27 December 2008

Update coming soon

We released the second RC a few days ago, and almost everything works fine, with some small problems that were fixed. I'll release another RC tomorrow, then if there are no other problems, we'll have the update sometime during the first week of January.

Today me and Roja did some tests with polygons and textures. I told her to make some spheres with 180K triangles, and map them with 4 4096x4096 textures, then place about 40 of them in a map with few other objects.
This test had a few objectives:

1. See if on modern video cards the fill rate is a concern (and it isn't, replacing the textures with 256x256 variants didn't affect the frame rate at all.

2. See if the camera rotation jerkyness in some maps is due to the number of triangles or the number of objects. The results of this test were a little surprising. All those objects were placed in a small map with water all around them. The shadows were on too, so the scene had around 15 million triangles. With reflections, the frame rate was somewhere around 35 fps. The camera was very jerky, even though at that framerate it should have been pretty smooth. Disabling the reflections increased the FPS to about 45 (a little less than I expected), but the jerkyness was virtually eliminated.
Furthermore, in Kusamura Jungle, a map with 15K objects, if the reflections are on the camera movement is very sporadic, and the FPS is around 25 FPS. With the reflections off, the FPS is just a little higher, but camera is very smooth. Even stranger, by limiting the reflection distance to 30 meters (it was 100 before), the camera is as smooth as when there are no reflections at all. I really have no idea why the reflections cause this problem..

3. See if there is any speed benefit in consolidating a few objects into a single one (same number of triangles, but fewer objects for the scene management.) This test is not done yet, we'll have to do some more tests tomorrow to see.

All in all, this test took very little time to do, and the results were pretty useful. One idea I came up with is to add in the map editor a way to automatically flag the objects that should not cast a reflection. For example, an object that is far from the water, or near the water but very small, should not cast a reflection. Similarly, a bigger object like a cliff should cast a reflection even if it is further from the water. Right now, all those decisions are made in the scene management routines at runtime, which is not the best way to do it.

In other news, Xerafax went on a nice vacation and will be back sometime in mid Janaury, and I won't start working at the map editor until then, because I need his help. That means I'll have some time to work at the potion god quest.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

There will be LOD in the new engine? That would help a lot.

2/1/09 13:44  
Blogger Radu said...

Yes, there will be a lot of LOD.

3/1/09 16:05  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have a jerky camera on pretty much every map with the new update even though I also have reflections turned off.

9/1/09 03:59  
Blogger Radu said...

Yes, some people reported camera jerkyness. A solution for that problem has been already posted and tried on the RC threads, and it seems that it works fine for everyone.

9/1/09 23:03  

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