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Mightee

which scene graph to choose

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An octree isn't a scenegraph, its a spatial subdivision technique.  The definition of scenegraph can vary so you should clarify what exactly you mean.  If you're looking for a way to cut down on collision detection and/or trying to accelerate culling for submission to the graphics card then spatial subdivision is what you're looking for.  For a top down game you're better off with a quadtree, a loose quadtree, or a BVH. (you might also look into kdtrees)  An octree would be a good fit for a first person or third person camera.

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I would start off with a very simple grid structure. If it's a top-down game you probably only need a 2D structure, and if you don't zoom in/out much, then the hierarchical part of a quad/oct tree isn't very useful and you may as well just use the leaf nodes, which leaves you with a 2D grid of cells.

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