader for simplicity, but this time around I managed to load the model and it's materials and draw it using a simple textured shader, quite a nice feeling.
I'll probably be sticking with .X for a bit and eventually changing to a collada loader.
With this in place it's probably time to start working on the Room class, starting primarily with heightmaps again. I'll be sticking with my current system of using a large texture map wrapped to the terrain, it gives the most color flexibility and offloads most of the work to the artist.
I need to start some concrete design work on my new control scheme; in my head it 'seems' brilliant but I need to make sure it'll work properly and actually be fun.
I smell a screenshot soon :)