Thanks very much for your questions, we hope you find RailClone useful for your work. We think it has many possible applications for level design.
I would like my roads to conform to a mesh (terrain) in my scene, i.e a landscape, whilst still being editable, and updating to changes I make to said terrain mesh. Ideally, it would conform to multiple meshes as my levels will likely be broken up into pieces and the roads will pass over many. I want to use this also for 'trails' i.e roads but off-road along hills and stuff. How best to approach this? If it falls outside of the functionality of Railclone, do you have a recommended method that still allows me to work with RailClone?
The surfaces feature allows you to project any RailClone object onto geometry, you can read a lot more about this in our documentation here
However currently this only supports using a single object as a surface, so if you need to use multiple surfaces you will need to combine them. Normally we'd recommend attaching them together in a single editable poly object but I assume that in this case that isn't desirable. Instead you could create a compound object that combines instances of the source meshes into a single object that can be used in RC while leaving the originals untouched. This might be possible with Pro-Boolean set to Attach mode but I'd recommend trying Kinematiclab's free Multi-Mesher
plugin which has the advantage of leaving all the source objects completely intact as well as maintaining all the animation, modifiers, and uvs.
Whilst we're on the topic of roads, I'm putting together a small town and there will be many junctions, intersections, dead ends, how best to go about street layouts? I'm thinking a different segment mat ID on the end of a road spline to tell it to place an intersection piece there, and then i guess I have to do my best to manually line up the end of the next splines to it. Seems a bit of a pain.
This is currently probably the best tactic. RC cannot model intersections automatically so you would need to create a tile-set of interlocking pieces. If the connections are always at 90 degrees it might be possible to set an offset automatically at the start of some of the cross road splines that takes the size of the intersection into consideration. Please see the attached for a demo of this idea.
I would really like to embed some kind of dummy object in the pieces i use to make my buildings and have them remain intact when they're placed along the splines so for example a window piece might have a dummy object on the inside above the opening so that when this model gets to the game, i can put a dynamic curtain there or something. Possible?
I'm afraid that RailClone only accepts geometry objects as segment inputs at the moment, so the dummy would be ignored. If you are able to add an additional face where you'd like the dummy object with a specified material ID you might be able to use a script to place a dummy after the RailClone object is created, but it isn't ideal. There's a thread here
that includes some tips for adding non geometric objects to RailClone objects.
I hope that helps, please let me know if you have any more questions and we hope you enjoy using RailClone