I almost had a potential bottleneck in the game, seeing as the character models are approximatly 1100 triangles each in their highest LOD form, and there can be up to 50 members in each gang. That means there's the potential for 100s of high LOD gangsters to be in a very close area. Basicly I had to come up with this dynamic LOD system that detects high concentrations of characters in a small area, and scales the LOD accordingly so the game runs at a pretty constant speed. This is in addition to the standard LOD system I use, that displays progressivly lower quality versions of the model as the character's distance from the camera increases.
In the game worlds right now there's 3200 dynamic, moving, thinking citizens...up to 150 gangsters...2400 moving vehicles...and 19000+ objects like newspaper dispensers,pay phones, etc. All of these entities have a Tokamak physics representation that I basicly put into a sleeping state when they excede a certain distance from the camera, or enter an idle state, or meet some other restrictions. I havn't really run into any problems yet with this system, though there is a barely noticable "hop" of the object as it's reinserted into the simulation from a sleeping state.
One other thing I'm working on now is the conversation system in the game. The player will have the ability to have somewhat freeflowing conversations with other characters (think The Sims level of interaction, where you bascily pick from a list of possible actions/things to perform/say on/to an object/civilian/car/etc.)
This poses some problems for the voices associated with the conversations. I really don't want to have to pay for every possible word/sentence in the game to be recorded by a voice actor. This would make it nearly impossible to add new sounds/conversations to the game, and it'd be rather expensive.
I'm really leaning towards creating some sort of fake language I could play to cover all voice interactions between characters...I guess like they did in The Sims, but they didn't have speech bubbles in The Sims, I'm going to have them transcribing every conversation in the game.
The other thing is I've already had order confirmation voiceovers made for each gang type (Aight boss!, "Yo this punk is dead!", etc.) as well as generic male/female civilian voices, and some cop stuff ("Freeze scumbag!..."Drop the gun!", etc.) It'd be rather inconsistant to have those voices in plain english, and the other ingame conversations facilitated through a fake voice & speech bubbles. I hope I can figure this one out.
*end 3:00 AM ramblings*