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Fast Load Options

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To speed up development, I sometimes use a separate barebones map that still lets me test character changes.  It helps to not have to wait for all the normal assets to load every time I run the program.  But I was wondering if we could implement (or do we already have?) a sort of model substitution system.  This would still allow the loading of the normal map but all the trees, rocks, houses, whatever would be substituted by low-poly meshes of our choice.  For example:

tree01.mdl -> treelowpoly.mdl
tree02.mdl -> treelowpoly.mdl
tree03.mdl -> treelowpoly.mdl
tree04.mdl -> treelowpoly.mdl
tree05.mdl -> treelowpoly.mdl

house01.mdl -> houselowpoly.mdl
house02.mdl -> houselowpoly.mdl
house03.mdl -> houselowpoly.mdl
house04.mdl -> houselowpoly.mdl
house05.mdl -> houselowpoly.mdl


Would be even better to have the option to turn billboards off since those take a while to load too.  I guess this would change it from vegetation to a static model.

The other option is maybe to have developers be able to stream in assets as they play.  Like, have the terrain and collisions load at the beginning but then all other assets stream in.  Kind of like how we have that option for textures.

Just some thoughts to speed up development and testing.

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True, I was thinking about how I could just substitute different models directly.  It's not really hard to do.  The only real difficulty is turning vegetation into normal models without billboards.  I don't think that's possible now.

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