Okay, normal mapping and parallax mapping is now working using two automatically generated texture atlases for height and normal maps. You'll just have a to add the new block textures (using the suffix "Normal" or "Height") and you are good to go. A normal map for the stone block type can be simply created by adding a normal map called "StoneNormal.png" and the atlas will be generated/updated when loading a new world.
Simply spoken normal mapping adds an extra texture which can be used to derive lighting information for spots where no actual detailed geometry is available (like the sides of the blocks, which are only made up of two triangles).
Parallax mapping, in addition, distorts the lookups for the default diffuse block texture (which we were using all the time) and also the normal map with regard to the current viewing direction of the camera. This creates the effect that the texture looks like there was actual geometry bumping out from the block sides which is not actually there. The effect works very well when looking directly from the front or a bit from the side, but very shallow viewing angles destroy the effect, since you can't actually see the silhouettes.
Parallax mapping uses an extra height map texture to add the height/depth information for distorting the texture.
Time for a random round of mega-massive screenies showing mega-massive mountains! I had to increase the max attachment size 5 times over to fit these, heh. Don't load these on phones! 3840x2160, average size 13 MB each. Zoom-zoom-zoooom!
Started in a forest looking through a gap under an overhang in a ridge of mid-sized mountains. Flew roughly straight (and somewhat up) through it across a desert, a river, more desert, into mountains, eventually looking first down, then around. One tree distant in the first shot you can make out over the next 4 shots. The final shot has a little dark area toward the upper right which is where I came from, and more of the nice original forest behind and to the left of the original mid-height ridge. There's also a floating island or two with trees on them near the middle of the last picture, if you zoom in and look closely. The dark area right near the middle leads into a cave area some 40-60 blocks deep.
Yay crazy awesome terrain. Took me less than a minute to find that spot, although I took a few minutes to then blow the crap out of a hill beyond the initial overhang so more of the distant view would be visible from there. Should've shaved off more to the right to show the really distant stuff