Definitely still beta - crashed not only during presentation, but other oddities on various workstations that it was being shown. But not egregiously so.
Infinite plane & ecosystem looks way cool - so instead of placing a bunch of planes and eco systems, you put one plane and one ecosystem. In practice, it seemed to work quite well. Impressed! Presumably it would not only save on construction, assembling, but produce a better, more seamless result. It’s camera dependent - not sure how Renderman like (Renderman has distance based properties) - this should reduce overall polys required, memory, etc - not sure if its adjusting resolution of meshes at certain distance or not.
It was interesting, the preview renders did seem to be faster than what I’ve experienced (same machine at show and what I use).
Bucket based rendering. Wasn’t implement throughout every build - but many had bucket based rendering which seemed to result in faster renders.
Function editor in clouds, terrain. The function editor that can be accessed in matierals is now available in others areas - in spectral 2 clouds, and terrain meshes. A few more features added too - for instance a fractal noise that is for tweaked for landscapes - worked well in practice.
New parameters for clouds - such as feathering - also a property where clouds can dissipate as camera distance decreases. Clouds in general are rendered better than 6 (which was already pretty darn good).
HD Trees - call them high density, or High Definition - but as camera gets close, they continue to look quite spectacular. In particular, bark, trunk textures look quite good.
Leaves now can have displacement - thus you can curve leaves for more realism.
New water plane allows for waves and foam - displacement mapping technique - foam is also height and object controlled. Looked quite good in practice - though at high displacement (think stormy) there seemed to be issues with resolution on the mesh. But coast lines, boat wakes, etc all looked quite good.
Xstream. Incorporates fully into host app - menus, dialog boxes, and importantly - objects are now the same in viewport of host app as they are in vue - for instance painting eco systems works! I saw this in Cinema at the show - the app I use, and was pretty pleased.
There are other little bits, but these were the main ones I saw and the ones I remembered!