Sorry for bringing that ooold thread back from the dead, but this is a subject that needs to be settled.
I am currently sorting out my todo list for AP, and the design of the buffer zones is part of that list. So far we have been using the paging system, but we might (should?) move to another system. I don't really have a prefered system, but my specific needs are about the functionnal design of those buffer zones. Do we need vis-blockers, do we need mechanical doors, do need something else? etc... Various suggestions and proof of concepts have been made throughout this thread, but as far as I can see we haven't settled on actual specifications.
Basically we have three different situations in the city:
- Intra-district 'courtyard' buffer zones : Those are large enough to accomodate vis-blockers (twisty corridors), or a mechanical door system if needed.
- Inter-district zones. : Those are not large enough to accomodate full vis-blockers, this was done so that from one district you can see at least part of the other (usually the white district); that's a small memory footprint, so we can simply leave those passages wide open. If the memory footprint proves to be a problem in those areas vis-blockers could be shoe-horned in the adjacent white courtyards.
- The Hub : Given the size of the area we can do pretty much anything we want here. The idea has always been to have a low-resolution version of the Hub sitting in its own page that is visible from anywhere in the Age. But that means when we enter the actual hub district there must be a transition from the LOD version to the full version. Buffer zones with vis-blockers of some sort might be required here.
(Side note: Vis blockers would have to be designed to accomodate future boats somehow; but if I did things right there is enough space.)
Basically the big question I need an answer on is: mechanical door system or not? As much as possible I'd rather avoid it. It is useful, and even fun; but I really don't find that realistic. (although as a last resort it could be possible). Immersion breakers such as a fade in/out system I'd like to avoid too. Impostors have also been suggested, but it appear it won't be too practical, so that will be a no.
So I suggest the following system:
- Intra-district courtyards buffer zones : Static vis-blockers (twisty corridor)
- Inter-district buffer zones : Open areas
- Hub : Static vis-blockers (twisty corridor)
What do you think?
Finally there's the problematic area of the view from the top of the Hub
. From the top floor of the Hub we can see all of the city. Obviously loading the whole Age is not possible. Currently I see only 4 solutions here:
- LOD version of the whole Age. Long and difficult to do, but doable.
- LOD version of the Age but with a heavy fog and a 'short' view distance. Probably won't look good.
- We close the windows, and we can't see outside. That would be a bit of a pity, but it would be a simple solution.
- Static image panorama. AKA the 'baron office' solution. It wouldn't be perfect; it would require a very large image (or problably several large images). But it would look good.
Regardless of what solution we choose we will have to update it for each newly released shell, but it's not like we have a new shell each week either.
Solutions 1 and 4 are tempting. Solution 1 might lead to a better visual result (unless we go with very high-res pictures for the static panorama solution) but will require quite a bit of work, and I'm not too sure about the performance gain.