Years ago, I was an active member here and a very enthusiastic game programmer. For the better or worse, life took me in a different direction. I turned away from game programming and have spent the last so-many years studying history and foreign language.
It occurred to me that I have, sitting idle on my hard disc, a fast and robust navigation mesh / path finding implementation based loosely on the Douglas Demyen Triangle-Reduced A* thesis (of which seems to have disappeared from the internet – only the shorter journal article is now available). It was part of a game I was working on years ago, was rewritten from scratch on at least one occasion. Rather than let that work go to waste, I thought I might turn it into a stand-alone C++ library that would be free for non-commercial use.
* Automated construction of navigation mesh (uses Triangle triangulation library).
* Speed. The implementation is fast, primarily, because only triangles with three neighbours (“keynodes”) are included in the A* search. All other triangles are collapsed into “corridors” and skipped over. In most environments, keynodes account for 1/4 to 1/3 of all triangles in the navigation mesh.
* A single navigation mesh is used to find paths for agents of any size – no need for duplicate navigation meshes.
* It’s paired with a kd-tree system that has some bonus features that could be useful (very fast visibility + swept circle checks against navigation mesh etc).
* It’s simple-2D only – does not support overlapping areas or varying-cost terrain types, though the former could probably be implemented without a huge effort.
* The navigation mesh cannot be dynamically updated.
* I doubt I would be able to spend a lot of time developing it further.
Here’s a few screenshots of the implementation finding some very long paths. Time estimates were recorded on my laptop – an Intel i5-2450 2.50GHz processor – in a standard Windows 7 environment, and are the average of 10 000 queries.
Search time: 0.041ms and 0.036ms. Navmesh: 772 triangles, 255 of which are keynodes (pink).
Search time: 0.039ms and 0.025ms. Navmesh: 820 triangles, 251 of which are keynodes.
Search time: 0.069ms and 0.056ms. Navmesh: 1213 triangles, 366 of which are keynodes.
Varying agent sizes pose no problem. Search time for each path: in the range of 0.006ms.
It looks like the need for such a library has lessened due to the appearance of Detour, which didn’t exist when I developed it. In short, I’m just wondering if there would be any interest in this project? I can only really justify putting time into it if it looks like there might be some interest/communal benefit.
Thanks for reading!