This post is going to be confusing and probably boring for most people.
In the last two weeks I have been going hard making new and upgrading old textures from Mission K (the Steiner parking garage). This mission in one of those downloadable Sierra missions that wasn't released on the original v1.0 game disc. You can see a list of these maps in our forums here.
I am working towards a new release of the mod. Since the release of the previous beta the only thing I have been working on is the upgrading of textures.
One thing that these downloaded Sierra missions have in common is that they don't always follow the naming convention for textures established in the original disc released missions. The "disc" maps have textures that start with a letter prefix of the map (all mission A textures start with "a_" in the name and all mission B textures start with a "b_" in the name, etc). The downloadable missions break this naming convention and often have no prefix (they might just call a texture "car" or "vent" for example).
This has the potential for causing texture name conflicts.
Now to the point of this post. I am getting ready to compile all the new Last Resort textures for release and it is starting to get messy trying to keep them all sorted. Some maps share the exact same texture so I started wondering if I could just lump all the new textures into one giant folder. Any duplicates would just get overwritten thus making it easy to ensure each texture is only included once in the final release. The question is will this have a negative affect on the performance of Swat 3?
This got me thinking that I don't really understand how Swat 3 handles textures. Over the years I have just made basic assumptions that seem to work.
How does Swat 3 load textures?
When the game first starts up there is a loading progress bar. What is it doing exactly? We know for sure it has to be loading in the 2D menu graphics and the game's user interface but does that also mean it is loading in all the game textures all at once into memory? Does it instead just compile a list of map texture names for later loading?
When we start to play a map we again see a load screen before entering the 3D part of the game. What exactly is happening in this second load screen? Is this actually when the map textures are loaded into video memory?
The reason why I am asking these question is because the Last Resort mod is increasing the sizes of these textures 2 to 4 times their original size. Will we eventually hit a wall with regular memory or video memory? Does the game even care about folders in .ZIP files and .RES files or does it automatically lump everything into memory anyways?