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Back to Blender

Performance is now at a point where I consider it truly acceptable. Despite what I said in my previous post, I went ahead and implemented my cache coherent heap class to try to improve performance, but it had essentially no effect. In retrospect that shouldn't have been surprising because actually the majority of the vertices were covered by my previous change, so even if it did improve the cache coherency it probably wasn't enough to be noticeable. On the plus side I think my vector-based heap class may come in handy for particles, so it wasn't a total loss.

Fortunately, while working on this, I found some significant opportunities for improvement in my collision detection code, and because at 32 players the collision detection was actually driving more CPU than the animation code, this made a big difference. The dedicated server with 32 players now only uses 50-60% of one core on my Q6600 (@3.2 Ghz). Of course that's without any movement or firing from those players, but I'm hopeful that those things won't increase the load too much so I think one fast core should be sufficient for a 32 player server. I'm not sure exactly how that compares to other multiplayer games, but given that I don't know whether 32 players is even a good idea for Coldest I'm happy with it.

Which brings me to the title, Back to Blender. Since most of the tech side is done (for the moment; an engine is never truly "done"), I need to get back to learning Blender properly and creating some not-so-programmer-arty models for the bases, mechs, and various other props that I'd like to include. I had thought I would start with something easy to texture - a wall - to get started, but it's not turning out to be quite as simple as I might have hoped. Even though the wall is made up of just 14 quads, Blender doesn't seem to want to unwrap the UV's in a usable fashion, so I'm starting to fear that I will have to do it by hand. I am distinctly unenthused (Firefox says that's not a word, but I'm using it anyway) about that idea, especially since it has unpleasant implications for future more complicated models like mechs.

My biggest problem right now is that despite what I've read about Blender's LSCM unwrapping method attempting to maintain the shapes of the faces, it's skewing my fairly basic shapes all over the place. Worst of all it's not even coming close to maintaining the relative size ratios, so if I textured it as is I would end up with significant differences in resolution from one quad to the next. This would look terrible, so I'll probably be hitting up the [url=][/url] forums tonight to get some help (or at least have them tell me that this is normal so I should give up and find myself a real artist;-).