Today I entertained my author friend who writes some of the best books for TGC, and we spent that time discussing all manner of subjects including AGK and Reloaded. When you take out the time it took to eat a lovely meal at the George III and of course my free Segway rides up and down the street where I live, there was not much day light left for actual coding. Oops.
To rectify the situation a little, I decided to cram a few hours into the evening and as it happens, I got an email from Mark Blosser throwing me some great advice and links with respect to LOD.
This email included a very early test model for the main Reloaded character rig with animation, and I dropped everything. It also included three levels of LOD, built into the object! I whipped up a prototype P005 immediately, and good job too as I discovered that DBP was animating even the invisible LOD meshes. Corrected that, and got the performance improvement I was expecting.
As you can see in the video, when I switch from HIGH LOD to LOW LOD, it goes from 24fps to over 60fps and from over half a million polygons to just under 70K polygons. This is the power of LOD, and something I plan to research in the static geometry system which is still my primary target this week.
Aside from the marvelous LOD tool available from the TGC store, which admittedly I entirely forgot about, Mark put me onto a tool called MeshLab which seems to be put together well. I will need to work in the OBJ format but DBP does have some OBJ format capabilities so we will see if I can get some low level LOD in my object and trigger it's use in my monster scene engine.
It's been a full day for sure, and I also have a full day away from the office schedule on Thursday as well so the week will be a little chopped up. Hopefully Rick won't give me a withering email when he see's the video I sneaked out today. It contains proper good media though and a nice font so hopefully he (and you guys and gals) won't mind. Ignore the 79 other characters in the scene, it's not an attempt to advertise massive enemy numbers in Reloaded, just did that to tax the scene with lots of polygons. For Reloaded, we are going to aim for smart battles with a single combatant out-thinking and out-moving the player, rather than push fifty easily dispatched enemies in your face which does not make for great game play generally. Always a good day when Mark delivers artwork!