Game Development Reference
In-Depth Information
compressed. Then we will look at some alternative options to get some
content on to the user's screen before they decide to leave your
production for another site that delivers content quicker. Finally, we will
look in detail at how Toon3D chooses to stream the content.
Options for 3D compression
Only save what you are going to use
An important first step in compressing 3D data is to analyse the game or
demo and to remove any resources that are not used. This may seem a
strange conclusion, but in an interactive environment it can sometimes be
difficult to predict what a user may see in their journey through the cyber
land you have created. Often, culling data resources is best handled by
the developer, but sometimes software can usefully highlight seemingly
unused resources. As we discovered in the previous chapter, the
developer often needs considerably more resources than the end-user.
We have looked at how project files will contain resources that are not
actually used within the project and are simply stored as a convenience
for further development. If a project uses extensive scripting and
interactivity, then some resources that appear unused at first glance are
used via interactive code and must be present within a compressed
project to allow for their display. If this display is only occasional, then you
may decide to split the compression between resources that are essential
and resources that are optional. Whichever approach is taken, it is
essential that only the resources necessary for the user are saved to any
file that is intended for Internet distribution.
Lossy or not lossy
A real-time game or demo is already only an approximation to the real
world. It is not essential to copy most of the project data to a byte level
accuracy; what is important is you retain the look and feel of the original
when the data are restored. In the arena of bitmap compression of
photographic pictures, the compression technology used by Jpeg files
provides a good example of lossy compression. When the picture is
restored you do not get a byte level copy of the original; nevertheless, the
representation gives a good impression of the original even though every
byte in the compressed picture may differ from the original. Using a lossy
compression gives the developer a great deal of freedom when
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