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map design question

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For my racing game it''s going to be a track-based thing as opposed to being able to roam over the whole map. So I want high detail on the track and not around it. I''d like to use a heightmap but with no regular data opints so detail doesn''t have to be the same over the whole map. But having to store all those vertices, and the triangles too so I know which vertices link together takes lots of memory. On top of that, for collision detection and AI, you ned to know which triangles touch which others so you now need a set of pointers in each triangle structure saying which triangles are touching it. Now you see where my memory problems come in! If I want a big level, or for example a track which is more like a rally stage, then a plain heightmap approach wastes like 90% of the map on things we''ll never see. However my method while theoretically more efficient has such overheads that maps will still be huge! How can I represent the terrain for 5Km square in under 30Mb?

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A heightmap is probably not the best way to implement a fixed track racing game. You might be better off using a BSP tree or similar ''indoor'' engine algorithm.

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