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TFS_Waldo

Cached/Static/Scene Meshes, etc.?

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Hey, everyone. My question doesn't really deal with anything I'm developing myself. But this is something I've wondered about, that just popped into my mind again. I was looking at various projects on DevImg.net, out of curiosity. Well, I saw a screenshot of a level editor (terrain, meshes, etc.). And I have seen these terms used all over. By "these terms" I mean "static meshes", "cached meshes", "scene meshes", etc. Can someone please give me a good description of each of these. I've never really found out what is meant by a "static mesh", or a "cached mesh", or a "scene mesh". Thanks in advance, and I hope I provided enough information. If not, just let me know. =) Matt U.

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A lot of those terms are actually fairly project-specific, but I suppose one can still explain them in general terms:


  1. Static Mesh:
    This is just what it sounds like it is - a mesh that remains static. It is common to make a distinction between static and non-static meshes in a 3D engine. Processing static data is generally faster than processing dynamic data, because more of the static data's state is known to the programmer before processing begins, which of course allows for the assumption of guidelines upon which the most efficient possible solution can be generated. In this way, static meshes are faster to render, test for intersections and collisions, etc. (because none of their data is dynamic - normals don't have to be recalculated, bounding volumes don't have to be resized, etc.).

  2. Cached Mesh:
    This is fairly project-dependent. It may refer to a mesh that has been loaded into main memory, and thus does not need to be re-read from disk, or a mesh that is similarly loaded into video memory. This, like the term 'static mesh', implies performance gains in a 3D application.

  3. Scene Mesh:
    This is again, fairly project-dependent. A scene mesh probably refers to a dynamic (non-static) mesh that can be managed with a scene graph (hence the adjective 'scene') or inserted into an n-tree. It could just as easily refer to any mesh that is in a 'scene', or in other words, that the term 'scene meshes' includes all meshes, dynamic and static, in a single 'scene', the definition of which is certainly project-dependent.

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These are not universal terms. The precise meaning depends on the context. Obviously a "cached" mesh is probably cached, and a "scene" mesh is part of a scene (whatever that might be). A "static" mesh is usually a mesh that isn't animated and/or it doesn't move, or something like that.

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Alright, thank you both. Those answers helped me to understand them better. =) But I have a question.

How is a "cached mesh" stored in the program or video memory? I mean, how do you cache a mesh? Does that mean something like using vertex buffers and a struct/class to store all the mesh data, that way it can be accessed directly from the application instead of loading from disk?

Thanks again,
Matt U.

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Quote:
Original post by TFS_Waldo
How is a "cached mesh" stored in the program or video memory? I mean, how do you cache a mesh? Does that mean something like using vertex buffers and a struct/class to store all the mesh data, that way it can be accessed directly from the application instead of loading from disk?


Yeah, pretty much. The term is till subject to context, of course. In some applications it could even mean that a mesh's location in a resource file has been saved, making further access to it very fast. Just think of any 'cached x' as an 'x' or information about an 'x' temporarily saved for later use.

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