Not a tonn to report, unfortunately. I had to fly to LA to do training for my new job and that really ate up my time. I have, however, been thinking intently on how to merge map-based empire gameplay with RPG gameplay.
The most vexxing challenge is not how you make it work (I think I know the gameplay for that), but how to show it to players. Civ players are used to looking at an iconic tile map. Old-school RPG players are also used to looking at handpainted maps. But the two display drastically different information.
I've been wondering if a slow-time version of Civ on a 3D scale with true 3D movement would work for this? Because of time and difficulty, I don't want to wade into the realm of procedurally generated planets. I have a deep suspicion that as soon as you raise the visual bar that high, all content must match it. That would kill a lot of the VR gameplay I have in mind and help create a disasterously expensive expectation for realism across the board.
So I've been thinking of a VR mode that's summarizes important details without getting bogged down in visual detail. For some reason I have this thing for 3D terrain tiles, even though that might be ridiculously cumbersome. I likely won't do it, but I really like the idea of a grid of tiles, each tile which can be zoomed into an actual map. (Maybe I just like the idea of tons of maps to play on)
I've been using Wings3D to create mockups of what this might look like (with connecting roads and mountains and such) but haven't gotten anything yet that I'm happy with. There are plenty of issues to deal with when not using the fully procedural approach. For instance, how are distant objects that should be visible (like mountains) handled? How are changes to the map reflected in the RPG viewpoint (creating a crater, for example).
I've not yet had a chance to really dig down into the Torque engine or talk with the community to see how this might be dealt with, so I'll have to post more on this later.