Mapgen memory optimisations

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Retranscription of Paramat's foum topic.

Perlin noise objects: Only create once

The noise object is created by minetest.get_perlin_map(). It has to be created inside register_on_generated() to be usable, but only needs to be created once, many mapgen mods create it for every mapchunk, this consumes memory unnecessarily.

Localise the noise object outside register_on_generated() and initialise it to nil. See the code below for how to create it once only. The creation of the perlin noise tables with get3dMap_flat() etc. is done per mapchunk

local nobj_terrain = nil
local nobj_biome = nil
...
...
-- On generated function
minetest.register_on_generated(function(minp, maxp, seed)
   ...
   ...
   nobj_terrain = nobj_terrain or minetest.get_perlin_map(np_terrain, chulens3d)
   nobj_biome = nobj_biome or minetest.get_perlin_map(np_biome, chulens2d)
 
   nobj_terrain:get3dMap_flat(minpos3d, nvals_terrain)
   nobj_biome:get2dMap_flat(minpos2d, nvals_biome)
   ...
   ...
end)

Perlin noise tables: Re-use a single table

The Lua table that stores the noise values for a mapchunk is big, especially for 3D noise (80 ^ 3 = 512000 values). Many Lua mapgens are creating a new table for every mapchunk, while the previous tables are only cleared out slowly by garbage collection, resulting in a large and unnecessary memory use.

A buffer parameter was added in 0.4.13 to avoid this, a single table is re-used by overwriting the former values.

  For each of the functions with an optional `buffer` parameter:  If `buffer` is not
  nil, this table will be used to store the result instead of creating a new table.
  
  #### Methods
  * `get2dMap_flat(pos, buffer)`: returns a flat `<size.x * size.y>` element array of 2D noise
  with values starting at `pos={x=,y=}`
  * `get3dMap_flat(pos, buffer)`: Same as `get2dMap_flat`, but 3D noise

Localise the noise buffer outside register_on_generated() Use the buffer parameter in get3dMap_flat() etc.

-- Localise noise buffers
local nvals_terrain = {}
local nvals_biome = {}
...
...
-- On generated function
minetest.register_on_generated(function(minp, maxp, seed)
   ...
   ...
   nobj_terrain:get3dMap_flat(minpos3d, nvals_terrain)
   nobj_biome:get2dMap_flat(minpos2d, nvals_biome)
   ...
   ...
end)

Lua voxelmanip table: Re-use a single table

The Lua table that stores the node content ids for a mapchunk plus the mapblock shell is big (112 ^ 3 = 1404928 values). Many Lua mapgens are creating a new table for every mapchunk, while the previous tables are only cleared out slowly by garbage collection, resulting in a large and unnecessary memory use.

A 'buffer' parameter was added in 0.4.13 to avoid this, a single table is re-used by overwriting the former values.

Very recently a 'buffer' parameter was also added to 'get_param2_data()', so is only usable there in latest Minetest dev or in Minetest 0.4.15 stable or later.

  * `get_data([buffer])`: Retrieves the node content data loaded into the `VoxelManip` object
      * returns raw node data in the form of an array of node content IDs
      * if the param `buffer` is present, this table will be used to store the result instead
  * `get_param2_data([buffer])`: Gets the raw `param2` data read into the `VoxelManip` object
      * Returns an array (indices 1 to volume) of integers ranging from `0` to `255`
      * If the param `buffer` is present, this table will be used to store the result instead

Localise the data buffer outside register_on_generated(). Use the buffer in get_data() or get_param2_data().

-- Localise data buffer
local data = {}
 
-- On generated function
minetest.register_on_generated(function(minp, maxp, seed)
   ...
   ...
   local vm, emin, emax = minetest.get_mapgen_object("voxelmanip")
   local area = VoxelArea:new{MinEdge = emin, MaxEdge = emax}
   vm:get_data(data)
   ...
   ...
end)
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