Thanks for your input Xerius. Yes, it does seem to have a very high learning curve but considering that I have used graphing programs and data bases, I feel confident that I can learn the ins and outs of this program. I have watched many tutorials now and am totally amazed how powerful it is now. I do remember years ago looking at this program but it was not anywhere near as good as it is now. It changes almost weekly with upgrades as my son downloaded it just last Monday and it was 2.75 now it is 2.77 already. What I have seen impresses me because I recall the things I struggled with in Bryce and Terragen to create realism and this program has the tools to do that.
In music there is a method to modify the sound with what I call modules but in Blender they call them nodes. That is something none of the other programs in graphics had that I had used. I have FL studio for music and it allows for some very interesting control over your sound and to the point that you can even create your own virtual synthesizer custom made. What I really like about Blender is the ability to create objects using various methods and not restricted to one or two. When I saw how you can build your own virtual fauna library I was fascinated. The ability to also use random generation of multiple objects like trees in a forest is incredible but I had used a program called World Construction Set on the Amiga many years ago that was designed to do things procedurally that was more to my liking. However, this program allows you to add Python script to it and therefore you can make your own procedural methods and that is desirable to me. I can specify for instance that only certain types of trees or fauna can be at specific elevations which is like World Construction Set was/is.
I have not explored the game aspect too much as my son is doing that and I have to say it looks very easy to do by the way they do it. I also like that the physics engine is now part of the program and it apparently is fantastic from what I have seen, check out this video because this is all done using the physics engine within the program:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kKSDgIhc8GI
I understand the problem of exporting or even importing various types of files though but apparently there are ways to make things work because I have seen Skyrim being put into the Cry engine and Unity is very flexible as well, enough so that apparently some programmers found ways to make it work. I supposed they have the software to read the code and figure out how to manipulate it. I use to disassemble code from other programs years ago to see how things worked but I don't know how that is today. In fact in those days when programming with basic and machine language, to protect your code you had to be creative. Some companies even went as far as corrupting the disc in order to prevent copying it for protecting mass production. I had my own methods though that were not as destructive but worked pretty well. Once the disc was assembled, you had to go in and change the addressing so if anyone tried to view the code the program did not know where to look to show it, ha ha. The only way to make it do that was to find a way to cause the program to error out but if it was pretty much bug free and with some recovery routines, it was pretty hard to do that. It wasn't the best but it worked good enough to prevent most from seeing the code. Things have come a very long way from back in those days.
I look at what I programmed back then in 16 and 32k and laugh at how stupid it looked but at least the game play was pretty good. In fact one of the games called Mar Tesoro was more of a simulation type game for deep sea diving and many professionals liked that game. The graphics sucked of course as you could only use either a sprite or redefine the character sets. You couldn't even display a JPG on that computer since it would have to be so small to fit in the memory available. Even a small JPG today is at least 50K. You never even heard of words like Gigabytes and Terabytes. A hard drive was just a few Megabytes. That was considered awesome!
Anyway, a program that has a high learning curve can also mean it has a lot of ability. I'm sure Photoshop is a good example. I do not know if it is possible to import a topo map into Blender but I'm sure there is a way around it if not. I have several from previous programs and I am pretty sure I can find the right import version on line from the geographic department. That's where I got many of the before and they did have various formats. Besides that, you can probable create a height map from a photo as well.
One thing I do like is that Blender uses Python and that is a language that is moving up in popularity and considered the go to language for training programmers now. C, C++, and C# use a lot more code to accomplish the same task and I'm not into the C languages anyway. I know assemblers are cool and all but they do require a lot of code and can be very redundant with code. At least back then. So anyway, I will give it a go and maybe I'll even redo one of my old games in modern software. (at least for me to play, ha ha.)