pokoy, TG2 files will be readable, yes. They should render largely the same, we tend to keep backward compatibility as a high priority for all releases.
The spherical camera indeed allows you to render a full 360 environment. I believe layers/elements are supported for that but I'll verify.
There are some new inputs for cloud shading (yes, color) and some other shading improvements. More details to come.
Node rendering on Mac/Win is done through the existing CLI version. You can use a commandline flag to hide the UI if desired. We won't have a dedicated Win/Mac render node for initial TG3 release but perhaps later.
More images to come, of course.
Antoine, the new GI allows for higher detail at equivalent (or lower) render settings. It is comparable to GI Surface Details in TG2 in terms of its general effect, though the results are even better. The key is that it works in a fraction of the time as compared to GI SD. The normal GI prepass still needs to be done, so that part isn't faster, but for quality results the render times are much faster, half the time or less (assuming you would be using GI SD or higher GI detail/sample quality previously). More images and feature details will be shared throughout the coming weeks as we get closer to release, keep an eye on Terragen3.com
for updates (or subscribe to the newsletter or RSS).
Andy, the interface is largely the same as TG2. This is not the same kind of complete overhaul that Terragen 2 was to Terragen Classic. We're adding tools and significant new capabilities, but the UI remains structurally and functionally the same. As noted previously, pricing details will be announced a bit later.
paq, yes the detail in shadow areas is significantly improved with the new GI mode. This is one of my favorite new features.
Population grouping is something we're looking at, but may not make it into the initial TG3 release.
We do not have object subdivision in there yet, but it's a good idea. I'll add it as a feature request for the future.
Otakar, yes that's correct. Don't worry, upgrade prices will be very reasonable.
bla blah, I'm not sure what you mean.
N810, yes we do plan to have some presets included. I don't know if we'll be including objects though as they significantly increase the size of the download and the installer, so a preset for a population would not necessarily make sense. We'll include as much starter content as we can and it will probably be added to over time.