Spent a few days up a ladder painting stuff, so now back on the ground and working once more as a lowly programmer. The V1.007 release was launched yesterday over the bank holiday and some early feedback suggests we need to focus once more on performance. In adding AI and some other improvements, we now need to return to the engine and ask for more performance. A lot more performance please.
To that end I have dug out my version of NSIGHT which is a tool which helps me analyse frames of the game to find out what is being drawn and in what order, and my findings are pretty revealing. Lots of very small and distant objects are being rendered, there is no batching system currently active so there are huge amounts of individual draw calls that could be combined, there is some really HEAVY duty work happening for reflection rendering, even when there is no water visible and the amount of rendering taking place seems a LOT too much for what is effectively a cosmetic touch. It should NOT affect the core game play speed and the enjoyment of the main purpose of the level. Finally there are lots of opportunities to extend the occlusion system and hide even more stuff when you look closer at the two-compounds level. Going to spend the next day or so continuing to play with the features of NSIGHT and learn even more about the current engine performance and workload, and then I will probably launch into doing some geometry batching work around Wednesday. I will also be keeping touch with the feedback forum on V1.007 so I can stat tuned in to what the community are finding in this new version.
We are also starting some work on speeding up the A.I system, starting with some deep drilling investigation of the AI UPDATE command which seems to be causing most of the slowdown. We will also be casting an eye over the grass system as we have identified some possible improvements there!
Before I sign off, here is a cool shot from our Zombie Clown collection, soon to be available from the Reloaded Store. They look pretty calm now, but when you add them in a dark room with the player, armed with nothing but good intentions, get ready for a freight!
It is not recommended you design your competition entry around Zombies from this pack as they will not be ready in time for you to work into your creations. Unless you have your own Zombies and are good at scripting, best to leave these specimens for another compo!