As the beta testers beaver away experiencing Reloaded for the first time, I get stuck into my list of things to do. Still top of my list is performance and today I improved both terrain and vegetation polygon use. I have added new sliders to allow end user control of the terrain LOD stages and the vegetation slider now controls the vegetation distance too.
The result of slamming these to minimum is quite striking, and can take a 750,000 scene down to less than 100,000 polygons. No doubt this will help on the lower end cards almost immediately.
I am still not 100% sold on my veg system as it creates invisible grass ready to fade in instantly. This helps performance in one way as the grass does not need significant dynamic creation but costs in another in that MANY polygons are on standby. With modern cards this might be a good technique, but older cards do not like those extra polygons. I will have to try both in time...
I added some code to call the terrain randomizer when a new map is created, so you don't get confused about seeing the last one you edited. I still want to put a lot of work into this component as I think we can do some great things with procedural techniques and automated generation, but for now clearing the terrain with a decent random scene should be the goal.
I have also been tackling other annoyances like the aspect ratio error on the paint cursor, the save/load paint sliding issue, sound issue (fixed) and a few other pearls. These fixes will be available to all pledge levels, but I am going to make a few more fixes before a new patch is released.
In Case You Missed My First Post-Beta Official Video
Some early questions came in and we decided to take the opportunity to answer them and also provide a quick start to the BETA1 version.
It might be a good idea to create another video when we release a fix patch so you can get a quick overview of what we improved. A gentle reminder when the time comes will be much appreciated :)
Now the beta is out and my time will be spent in forums and emails as much as development, my blog might be a little less verbose over the next few weeks. The more time I have for bug hunting, the better your experiences will be and I think it's a good compromise. I will of course keep you up to date with the fixes as they happen!