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Navigation Mesh - "Which Polygon?"

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[color=#4A4A4A]Okay, so I have a working implementation of Navigation-Mesh path finding in my game - using A*[color=#4A4A4A]
It works great![color=#4A4A4A]
I've gotten to the stage where I want to start making some AI actually use the navigation mesh to find the player - always I good point to be at.
[color=#4A4A4A]
Now this is where the problem arises:[color=#4A4A4A]
I have to somehow determine which polygon in the mesh contains the player and each-and-every AI entity.[color=#4A4A4A]
( So I can find the path from the entity to the player )
[color=#4A4A4A]
Regarding my "Meshes"[color=#4A4A4A]
- All of the navigation-mesh's polygons are convex, containing up to 15 vertices[color=#4A4A4A]
- A "polygon" is nothing more that a collection of the vertices, and in turn triangles, that make it up, and "pointers" to its neighbors.
[color=#4A4A4A]
I don't know if I should do some sort of ray-cast, compare distances, or some other approach.
[color=#4A4A4A]
Ray-Cast:[color=#4A4A4A]
- Can be accurately done (my polygons follow a winding order)[color=#4A4A4A]
- Could be very expensive[color=#4A4A4A]
- Has to be done for each and every triangle and entity
[color=#4A4A4A]
Distance:[color=#4A4A4A]
- Cheaper[color=#4A4A4A]
- Not nearly as accurate[color=#4A4A4A]
- How would I even get this to return tangible results?
[color=#4A4A4A]
So, I'm stuck as to which approach to choose, a hybrid solution, or a completely different method...[color=#4A4A4A]
-or simply put, "How is this usually done, efficiently?"[color=#4A4A4A]
Any ideas or suggestions would be greatly appreciated :)
[color=#4A4A4A]
You can see more and get a better idea - PICTURES - of what I'm doing on my blog (the last few posts have been about navigation meshes)[color=#4A4A4A]
http://ruinedgame.blogspot.com/
[color=#4A4A4A]
-Thanks Again
[color=#4A4A4A]
P.S. I'm using XNA, so I have a [s]slight[/s] performance overhead...

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Hmm, not an expert on implementing this, but my first thoughts would be:
- Each agent keeps a record of polygon it is on.
OR
- Maintain a quadtree/hashtable/whatever of polygons by the x and z coordinates. This will give you a short list so you can check point-in-polygon (flattening to ignore y).

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Hmm, not an expert on implementing this, but my first thoughts would be:
- Each agent keeps a record of polygon it is on.
OR
- Maintain a quadtree/hashtable/whatever of polygons by the x and z coordinates. This will give you a short list so you can check point-in-polygon (flattening to ignore y).


Hmm... that first idea might work,
but I'd still have to check to make sure each entity hasn't been pushed aside / out of the polygon each frame.

So I'm seeing a process of steps like this for each entity:


if (we are NOT still above the same (stored) polygon)
{
foreach of the stored polygons neighbors
{
if (we are above one of these polygons)
{
storedPolygon = neighbor-x
return
}
}

foreach of the Mesh-s Polygons
{
if (we are above one of these polygons)
{
storedPolygon = polygon-x
return
}
}

}
else
{
Move along the path, towards its destination
}


Does this make sense, or am I still missing something?

Note: my meshes shouldn't have a TON of polygons, each "room" of a level has it's own Navigation Mesh

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Every time an agent is moved or bumped, it should do a vertical ray cast into the navmesh to find the intersection. This will keep your agent's vertical position correctly aligned to the navmesh. The agent can then store it's current polygon. I believe this is how Recast/Detour handles things.

Honestly, I would just start with this approach and profile your results before deciding to optimize further.

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Every time an agent is moved or bumped, it should do a vertical ray cast into the navmesh to find the intersection. This will keep your agent's vertical position correctly aligned to the navmesh. The agent can then store it's current polygon. I believe this is how Recast/Detour handles things.

Honestly, I would just start with this approach and profile your results before deciding to optimize further.


Yep, that's what I've done :P

So far it seems to work fine, to speed up the ray-tests I first check the neighbors of the last polygon the entity was on.
-This makes sense seeing how most monsters don't fly randomly across the map in the blink of an eye

Thanks for the suggestions!

... now all I have to do is figure out a way to prevent enemies from converging along the same path!

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